Is your cholesterol very high?!
Well there are thousands of people who have this problem too. All of us have a normal amount of this special type of fat in our blood as it is too essential for many bodily functions, but there are almost 60 per cent of us who have too much of these special fats. High cholesterol is a big problem as it leads to many diseases related to the health of your heart such as heart diseases or strokes. So to reduce the risk of developing these certain diseases, you have to lower your cholesterol first. Making some simple changes to your lifestyle and diet, will make you able to protect yourself from these diseases. There are many health advices on this matter, but the best one is to reduce your levels significantly through making changes in your diet; As you can still eat cheese, red meat and chocolate, within the limits of a low-fat diet which means that no food is prohibited.
To find out what you should and should not be eating to lower your cholesterol levels, read the lines below which include six food types into your diet to lower your cholesterol level up to 20 per cent in three months.
1. Smart foods: such as Flora proactive, Benecol yogurt shots and other products which are containing stanols and sterols as these naturally occurring molecules are found in plants and have the ability to block the absorption of dietary cholesterol, which is then excreted with other waste. Studies have shown that plant sterols reduce cholesterol levels by seven to ten per cent within three weeks, as part of a diet low in saturated fat. To get the full effect, you need to consume 2g in one go alongside your biggest meal of the day, everyday. The best one is the yogurt shot drinks which provide this amount of plant sterols alongside just under 40 calories and 1.4g of fat.
2. Fibre: The high-fibre bread can be added to the diet to boost fibre intake further. A meta-analysis of 67 studies on dietary fibre and cholesterol levels revealed that “consuming more fibre helped reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol by a small but significant amount”. The Fibrous foods too such as beans could trick the body into absorbing less saturated fat, which can help control weight and protect arteries from heart disease. You need to take eighteen grams a day. Around 5g will come from oat-based products and you can get the rest from just a slice of high-fibre toast and two tablespoons of beans. Fruit and vegetables will also boost fibre intake.
3. Nuts: such as almonds, walnuts, pecans and peanuts, all of them are good for lowering cholesterol. However, you should avoid salted varieties, especially if you have raised blood pressure. Nuts contain plant sterols as well as monounsaturated fats that protect blood vessels from damage, besides being high in fibre and Vitamin E. In 2010, an American analysis of 25 studies on nut consumption and blood fat levels found that “eating a portion every day (eight to ten nuts, or a small palm-full) reduced overall cholesterol by five per cent”. You need to take nearly between 25g and 50g of nuts daily. Linda Main says: “Nuts are very filling, so not only do they reduce cholesterol, but they can stop you snacking on too many other fatty foods afterwards. While nuts are in theory very calorific, it is unlikely all the energy is available to the body”.
4. Soya: such as Soya milk, soy nuts, tofu and Soya yogurt, all of these may help your liver to take ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol out of the bloodstream. Using Soya to replace dairy and meat can also displace saturated fat from the diet. A 2011 study have shown that soy protein can help reduce total cholesterol. Experts recommend taking nearly half a liter of Soya milk and a Soya yogurt, as it could reduce your level of cholesterol to may be as much as five per cent, but the scientific proof for this result is limited.
5. Healthy oils: including Olive oil and rapeseed oil, which contain mainly monounsaturated fats as they neither increase nor decrease cholesterol levels. But they help to make the artery walls stronger, which means that they are less likely to be damaged by high levels of cholesterol. Studies suggest replacing the saturated fats such as lard and butter by these healthy oils. This will help to make a fall in cholesterol, besides that it may also stop LDL which causes inflammation in the arteries, the key risk factor for cardiovascular disease. You need to take two tablespoons a day used in cooking. A 2002 study found that “consuming this amount of olive oil each day decreased total cholesterol by eight per cent in six weeks”. Generally, studies suggest that virgin olive oil is best.
6. Oats: Oats are containing compounds called beta glucans, which give them their paste-like consistency. The beta glucans could form a thick gel inside your digestive tract and bind to cholesterol in the gut, this helps to prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by your body. Then gel and cholesterol will excrete as waste. You need to take nearly three grams of beta glucans a day. This is equivalent to three oatcakes and two slices of oat bread or a small bowl of porridge. Analysis of 12 studies involving more than 1,000 people showed that “adding beta glucans each day to your diet via porridge, other oat-based cereals and oatcakes reduced cholesterol by up to five per cent within three months”. “Studies show beta glucan is good for heart health and it’s easy to eat more oats,” says Linda Main.