High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is a common condition that increases the risk of some deadly complications, including heart disease. Certain foods may be raising your risk of high cholesterol, and should be eaten in moderation.
High cholesterol describes having too much of a fatty substance – known as cholesterol – in your blood.
Having too much cholesterol can lead to blockages in your blood vessels, which can interrupt the flow of blood.
You may be increasing your chances of developing a stroke or heart attack if you have high cholesterol.
But making just a few diet swaps could help to protect against the condition.
What foods cause high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is only found in foods that come from animals, according to charity Heart UK.
The foods that also contain saturated fats may be unbalancing the cholesterol in your blood.
These foods include full-fat dairy foods, animal fats, and processed meats.
However, there are some other foods that are high in cholesterol, but are low in saturated fats.
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You don’t need to actively cut down on the amount of these foods in your diet, said the charity.
Lean meat, eggs, and certain types of seafood are all high in cholesterol, but low in saturated fat.
If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, you could try cutting back on the amount of animal foods in your diet, and replacing them with foods that come from plants.
But you should speak to a doctor or nutritionist for advice on how to avoid high cholesterol.
“Most people don’t need to cut down on the cholesterol that’s found in foods – so you can still enjoy eggs and shellfish,” said the charity.
“It’s much more important to cut down on foods which contain saturated fats. That’s because saturated fats affect how the liver handles cholesterol.
“So, eating saturated fats can raise your blood cholesterol. Try to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats which are better for your heart.
“For people who have high cholesterol, or are at high risk of or have cardiovascular disease, you can still eat some of these foods, but you need to be more careful about how often you eat them to ensure you’re keeping within the guidelines.”
High cholesterol may not be caused by anything in your diet at all, however.
Smoking could be contributing to your cholesterol levels, as well as raising your chances of cancer.
High cholesterol patients only very rarely show any warning signs, so it’s important to regularly check your cholesterol levels.
Speak to a doctor if you’re worried about your cholesterol levels.
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