This Morning's Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol
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High levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol, can be dangerous. The substance raises your risk of heart disease and stroke if it starts to build up on the inside of your blood vessels. But a growing body of research is finding that it can be reduced by dietary changes – such as consuming avocados.
Avocados are well-known for their high levels of fat. Yet, the food is riddled with health benefits.
The fats it contains – known as monounsaturated fats – have positive health benefits. It is also high in HDL cholesterol, which works to remove “bad” cholesterol from your blood.
One study found that eating an avocado per day for six months led to a decrease in dangerous cholesterol levels.
And it had these results without causing the build-up of fat around the body, such as in the liver or belly.
An author of the study that was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, Professor Penny Kris-Etherton of Penn State university said: “While the avocados did not affect belly fat or weight gain, the study still provides evidence that avocados can be a beneficial addition to a well-balanced diet.
“Incorporating an avocado per day in this study did not cause weight gain and also caused a slight decrease in LDL cholesterol, which are all important findings for better health.”
The trial, performed earlier this year, was reportedly the largest study about the health benefits of avocados.
For six months, 923 participants were either instructed to eat avocados every day or not at all. Their cholesterol levels were measured through the testing period. Those who consumed the avocados had less LDL cholesterol.
However, the claims made by the study are rebuked by other experts. NutritionFacts.org reports that the studies may see a reduction in “bad” cholesterol due to the cutting down of animal fats.
The website also argues that avocados don’t contain enough LDL cholesterol to have enough impact.
Whether or not this is true, it is known that avocados are packed with nutrients including folate, magnesium and phosphorus.
These vitamins and minerals are vital for many functions in the body, and are overall linked to well-being.
The best way to consume avocados is to do so as part of wider lifestyle choices – such as eating a healthy balanced diet.
How else can you lower cholesterol
To lower cholesterol, the NHS advises people to try to eat less meat pies, sausages and fatty meat. It also recommends against excessive butter, lard and ghee, as well as cream and hard cheese.
Other foods that you might want to cut out include:
- Food containing coconut oil
- Palm oil.
Exercising more will also help. You should aim to do at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, explains the NHS.
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