High cholesterol is a key factor in developing heart disease, which claims three times more lives than breast cancer and twice as many as lung cancer. So can diet alone be used to bring down high cholesterol – or should we leave it all to statins? Confusingly, countless foods carry labels claiming they can protect your heart or cut cholesterol.
These include Flora pro.activ and Benecol yogurt shots, as well as other products containing stanols and sterols.
Studies have shown that plant sterols reduce cholesterol levels by seven to ten per cent within three weeks, as part of a diet low in saturated fat.
You need to consume 2g in one go alongside your biggest meal of the day, each day, to get the full effect. The high fermentable-fibre content of beans and pulses means that they cannot be digested easily by the gut.
A meta-analysis of 67 studies on dietary fibre and cholesterol levels revealed that consuming more  fibre helped reduce ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol by a small but significant amount.
Fibrous foods such as beans  also trick the body into absorbing less saturated fat, which can help control weight and protect arteries from heart disease. Just swapping white bread for wholemeal can lower cholesterol levels, a manageable step for everyone. Most nuts, including almonds, walnuts, pecans and peanuts, are good for lowering cholesterol.
In 2010, an American analysis of 25 studies on nut consumption and blood fat levels found that eating  a portion every day (eight to ten nuts, or a small  palm-full) reduced overall cholesterol by five per cent and was particularly good for people with high levels  of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Linda Main says: ‘Nuts are very filling, so not only do they reduce cholesterol, but they can stop you snacking on too many other fatty foods afterwards.
Soya milk, soy nuts, tofu and soya yogurts  may help the liver to take ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol out of the bloodstream. There is some evidence, including a 2011 study, that soy protein can help reduce total cholesterol.
Although the effects were modest, some experts say that because soy products such as tofu often replace meat in the diet, they reduce the intake of saturated fat from other sources.
Olive oil and rapeseed oil, which contain mainly monounsaturated fats, neither increase nor decrease cholesterol levels. However, they help to make the  artery walls stronger, meaning that they are less likely  to be damaged by cholesterol. Studies suggest that replacing saturated fat such as lard and butter with these oils results in a fall in cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats from sunflower oils were considered to be as good as olive oils, but recently it has emerged that having too much of them causes oxidation, meaning they may increase furring of the arteries. Analysis of 12 studies involving more than 1,000 people showed that adding beta glucans each day to your  diet via porridge, other oat-based cereals and oatcakes reduced cholesterol by up to five per cent within three months. Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver and used to build cell walls, create a protective glove around nerves and to make other chemicals such as hormones. Cholesterol gets round our bodies  by combining with protein to form a protective coating around tiny balls of fat absorbed from our diet – termed lipoproteins.


The two lipoproteins usually measured are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Diet can reduce cholesterol levels by ten to 20 per cent, which significantly decreases heart-disease risk. To slash cholesterol by as close  to 20 per cent as possible, you’ll need to adopt ALL of the healthy eating elements mentioned above  for at least three months. ABOUT USYNaija is the internet newspaper for young Nigerians, focused on the issues and ideas that matter for an evolving generation. If those with pre-diabetes do not make changes to their diet and exercise habits, between 15 percent and 30 percent will develop diabetes within the next five years.
The advice to eat low-fat foods and dairy products originated as far back as the late 1950s and early 1960s. Before that study, and since, other well-designed and peer-reviewed studies have refuted that evidence.
Lahle has polycystic ovarian syndrome, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, asthma, and diabetes type 2.
Well, perhaps not specifically you, but thousands of Britons have this news broken to them by doctors every day.
The good news is that lowering your cholesterol is the biggest thing you can do to reduce your risk. Much of the health advice on the matter, including that on the NHS Eat Well site, is vague, leading to many misconceptions and myths.
The answer for very many people is yes, you CAN reduce your levels significantly through making changes in your diet. These naturally occurring molecules, which are found in plants, block the absorption of dietary cholesterol, which is then excreted with other waste.
Around 5g will come from oat-based products and you can get the rest from just a slice of high-fibre toast and two tablespoons of beans. It may also stop LDL causing inflammation in the arteries, a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A 2002 study found that consuming this amount of olive oil each day decreased total cholesterol by eight per cent in six weeks. The beta  glucans form a thick gel inside the digestive tract  and bind to cholesterol in the gut, helping to prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the body. This is equivalent  to a small bowl of porridge, three oatcakes and two slices of oat bread.
The purpose of this coating is to hold fat together, so we don’t have ‘oil slicks’ of fat in our bloodstream. LDL is like a juggernaut – big clumps of fat and protein that trundle along the arteries and can only be cleared from our system by the liver. It is much smaller in size and hoovers up fat deposits from the artery wall as it moves around the body. In the West, more people have high cholesterol than  in countries with a low-fat diet, such  as Japan. If you have a family history of premature heart disease or raised cholesterol, you should tell your GP as soon as possible and would be eligible for tests before the age of 40.


It becomes a bigger worry the older you are, if you smoke, have high blood pressure, a family history of heart problems and don’t exercise. If it is a lot higher, they may tell you to take statins because these drugs are likely to reduce cholesterol by 20 to 40 per cent – a massive drop.
It is an arm of the RED brand, which is the continent's largest omni-media group focused on Africa's youth. These numbers are overwhelming when you consider the complications related to diabetes have an impact on the individual, the family and the workforce. Without consistent blood sugar control, excess glucose in your blood causes damage to your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, eyes, gums, teeth and neurological system. A single research study performed by an economist proposed that high-fat diets were the cause of most heart disease, stroke and high cholesterol levels. No food  is prohibited, so you can still eat cheese, red meat and chocolate, within the limits of a low-fat diet.
To find out what we should – and shouldn’t – be eating to lower cholesterol levels, we spoke to leading diet and heart health experts.
It is not clear how nuts lower cholesterol, but it might be because they contain plant sterols as well as monounsaturated fats that protect blood vessels from damage. The reduction in cholesterol may be as much as five per cent, but scientific proof  for this is limited. This is why it’s important to know how much LDL and HDL are in your blood, as the ratio between these two types of fat is what really matters when it comes to risk. Eating foods high in saturated fat, such as butter, cream, processed meat such as sausages and fast food, means that our cholesterol goes up. The result gives volume of cholesterol in a measurement called millimoles per litre of blood – or mmol. Doctors will prescribe statins to anyone with a 20 per cent chance of developing cardiovascular disease in the next decade. For some, a healthy diet does not have a great effect.  Once your cholesterol has  reduced, you’ll have to keep up  the good work and stick to your new eating plan. This build-up – called atherosclerosis – causes artery walls to narrow so blood cannot get through, resulting in blood clots that can trigger a heart attack or stroke.
The target is to have an LDL reading below 3mmol and a total cholesterol reading (which takes into account the HDL and LDL) of 5mmol. Another 86 million people have pre-diabetes, where their blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. People at high risk of heart disease – those with high blood pressure, who are overweight, older and may have family history of the disease – are told to get their total cholesterol lower, to 4mmol, with an LDL of 2mmol. Scores for total cholesterol above 8mmol will mean the person is at medium to high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), depending on age and blood pressure. Even a reading of 5 or 6mmol may be too high if you have other risk factors, such as rheumatoid arthritis.



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