High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol impacts around 39 percent of UK adults, though many people do not realise they have the condition due to its lack of obvious symptoms. According to the NHS, one of the best ways to reduce your risk of high cholesterol is by making changes to your diet.
Diet is one of the main places to focus on when trying to eliminate the risk of the potentially fatal impact of high cholesterol levels, as the condition is often caused by excessive consumption of fatty foods.
However, it is important to understand what type of fat is in the food you eat.
There are two different kinds of fat in food often referred to as “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the type of fat you should be avoiding eating too much of.
Over time this fatty substance can build up on the walls of arteries, making them hard and narrow.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), however, is considered to be a “good” form of cholesterol.
It can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by removing excess LDL and carrying it back to the liver.
The key to reducing cholesterol levels through your diet is by cutting back on foods high in LDL fats, and ensuring you are consuming enough HDL rich foods.
Breakfast is a great place to start – often considered “the most important meal of the day”.
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Five simple breakfast swaps you can make to reduce your risk of high cholesterol
Switch sugary cereal for oats
Many breakfast cereals can be high in sugar, even if they don’t seem particularly sweet, and this can catch people out.
One simple swap is to opt for oats instead of cereal. This can be consumed either in the form of porridge or by making overnight oats.
Oats are rich in dietary fibre, which can help to remove LDL cholesterol from your body.
Soluble fibre attaches to the LDL cholesterol in your dietary track and helps to flush the fatty substance out before it has time to make itself at home.
Try almond milk instead of regular milk
Almond milk is rich in numerous vitamins, as well as healthy fats and fibre.
Almonds, which are used to make the vegan milk, are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and can help to reduce your risk of cholesterol.
The NHS recommends including more nuts in your diet, and almond milk is an easy step in the right direction.
Top your toast with avocado instead of butter
Buttery toast is a delicious way to start the day, but some butter can be high in both saturated and trans fats which may increase the amount of LDL in your blood over time.
One way to reduce this risk is by looking at an alternative toast topper.
Avocado toast has become increasingly popular in recent years, and the good news is this trendy toast has some pretty desirable health benefits.
In a 2015 study, the American Heart Association concluded one avocado per day could reduce LDL levels in people who were considered to be overweight or obese.
Avocados have also been found to encourage higher HDL levels.
Like almonds, they are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
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Remove the yolk from your scrambled eggs and try scrambled egg whites
Scrambled eggs pack a protein punch at breakfast time, and while not necessarily unhealthy, there is a way they can be amended to help benefit cholesterol levels.
This is because eggs are actually rather high in cholesterol – though mostly in their yolks.
To avoid excessive consumption of eggs, particularly if you are partial to eggs more than once a week, consider removing the yolk and scrambling the whites instead.
Add a little bit of spice or seasoning – such as garlic or turmeric – if you are looking for some extra flavour.
Drink a glass of orange juice with your meal
Orange juice is typically known for its vitamin enriching properties, however certain brands of fruit juice can also lower LDL cholesterol.
Fortified fruit juices are the key, with the added plant sterols found to reduce LDL cholesterol.
According to The Association of UK Dieticians, plant stanols and sterols work to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut and remove them from the body.
The experts say data from clinical trials have found an intake of 1.5 to 2.4g daily could lower cholesterol anywhere from seven to ten percent in people with high cholesterol.
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