High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol levels can lead to your blood vessels getting blocked, making you prone to heart attack and stroke. The spike in levels is mainly caused by eating fatty food and not exercising enough. Because of the potential heart problems, it’s important to keep your levels low and one way to do this is through healthy food.
One food alternative linked to lowering “bad cholesterol” levels that can be bought for as low as 69p is avocado.
Avocados are packed with nutrients and monounsaturated fatty acids.
As part of a healthy diet, you should opt for foods high in unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats because they are better for your cholesterol.
Research suggests that adding one avocado to the daily menu can help improve “bad cholesterol” levels in people who are overweight or obese, Mayo Clinic reports.
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As the name suggests, “bad cholesterol” also known as LDL cholesterol is the type associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
There’s also “good cholesterol” known as HDL which has a positive effect.
Avocados are also a great source of potassium, folate and fibre, all of which benefit your heart and cardiovascular system.
Another great benefit they offer is that they make you feel full for longer.
A study published in Nutrition Journal found that people who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent lower desire to eat for hours afterwards.
This might be helpful for your cholesterol as you might be less likely to snack on treats in between meals.
So even though avocado is rich in fats, it is the good type that can decrease your LDL cholesterol and, consequently, your risk of heart disease.
Now, many people tend to know avocados are an ingredient in guacamole – a popular snack or starter – but the fruit can also be a great breakfast option.
You could try having it mashed on a slice of wholemeal bread, as the NHS recommends this bread type for lowering your cholesterol levels.
It also goes great with eggs. Eggs contain dietary cholesterol that “has much less of an effect” on your levels, according to the NHS.
Mayo Clinic also suggests adding avocados to sandwiches or just having them as a side.
They are also a great lunch option in vegetable salads with a drizzle of olive oil, which is also known to be beneficial for your cholesterol levels.
In general, research shows that replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated fatty acids, like those in avocado, can help lower your cholesterol.
The NHS states that the best way to battle high cholesterol can be a combination of a healthy diet and exercise.
Remember that high cholesterol doesn’t cause any symptoms, so the only way to find out your levels is from a blood test.
If you’re between 40 to 74 years old, you can get your cholesterol checked as part of an NHS Health Check.
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