High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Experts at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine noted that an “ideal blood cholesterol” is below 150mg/dL, which can be “dramatically” influenced by the foods you eat. Diets high in saturated fats – found in meat, dairy products, and eggs – raise cholesterol levels. “Plants do the opposite,” the experts stated. “They are very low in saturated fat and free of cholesterol.”
Rich in soluble fibre, eating a plant-based diet is one of the best ways to lower cholesterol.
Experts explained: “Soluble fibre slows the absorption of cholesterol and reduces the amount of cholesterol the liver produces.
“Oatmeal, barley, beans, and some fruits and vegetables are all good sources of soluble fibre.”
What are the different types of cholesterol?
There is low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that is considered “bad” cholesterol.
Then there’s high-density lipoprotein cholesterol that is considered “good” cholesterol.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine elaborated: “Cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in blood.
“To be transported in the bloodstream, cholesterol is packed into two types of carriers: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or high-density lipoproteins (HDL).”
Bad cholesterol is “necessary in limited quantities” but too much LDL cholesterol is dangerous.
Excessive LDL cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis, which is when arteries become clogged with fatty materials (including cholesterol).
“Good” cholesterol, on the other hand, can help to clear LDL cholesterol from the arteries.
This is because good cholesterol picks up bad cholesterol to take it away to the liver to be broken down.
Evidence shows that plant-based diets lower cholesterol levels more effectively than other diets.
In a meta analysis, in collaboration with George Washington University and Keio University, Japan, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine explored this further.
Overviewing 49 studies, a comparison of cholesterol levels in those who followed a plant-based diet and an omnivorous diet were made.
The results found that a low-fat, plant-based diet “typically reduced LDL levels by about 15 to 30 percent”.
Research from the University of Toronto found that incorporating “special cholesterol-lowering foods” in a plant-based diet resulted in a reduction in LDL cholesterol by nearly 30 percent in just four weeks.
These foods included:
- Oats, beans, barley
- Soy protein
- Wheat germ, wheat bran, almonds, Brussels sprouts.
As well as dietary considerations, the NHS encourages everyone trying to lower their cholesterol levels to move more often.
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to reduce your cholesterol.
Moreover, moving more frequently is one of the best things you can do for your health overall.
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