High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is a condition characterised by the circulation of fatty molecules in the blood, that gradually settle on the arterial walls. The longer the condition is left unmanaged, the higher the risk of plaque narrowing the arteries increasing heart attack or stroke risk. Choosing the right type of grain in your diet could make all the difference with studies indicating one type which helped to not only lower cholesterol but bolster weight loss too.
Whole grains are recognised for their potential role in preventing cardiovascular diseases.
Substituting refined flour with whole grains in your diet brings a variety of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol levels.
One study published in the Journal of American Dietetic Association found that participants who ate two servings of ready-to-eat oatmeal daily lowered their total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and showed significant weight loss.
Breakfast cereals that contain whole grains and are lower in sugar, fat and salt are top of the pile.
“Wholegrains are a great addition to a heart healthy diet. Eating them regularly, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, has been linked with a lower risk of developing certain diseases including heart disease,” says Heart UK.
A whole grain is a grain that contains all parts of the grain, and a wide range of nutrients including fibre, vitamins and minerals.
When grains are milled, or refined, the bran and germ portions are removed, taking away some of these nutrients.
In a study published in the National Library of Health, whole grains impact on blood lipids and cholesterol were investigated.
The study involved a systematic literature search in selected databases.
Studies were included if they were randomised controlled comparisons between whole-grain foods and a non-whole-grain control in adults.
A total of 6069 articles were screened for eligibility, and data were extracted from 24 studies.
Overall, whole-grain intake lowered LDL cholesterol compared with the control group.
No effect of whole-grain foods on HDL cholesterol was seen, whereas whole-grain foods tended to lower triglycerides compared with the control.
The study concluded that consumption of whole-grain diets lowers LDL cholesterol but not HDL cholesterol or triglycerides, compared with consumption of non-whole-grain control diets.
“Whole-grain oat appears to be the most effective whole grain for lowering cholesterol,” it added.
Whole grain carbohydrates, like those found in wholemeal bread, whole grain cereals, brown rice or pasta, can help lower your “bad cholesterol”, according to the NHS.
This is important as too much bad cholesterol can cause fatty material to build up in your artery walls. This fatty material can make your arteries get narrower or blocked up.
There are two main types of fat, which are saturated and unsaturated. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood.
Eating foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can actually help reduce cholesterol levels, according to the national health body.
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