High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Too much cholesterol is mainly caused by lifestyle habits like eating too much fatty food and not exercising enough. The cholesterol can then build up in the blood vessels eventually blocking them. With this in mind there are some foods that are best to avoid if you have concerns about your cholesterol levels.
There are two types of cholesterol found in the blood, which are often referred to as “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
Having “good” cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein, makes you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
Whereas “bad” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein puts you at greater risk of this.
Cholesterol charity Heart UK advises cutting out saturated fats from your diet as a good starting point.
It explains: “Cholesterol is made and broken down in the liver.
“Eating foods that have too much saturated fat, and too little unsaturated fat, changes the way the liver handles cholesterol.
“Our liver cells have low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors on them.
“When LDL cholesterol passes by in the blood, these receptors take the cholesterol out of the blood and into the liver to be broken down.
“Research suggests that eating too much saturated fat stops the receptors from working so well, and cholesterol builds up in the blood.”
Two cooking oils that are therefore bad for you if you need to watch your cholesterol levels are coconut oil and palm oil.
“Avoid coconut and palm oil as, unlike other vegetable oils, they are high in saturated fat,” Heart UK says.
It adds: “Coconut oils have an image of being a healthy option. But coconut oil is made up almost entirely of saturated fat.
“It contains even more saturated fat than butter, so is likely to cause the same health problems.
“Coconut oil does have a lovely flavour and is excellent in Thai style curries but it is best to use it sparingly.”
Olive oil can be a good alternative if your cholesterol is high, as it contains unsaturated fat.
Heart UK says: “Unsaturated fats are more heart-healthy.
“There are different types of unsaturated fat known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they do different jobs in the body.
“It’s good to eat a range of foods so that you get both.”
Along with diet, exercise and weight, smoking and drinking alcohol can make you more likely to have high cholesterol levels.
It can also run in the family.
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