High cholesterol: Four food staples to help lower your levels and reduce heart attack risk

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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When it comes to a diet to help lower cholesterol levels, unsaturated fats are key. Unlike saturated fats which increases “bad” LDL cholesterol, unsaturated fat has a positive effect on low-density and low-density lipoprotein concentrations helping to reduce heart attack risk.


In a study published in the National Library of Health,

The study noted: “A serving of avocado contains 3.4 g dietary fibre (11% DV), 0.73 mg pantothenic and vitamin K.

“Avocados have a low energy density of 1.6 kcals/g or 80 kcals/serving.

“One serving of avocado contains 5 g monounsaturated fatty acid and 1 g polyunsaturated fatty acid, with the predominant fatty acid being oleic acid at 4.53 g/serving.

“Avocados also contain numerous bioactive phytonutrients that may impart health benefits.”

The study found that avocados may yield a multitude of health benefits including lowering cholesterol levels.

Extra virgin olive oil

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, dietary olive oil in reducing low-density lipoprotein was analysed.

The study noted: “Since olive oil is highly enriched with oleic acid, we tested the effect of olive oil supplementation (50 g/day) to the diet of 10 healthy male subjects, during a two-week period on their LDL and LDL to oxidation levels.

“Even after one week of the olive oil diet, the LDL susceptibility to in vitro oxidation was significantly reduced.

“We conclude that olive oil supplementation to the diet modifies LDL lipid composition and enriches the lipoprotein with oleic acid and sitosterol.”

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Pumpkin seeds

In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine

The present study aimed to examine the effect of pumpkin seeds supplementation on atherogenic diet-induced atherosclerosis, noted the study.

It added: “Rats were divided into two main groups, normal control and atherogenic control rats, each group composed of three subgroups one of them supplemented with 2 percent arginine in drinking water and the other supplemented with pumpkin seeds in.

Supplementation continued for 37 days and it was found that atherogenic rats supplemented with pumpkin seeds showed a significant decrease in their serum concentrations of total cholesterol and LDL.

“Our findings suggest that pumpkin seeds supplementation has a protective effect against atherogenic rats, and this protective effect was not attributed to the high arginine concentrations in pumpkin seeds.”

Oily fish

Oily fishes, such as pilchards, trout and crab, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids which is essential in helping to lower cholesterol levels.

Blood Pressure UK added: “[These fishes] may help reduce blood pressure, reduce the tendency of blood to clot, regulate the rhythm of your heartbeat and reduce triglyceride levels.”

However, don’t go overboard, eating more than two portions of oily fish per week can actually do some harm.

Oily fish can contain low levels of pollutants that can build up in the body therefore should be limited to twice a week.

“Our increasingly unhealthy lifestyles – poor eating habits that include too much saturated fat, a lack of exercise, smoking, high alcohol intakes and expanding waistlines due to a slowing metabolism – mean that as we move through the decades towards retirement age, the more likely we are to have unhealthy cholesterol levels,” said dietician Helen Bond.

She continued: “In fact, according to the latest figures from the Health Survey for England, only a third (35 percent) of 25- to 34-year-olds have a total cholesterol above the generally accepted healthy target of 5mmol/l, compared with nearly half (48 percent) of 35–44-year-olds, 61 percent of 45–54-year-olds and 65 percent of 55–64-year-olds.

“Don’t forget, all adults aged 40-74 years living in England are eligible for a free NHS Health Check and it should be repeated every five years.”
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