High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that can build-up in the blood.
Having too much of it is dangerous as it can clog up blood vessels preventing blood flow.
If this occurs it can result in serious medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.
Like many health conditions, having high cholesterol can be caused by several lifestyle factors.
An unhealthy diet is one such factor – specifically one that is high in saturated fats.
READ MORE Three supplements to take for ‘normal healthy cholesterol’
An expert explained that tweaks to your diet could help bring cholesterol levels down.
Nutritionist Mays Al-Ali, from Healthy Mays, recommended upping your fibre intake to do so.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “Increase soluble fibre to 30 grams per day.
“Soluble fibre adds bulk to the diet and helps keep you regular, reducing constipation and the more bowel movements you have the more the liver is detoxified.
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“High cholesterol can be linked to a toxic liver as cholesterol is removed from the body through the liver.”
Foods rich in fibre recommended by Mays include:
- Brown rice
- Dark green leafy vegetables.
She especially championed oats as a healthy way to lower cholesterol for their beta-glucan content, which is a type of fibre.
“60 grams of oat bran per day may help to reduce low-density lipoprotein [“bad” cholesterol] cholesterol blood lipid levels due to the beta-glucans they contain,” she said.
“The less processed the oats the more beta-glucans they contain which have the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering properties.
“Go for gluten free so as not to disturb the gut and organic oats. Other beta-glucan rich foods are medicinal mushrooms with shiitake and maitake shown to benefit cholesterol the most.”
What does research say?
One study, published in Nutrients journal in 2019, concluded that dietary fibre could help lower bad cholesterol, especially if taken alongside statins – medication to bring cholesterol down.
It said: “Dietary fibre can be used as a dietary change to complement statin monotherapy in lowering total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and to reduce the prescribed dose of statin, decrease the side effects, and improve drug tolerability.
“Soluble and insoluble dietary fibres in whole foods have multiple non-nutritive health effects that help improve the lipoprotein profiles, and have no caloric value, and thus could be part of a healthy eating pattern.
“The abundance of dietary fibre in whole grain protein food, fruits, and vegetables, makes them attractive targets for disease prevention and reduction of risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.”
Government guidelines state that adults should eat 30 grams of fibre a day.
However, it is thought that the average person only eats about 20 grams daily.
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