High cholesterol: Unsaturated oils could lower levels by 30% – other tips from a GP

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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“Cholesterol itself is not unhealthy and every cell in the body needs it, but if there is too much circulating in your blood, it can damage blood vessels,” explains Dr Rhianna McClymont, lead GP at the digital healthcare provider Livi. Luckily, the doctor offers simple dietary tips that could see your levels retrieve back from the red zone.

When it comes to cholesterol, the type of fat you eat can play a big role.

Following a diet that is high in saturated fats raises your risk of high cholesterol, the GP explains.

“These fats are found in meat, cheese and other animal-based foods, as well as some vegetable oils (like palm and coconut),” she added.

In fact, Heart UK shares to “avoid” coconut and palm oil because they are packed with this fat.

Coconut oil has been even shown to raise your cholesterol levels, according to the Mayo Clinic.

However, not all vegetable oils are out of the question as some can even lower your levels.

There are also unsaturated fats, which are considered to be healthier, according to the NHS.

Dr McClymont said: “Cutting your saturated fat intake could reduce the risk of heart disease by 17 percent.

“While switching to unsaturated oils (like sunflower and olive) and generally reducing the amount of fats you use could lower it by as much as 30 percent.”

If you’re not a fan of sunflower and olive oil, you can also reach for corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils as these have been also found to lower cholesterol.

These oils are able to tackle so-called low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad”.

This culprit is the one responsible for boosting your risk of cardiovascular problems.

The GP’s other tips to take back the control of your cholesterol include eating more fibre and swapping junk food for home cooking.

Eating more fibre

Dr McClymont said: “Studies show that eating three grams of soluble fibre a day – the amount you get from three apples – can help lower cholesterol.

“You can increase your fibre intake by eating wholegrain versions of foods, like cereals, pasta and bread, as well as incorporating more beans, fruit and vegetables into your diet.”

She also recommended opting for oats as they contain beta-glucans – “a natural sugar that is also proven to lower cholesterol”.

Swapping junk food for home cooking

She continued: “Processed foods are often high in saturated fats, refined grains, added sugars and salt, which all increase the risk of high cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors, including weight gain.

“Cook from scratch where possible and try to use fresh ingredients.

“It’s also worth considering a more plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet as research shows it can help reduce blood cholesterol by up to 15 percent.”

A Mediterranean-style diet is generally rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, wholegrains and healthy fats.

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