High cholesterol levels can be dangerous. If the fatty substance blocks the blood flow in an artery to a vital organ, such as the brain, it’s a threat to your life.
The NHS confirmed that high cholesterol is strongly linked to what you consume.
“Starchy foods are our main source of carbohydrate,” added the health body, “and [it has] an important role in a healthy diet.”
Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals are all examples of starchy foods, and they should make up just over a third of people’s diets.
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To reap the most benefits from munching on starchy foods, there’s one particular colour that is seemingly advantageous – brown.
The NHS advised to “eat potatoes with their skin on for more fibre” – and potato skins are mostly brown.
The common perception is that brown bread, brown pasta and brown rice is healthier than its white counterparts. Is this true?
One thing is for sure, the NHS recommends people who are trying to lower their cholesterol to “eat more brown rice, bread and pasta”.
According to nutritionist Carina Norris, white bread has the “wheat germ and bran removed”.
Whereas brown bread has “varying amounts of fibre and wheat germ removed”, and “sometimes colouring is added to make it browner”.
The trick is to look at the fibre content. “Brown bread may seem a healthy option, but it contains only about half the fibre found in wholemeal bread,” says Norris.
Granary bread, on the other hand, contains added wholegrain – and the NHS highly commend wholegrain.
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“[Wholegrain] contains B vitamins, vitamin E, fibre, and a wide range of minerals,” stated the NHS.
Wholemeal (different from wholegrain) is made from the whole grain – “so you get the nutrition from the wheat germ and the grains bran coat”, added Norris.
This would encourage people trying to eat healthier – to lower their cholesterol – to sway towards wholegrain and wholemeal bread (which can be white or brown).
Medical News Today explained that “white rice is brown rice with the bran and germ removed”.
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The bran and germ both contain valuable nutrients, which means white rice is lacking in some antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Although, many manufacturers now enrich white rice with added vitamins to replace the vitamins lost during production.
The health benefits of either white or brown rice depend on which underlying health conditions a person has.
Those with high cholesterol are better suited to brown rice because of the high fibre content.
BBC Good Food confirms that “wholemeal pasta contains almost twice as much fibre as white pasta”.
Due to its high fibre content it’s said to be “the best pasta option” by far.
And so, simple swaps – such as turning from white pasta to wholemeal pasta – can help to lower your cholesterol.
And healthier alternative swaps, here and there, may end up making a positive impact on your cholesterol levels.
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