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High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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High levels of LDL cholesterol, known as “bad” cholesterol, can be dangerous. The waxy substance can lead to heart disease and stroke if it builds up inside your blood vessels. But there are several ways to reverse high cholesterol. Many health bodies recommend consuming so-called plant sterols.

These are substances that have a similar chemical structure as cholesterol, found in vegetable oils and grainy foods such as cereals, nuts, and seeds.

Since it’s similar to LDL cholesterol, it is thought to compete with cholesterol to be absorbed by your digestive system, according to The Cleveland Clinic.

It stated: “When your body digests plant sterols instead of cholesterol, it removes some of the cholesterol as waste. This results in lower cholesterol levels and improved health.”

Plant sterols can also be found in milk or cheese that are fortified with it.

According to the British Heart Foundation, plant sterols can slash LDL cholesterol levels by up to 10-15 percent when 2 grams are consumed per day – as part of a healthy balanced diet.

But the typical diet only provides a modest intake of plant sterols of around 160 to 500 milligrams per day, seroquel insufficienza renale the charity stated.

It suggested that to reach two grams of plant sterols per day, you should eat two portions of a combination of the following:

  • spread (10-12g, which is enough for 1-2 slices of bread)
  • yoghurt (125g)
  • milk (250ml)
  • cheese (20g)

According to a study published in the journal Nutrients, the “optimal” absorption of plant sterols in the body occurs when the nutrient is consumed “with a (main) meal and twice daily.”

The British Heart foundation emphasises that they do not have an effect on “good” HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is a substance that can act to lower LDL cholesterol.

But the charity emphasises that they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins – although they’re safe to use alongside the drugs.

“They are not a replacement for any cholesterol-lowering medication – and if you are already taking medication to help lower your cholesterol, you should inform your doctor before you start taking them,” stated the charity.

Plant sterols are also not a replacement for a healthy, balanced diet.

It added: “Whilst there is an expectation that their cholesterol-lowering effect will lead to fewer heart attacks, there is no evidence to show this.

“You’ll still need to make changes to your diet and lifestyle to help reduce your cholesterol levels and your overall risk of coronary heart disease.”

To lower cholesterol, the NHS advises people to try to eat less meat pies, sausages and fatty meat. It also recommends against excessive butter, lard and ghee, as well as cream and hard cheese.

Other foods that you might want to cut out include:

  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Food containing oil
  • Palm oil

Exercising more will also help. You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, explains the NHS.

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