High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Some people can have high cholesterol without even knowing it as the condition doesn’t cause many symptoms. The tricky part about cholesterol is that it can lead to heart problems and stroke. Luckily, simple diet modifications can help lower levels.
“Bad” cholesterol is the problematic one which can clog up your arteries and lead to heart problems and stroke, the NHS explains.
But cholesterol isn’t only harmful as there’s also “good” cholesterol which can help you get rid of the bad one and lower your risk of health complications.
A diet packed in fatty foods is one of the key contributors to high cholesterol levels.
However, not all fats are bad. There’s one food which can cut “bad” cholesterol levels and contains monounsaturated fats – avocado.
Researchers from The Pennsylvania State University described “bad” cholesterol levels as both oxidised low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and small, dense LDL particles.
They found that eating one avocado daily was linked to lower levels of the “bad” fatty substance in overweight or obese adults.
The researchers looked at 45 participants, who followed a two-week “run-in” diet at the beginning of the study.
This diet consisted of an average American diet to allow the participants to start the study on a similar “footing”.
After this initial five weeks, each participant completed five weeks of three different treatment diets – a low-fat, moderate-fat or high-fat diet.
And the moderate-fat diet included a daily serving of avocado.
After five weeks of the avocado diet, participants had “significantly” lower levels of oxidised “bad” cholesterol.
The researchers explained that similarly to the way oxygen can damage food, oxidation is also bad for your body as it can lead to conditions like cancer and heart disease.
Penny Kris-Etherton, who is a professor of nutrition, said: “Oxidation is not good, so if you can help protect the body through the foods that you eat, that could be very beneficial.
“Consequently, people should consider adding avocados to their diet in a healthy way, like on whole-wheat toast or as a veggie dip.”
The researchers added that it is “likely” that avocados have additional bioactives which can contribute to the cholesterol reduction and health benefits.
They suggested this because the moderate-fat diet without avocados included the same monounsaturated fatty acids as those found in the green fruit.
Avocados are packed with vitamin C, K, B6, fibre and more.
Kris-Etherton added: “Avocados are really high in healthy fats, carotenoids – which are important for eye health – and other nutrients.
“They are such a nutrient-dense package, and I think we’re just beginning to learn about how they can improve health.”
So, one avocado eaten with other healthy foods a day could help cut your cholesterol levels.
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