Why cholesterol is bad for you
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An excess of cholesterol is often caused by certain lifestyle habits such as eating too much fatty food and not exercising enough. While there are medications that can be taken to help like statins, people with high cholesterol will be told to watch what they eat. And there is one popular seed that studies show could be beneficial for those looking to lower cholesterol.
There are two types of cholesterol found in the blood, which are often referred to as “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
Having “good” cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein, makes you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
Whereas “bad” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) puts you at greater risk of this.
Research has shown that eating half a cup of walnuts a day could reduce low-density lipoprotein in the blood.
Speaking with Express.co.uk, a spokeswoman for the California Walnut Commission, explained: “Walnuts contain significant amounts of the plant-based essential omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
“Research reviewed by the European Food Safety Authority leading to an approved health claim has shown ALA contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, which is an important risk factor for cardiovascular health.”
She quoted a study published in the journal Circulation in 2021, which links regular daily walnut consumption and sustained lower levels of cholesterol.
As part of the trial conducted over two years, more than 600 healthy older adults included walnuts as part of their diet.
The spokeswoman said: “For the first time, the researchers went beyond LDL cholesterol and looked at all types of lipoproteins.
“One half cup serving of walnuts a day made a positive effect on lipoproteins.
“In addition, there is a misconception that nuts might lead to weight gain because of the calorie content – in this study the subjects ate half a cup of walnuts every day and did not gain weight.”
The study concludes that walnuts reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
It says: “Our data reinforce the notion that regular walnut consumption may be a useful part of a multicomponent dietary intervention or dietary pattern to lower atherogenic lipids and improve cardiovascular disease risk.”
Generally a healthy level of total cholesterol in the blood is considered to be five or less millimoles per litre (mmol/l).
More specifically, a healthy level of high-density lipoprotein is one or more mmol/l.
And you should have four or less mmol/l of low-density lipoprotein.
To find out if your cholesterol levels are high your doctor will need to take a blood test.
Having high cholesterol is usually linked to a number of lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise.
However, it can run in families.
To reduce cholesterol levels the NHS recommends:
- Eating less saturated fat
- Exercising more
- To stop smoking
- Cutting back on alcohol.
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