Seven ‘heart healthy’ cooking oils to use if you have high cholesterol

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

Having high cholesterol means you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood.

Although initially it may not cause any problems, over time it builds up leading to blockages.

This is serious as blocked blood vessels can result in heart attacks and strokes.

It is typically caused by lifestyle habits including not exercising enough, smoking and drinking alcohol.

Diet and being overweight is also a major contributing factor.

Specifically, saturated fats are among the worst things you can eat.

The British Heart Foundation explains: “Saturated fat and trans fat are ‘unhealthy’ fats. They can raise your ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood.”

Saturated fats can be found in the following foods:

  • Dairy foods such as cream, cheese and full fat milk and yoghurt
  • Butter and other solid fats such as ghee, lard and hard margarine
  • Fatty and processed meats such as sausages and bacon.

It is also prevalent in coconut and palm oil, which should therefore be avoided when cooking if you are concerned about your cholesterol.

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In comparison, unsaturated fats are healthier for the heart.

Heart UK says: “Unsaturated fats are more heart-healthy.

“There are different types of unsaturated fat known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and they do different jobs in the body.

“It’s good to eat a range of foods so that you get both.

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“Unsaturated fats are found in plant foods and oily fish, and they are usually liquid at room temperature.”

The charity recommends seven types of cooking oil containing unsaturated fats to use instead of butter, coconut oil or palm oil.

These include:

  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Walnut oil
  • Corn oil.

Spreads based on these oils also contain unsaturated fats.

Other foods that contain unsaturated fats include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocado
  • Oily fish such as herring, pilchards, mackerel, salmon and trout.

The charity adds: “One type of unsaturated fat which are particularly good for you are omega 3 fats. These are the type found in oily fish.

“They’re also found in flaxseed, linseed and hemp and foods that have been fortified with omega 3s.”

If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels you should speak to your doctor.

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