Why cholesterol is bad for you
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It is thought around 60 percent of UK adults are living with high cholesterol – with many unaware. Having high cholesterol means a person has too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in their blood. These fatty deposits can build up in the blood vessels causing blockages.
These blockages are a reason for concern due to their potential to prevent blood from properly flowing in that area.
Like many health conditions, high cholesterol is often the result of several lifestyle factors.
Diet is one such factor, with foods high in saturated fats associated with raised cholesterol levels.
In the same way that what you eat can increase your cholesterol it can also help lower it.
Fitness, wellness and nutrition expert Penny Weston, founder of MADE wellness centre, shared the best foods to bring cholesterol levels down.
She said: “I often feel white veggies, such as onions, garlic and cauliflower, are underrated and they can help reduce cholesterol plus they have loads of health benefits, which can lead to a healthier, longer life.”
Ms Weston specifically advocated for adding more onion to your diet.
“Onions, for example, contain vitamin B6, vitamin C and manganese as well as sulphur compounds, which help your body improve its immune system and growth, “ she said.
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This was supported by a study published in the Food Science and Nutrition journal in 2021.
As part of the research, a team analysed 10 existing trials involving more than 440 participants that evaluated the effects of consuming onions on cholesterol levels.
It found that it boosted high-density lipoprotein levels (“good” cholesterol) but lowered low-density lipoprotein levels (“bad” cholesterol).
“The pooled findings of 10 studies suggested that onion supplementation significantly improved high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol and low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol, while onion supplementation did not significantly lower triglycerides [another type of fat],” the study said.
“Analysis of nine trials showed a significant reduction in total cholesterol in patients with onion supplementation compared to the control group.”
It concluded: “In summary, supplementation of onion was beneficial to control dyslipidemia [the imbalance of fats in the blood], including improving levels of high‐density lipoprotein, low‐density lipoprotein, and total cholesterol, but could not reduce triglycerides level.”
Ms Weston also recommended eating other white vegetables.
“Cauliflower is one of my favourite white veggies, whether it is roasted or raw,” she said. “It contains fibre and is good for digestion as well as helping to reduce inflammation due to its antioxidants.
“Cauliflower is also a source of choline, an essential nutrient we need for mood, memory and recall.
“In general, white vegetables contain nutrients known to lower the level of bad cholesterol in your body as well as lower high blood pressure.
“Some of the other white vegetables and fruits include potatoes, turnips, bananas, white nectarines, white peaches, pears.”
If you are concerned about having high cholesterol you should ask your doctor to be tested.
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