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Reducing Cholesterol for a healthy heart

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring fat produced by the body and is essential for good health if kept at the correct level. Having too high a level can increase the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Cholesterol is carried through the blood in molecules called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. It consists mainly of fat which can become deposited in the arteries. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered the “good” cholesterol since its primary role is to transport LDL back to the liver where it can be processed for elimination.

Although a large percentage of the cholesterol in your blood stream is made by your own body, one way to try and control high cholesterol levels naturally is through diet and lifestyle changes.

Tips for lowering cholesterol levels

  • Reduce your intake of saturated and trans fats. These are found in fatty meats, dairy products, processed foods, biscuits and cakes.

  • Increase your intake of soluble fibre, for example, oats, barley, rye, pulses, root vegetables and apples.

  • Eat mono-unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, walnuts, almonds, avocados.

  • Add phytosterols into your diet. This includes nuts, seeds (especially linseeds) and pulses, as well as foods fortified with added plant sterols.

  • Include Oily fish such as salmon, tuna steak, sardines and mackerel.

  • Avoid sugary foods and refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pastry.

  • Increasing your physical activity is beneficial.

If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, it is advisable to seek your GP’s advice.

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