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This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol

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Cholesterol build-up is caused mainly by lifestyle choices, ranging from poor diet and not enough exercise. But shaking these choices up and opting for a healthy diet and staying active can help undo the damage, according to the NHS. Here’s one small food perfect for festive snacking that can help cut your high cholesterol. 

When it comes to a cholesterol diet, two terms to remember are saturated and unsaturated fats.

Saturated fats are what you want to get rid of as this type of fat raises your levels of “bad” cholesterol, the NHS reports.

“Bad” cholesterol, also referred to as LDL, is the problematic part as it puts you at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

There’s also a “good” cholesterol – HDL – which is able to take cholesterol from parts of your body where there’s too much to your liver to be disposed of.

Unsaturated fats as a replacement in place of their saturated counterparts can lower your levels, premarin patch states the health service.

One food packed with unsaturated fats is nuts, Heart UK reports.

Research from the University of Georgia has found pecans to be able to “dramatically” improve a person’s cholesterol.

This study saw an average drop of five percent in total cholesterol, while LDL cholesterol decreased by between six and nine percent.

The 52 study participants aged between 30 and 75 years ate the tree nut for an eight-week period.

The research team divided the participants into three groups based on their risk of heart diseases.

One group implemented 68 grams of pecans a day into their regular diet. The second group replaced the pecan calorie content with other foods from their habitual diet and the last one didn’t eat pecans.

The pecan group didn’t only experience an improvement in their cholesterol, they also had a lower post-meal sugar. 

Jamie Cooper, one of the study’s authors, said: “We had some people who actually went from having high cholesterol at the start of the study to no longer being in that category after the intervention.

“Some research shows that even a one percent reduction in LDL is associated with a small reduction of coronary artery disease risk, so these reductions are definitely clinically meaningful.”

Pecans are packed with healthy fatty acids and fibre.

Fibre can help block some of the cholesterol absorption from your gut, which is linked to lower levels.

All nuts tend to be rich in various beneficial components for your health, including protein, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and natural plant sterols.

Plant sterols are often used to fortify dairy products and can also help slash your levels.

Heart UK recommends aiming for 28 to 30 grams of nuts a day, which is the equivalent of a handful.

Nuts are high in calories so a handful represents the right amount you need, the Mayo Clinic adds.

 

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