High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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“Research has revealed that around half of all adults in the UK have raised cholesterol, and one of the most common causes of this is our diets and eating foods that contain too much saturated fat,” said Corinne Toyn, Benecol’s Healthcare Professional Relations Manager. As your diet plays a key role in your levels, the type of cooking oil sitting in your cupboard also matters.
Ms Toyn has urged to “switch up your cooking oils” as certain types can do more harm than good for your cholesterol levels.
She said: “Choosing which oil to use can sometimes be confusing.
“In recent years, many of us have turned to using coconut oil as a healthier alternative but it is actually high in saturated fat, which is associated with increased cholesterol levels.”
In fact, Heart UK recommends avoiding coconut as well as palm oil because of their fat content.
Saturated fats can raise your “bad” cholesterol, also known as LDL, – the culprit that puts you at a greater risk of heart problems and strokes.
Apart from these oils, saturated fat can be found in the likes of butter, fatty meat and cheese.
Consuming these oil types could be harmful to your levels as the Mayo Clinic reports that coconut oil has been shown to raise cholesterol.
From fried foods to sweets, coconut oil can be hidden in certain foods as well.
While palm oil can be found in cakes, spreads, biscuits and more.
Fortunately, there are also oil types that could help lower your “bad” cholesterol.
Ms Toyn said: “By opting for oils high in unsaturated fats, such as vegetable and seed oils e.g., rapeseed and olive oil, this could help to reduce your LDL cholesterol.”
Heart UK adds that other oil types that could be helpful are sunflower, corn and nut oils.
These oil types are able to cut your “bad” cholesterol, consequently lowering your risk of cardiovascular problems.
Olive oil, in particular, has been highlighted for its positive heart health benefits.
Its effects come down to the oil’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, according to the Harvard Medical School.
Plus, the oil has been also associated with a lower risk of certain cancers and dementia.
The British Heart Foundation recommends adding olive oil into your meals as you would usually instead of taking it as a supplement.
Other dietary tweaks that could see your cholesterol levels drop include increasing your fibre intake.
Heart UK explains: “It blocks some cholesterol from being absorbed from the intestines into the bloodstream.”
Fibre can be found in foods, such as:
- Pulses (beans, peas and lentils)
- Sweet potato
- Okra (ladies’ fingers)
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