Cholesterol is a sneaky assassin because it discreetly raises your risk of heart disease, an umbrella term for conditions that narrow or block blood vessels. Specifically, LDL – also known as “bad” cholesterol – can cause this. It leads to the build-up of fatty deposits within your arteries, thereby reducing or blocking the flow of blood and oxygen your heart needs. If your arteries become fully blocked, you could have a heart attack. Food can either help or hinder this condition and according to experts, eating more of these three types of food could help to lower your levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower triglycerides, which are a type of fat in the bloodstream, said WebMD.
The health site continued: “Experts aren’t sure of the exact mechanism.
“Omega-3 fatty acids may also slow down the growth of plaques in the arteries and reduce inflammation throughout the body.”
The American Dietetic Association recommends eating more of these types of fish to help lower your cholesterol levels:
Legumes and pulses, including baked beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and split peas, can help lower cholesterol levels.
The results of 26 randomised control trials, which included 1,037 people who had either normal or high cholesterol levels, were added together.
The data showed LDL cholesterol was reduced by 5 percent in response to eating 130 grams of pulses per day. This is equivalent to one small can or about a third of a 400 gram (large) can of baked beans.
Pulses are high in vegetable protein and fibre.
They lower blood cholesterol in a number of ways.
The soluble and insoluble fibres assist with lowering cholesterol absorption in the gut, while they promote growth of beneficial gut bacteria in the large bowel.
Certain nuts, like almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and macadamia nuts, can reduce LDL cholesterol.
Studies on nut consumption have shown that eating tree nuts can improve blood pressure and reduce inflammation, which are both factors that can contribute to heart disease.
A review on tree nut consumption studies revealed that total and LDL cholesterol levels came down more among people who consumed more nuts rather than from which type of nut they ate.
It’s important to note that the expected lowering effect of nuts on total and LDL cholesterol is modest – about 5 to 7 percent lower for each.
And nuts do pack a lot of calories, so they should be consumed in moderation, keeping total daily caloric intake in check.
Dietician Helen Bond said cholesterol can change quite quickly, which is why exercise and eating healthy should be embedded into your everyday routine.
She explained: “But we’re talking a few weeks, rather than days – the odd meal or day where you eat a bit more than usual (including too much saturated fat) won’t make a difference to your cholesterol levels in the long run, but if your healthy eating and exercise habits have totally gone out the window during the lockdown, this could have a big impact on your cholesterol levels and your weight.
“Therefore, if your habits have changed over lockdown, now’s the time to reinstate healthy eating habits and get daily exercise (within UK Government guidelines to stay active and stay safe) before those new overindulgences become a habit that’s hard to break.”
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