High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Dubbed the “silent killer”, high cholesterol can wreak havoc in your arteries without triggering many warning signs. Worryingly, the fatty substance can hike your risk of heart disease and strokes. Therefore it’s imperative to keep your levels in check. Fortunately, one drink could do this with gusto.
Whether you add it to your coffee or mix it in with your morning cereal, milk is a staple ingredient on every shopping list.
While you might be a fan of the classic dairy option, soya milk could make your cardiovascular system rejoice.
Dr Justine Butler, head of research at Viva!, has shared that 25 grams of soya protein a day could help lower “bad” cholesterol by a “significant” amount.
Packed with antioxidants, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and iron, the main ingredient in this milk – soya beans – is “perfect” for a “heart-healthy” diet, according to Heart UK.
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One of the reasons why these plant-based foods are beneficial for your cholesterol comes down to their low levels of saturated fat and protein content.
Dr Butler said: “Research suggests that certain proteins found in soya may block the production of an enzyme in the liver involved in the synthesis of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol.
“Scientists investigated two soya proteins thought to be involved and found one called B-conglycinin to be particularly significant.
“Their study suggests that digested soya peptides may be able to reduce cholesterol at levels comparable to statins.”
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The research the doctor is referring to was published in the journal Antioxidants.
The scientists discovered that consuming soy flour rich in the protein B-conglycinin cut high cholesterol and other lipid levels by as much as 70 percent.
The team looked at 19 soybean flour varieties, each of which contained different proportions of the potent proteins.
The researchers noted that the properties of this soy flour were even more potent than simvastatin – a popular drug used to treat high levels of “bad” cholesterol and fat levels in the blood.
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When it comes to soya milk, Dr Shireen Kassam, from Plant-Based Health Professionals UK, explained you need to aim for at least 25 grams of soya protein.
Dr Kassam said: “This is found in around 750 millilitres of soya milk.
“However, it is advisable and more interesting to incorporate a variety of soya foods into the diet.
“25 grams of soya protein can be found in 150 grams of soya mince, 200 grams of tofu or edamame (soya beans), and 600 grams of soya yoghurt.”
While your body makes most of the cholesterol at night, there’s no research to suggest that enjoying soya milk at a certain time is better than others.
Furthermore, Heart UK explains that soya products are a good option for replacing foods which are high in saturated fat such as meat, full-fat cream and dairy products.
Saturated fat is the culprit responsible for increasing your levels of “bad” cholesterol.
Therefore, minimising your intake of these foods is imperative for good heart health.
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