Why cholesterol is bad for you
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If someone has high cholesterol levels it means they have too much of a fatty substance known as cholesterol in their blood. Although this might not cause any issues initially, it can raise your risk of potentially life-threatening medical conditions. This is because cholesterol can build up in the blood vessels leading to blockages.
These blockages can be the cause of emergencies like strokes and heart attacks.
Therefore, keeping cholesterol levels low should be a priority.
Like many health conditions, high cholesterol is often associated with certain lifestyle factors including being overweight, not exercising enough and diet – although for some it can be inherited.
Foods to avoid include those high in saturated fats and sugar, while foods recommended for people with high cholesterol include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
One such fruit that has been reported to have cholesterol lowering properties – and could be easily added to water or other soft drinks – is lemon.
A study, published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences in 2010, trialled the use of lemon on rabbits.
It explained: “Citrus fruit and juices have long been considered a valuable part of a healthy and nutritious diet.
“It is well established that some of the nutrients in citrus promote health and provide protection against chronic disease.
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“The present study has been specifically designed to investigate the hypolipidemic effects of citrus lemon juice in rabbits after high cholesterol diet for four weeks.”
The rabbits were split into two groups of nine.
They were both fed a high cholesterol diet daily for 30 days.
After that time half were given fresh lemon juice for the next 30 days while the control group were just given the equivalent amount of water.
The study concluded: “The citrus lemon juice (one ml per kg a day) revealed a significant reduction in serum cholesterol, triglycerides; low-density lipoprotein (‘bad’ cholesterol)levels and resulted in an increase in high density lipoprotein.
“These results suggest that the hypocholesterolemic effects of citrus lemon juice may be due to its antioxidant effect.”
A separate study, published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine in 2016, championed the combination of both lemon juice and garlic as a drink to help lower cholesterol levels.
As part of the research, more than 100 people with high cholesterol were split into four groups.
The first received 20 grams of garlic daily, plus one tablespoon of lemon juice, whereas the second only received 20 grams of garlic daily and the third only received one tablespoon of lemon juice daily.
The fourth group did not receive garlic or lemon juice.
It said: “Results showed a significant decrease in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and fibrinogen in the group one, in comparison with other groups.
“Administration of garlic plus lemon juice resulted in an improvement in lipid levels, fibrinogen and blood pressure of patients with hyperlipidemia.”
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