High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is a growing health problem in the UK. Having high cholesterol is when you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. It can be dangerous and it often goes unnoticed as it often doesn’t create symptoms. So are there any ways to reduce high levels of cholesterol?
High cholesterol usually comes through being overweight.
If you eat too much fatty food, don’t exercise enough and if you smoke or drink alcohol excessively, you could be at risk of high cholesterol.
But the condition can also be inherited.
High cholesterol has a reputation as a “hidden killer” as it can be almost impossible to know if you have it without a blood test.
Can you reduce cholesterol levels?
Having high cholesterol can be dangerous, and it will massively increase your chance of a stroke.
Too much cholesterol can clog up your blood vessels, making heart problems far more likely.
But you can reverse high cholesterol levels. There are some simple lifestyle changes you can make to reduce harmfully high cholesterol levels.
Ways to reduce cholesterol
Cut down on fatty food
Try to cut down on fatty food to reduce cholesterol levels.
Especially food that contains saturated fat as high amounts of this type of fat in your diet will likely cause your cholesterol levels to soar.
It is still important to include some fats in your diet but try to opt for foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.
Avocados, olive oil, peanut butter, fatty fish such as salmon are perfect examples of these types of foods that contain unsaturated fat.
These should be chosen over foods high in saturated fats such as processed meats, fast food, butter, cheese, cake and biscuits.
It is always worth checking labels on foods as many contain sneakily high levels of saturated fat.
The NHS recommends that we should all aim to do at least two and a half hours of exercise a week.
Exercise has been proven to help lower cholesterol, as a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to higher cholesterol.
The NHS says: “Try a few different exercises to find something you like doing. You’re more likely to keep doing it if you enjoy it.”
Smoking is harmful to your health in so many ways but it can raise your cholesterol too.
It will mean your chances of heart attacks, strokes and cancer are hugely raised.
The NHS is there to help smokers quit, you can get help from your GP and the NHS Stop Smoking Service who have a dedicated helpline 0300 123 1044.
Reduce the booze
How much alcohol you consume can cause high levels of cholesterol.
The NHS recommends Brits avoid binge drinking, drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week and have several drink-free days each week.
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