High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Silent yet harmful, high cholesterol can boost your risk of severe health problems, such as heart disease and stroke. Characterised by a lack of symptoms, this condition can quietly build up in your arteries. Fortunately, research highlights a small food item that could help lower levels by 11.6 percent.
If you’re not aware, high cholesterol describes having too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood.
The NHS shares that this condition affects more than 40 percent of Britons.
Just like high blood pressure, this condition doesn’t cause many symptoms.
But it’s important to keep high levels in check to avoid further health complications.
One food that can help do that are pistachios, according to research published in Science Daily.
The study found that a daily handful of pistachio nuts may help to lower cholesterol.
On top of that, this dose can provide the antioxidants usually found in leafy green vegetables and brightly coloured fruit.
Sarah K. Gebauer, a graduate student in integrative biosciences from Penn State University, said: “Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and three ounces – one to two handfuls – reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL [low-density lipoprotein] cholesterol levels and the higher dose significantly reduced lipoprotein ratios.”
The study subjects began the trial by eating an average American diet consisting of 35 percent total fat and 11 percent saturated fat for two weeks.
After this kick-off, the researchers then tested three diets which were followed by the subjects for four weeks with a two-week break in between.
Two out of the three diets included pistachio portions measured at 1.5 ounces and three ounces respectively.
The pistachio regimen included both the nuts as a snack and as part of a recipe.
From pistachio muffins to pistachio pesto, the participants were “generally” pleased with their diet protocols.
The researchers measured the participants’ blood and found that three ounces of the nut cut “bad” cholesterol by 11.6 percent.
“Bad” cholesterol, also known as LDL cholesterol, is the culprit making you prone to heart problems.
Plus, the total cholesterol reduction was measured at 8.4 percent.
Heart UK explains why nuts, in general, are good at busting cholesterol.
Apart from being rich in unsaturated fats, they are also low in saturated fat – “a mix which can help to keep your cholesterol in check”.
They add: “[Nuts] contain fibre which can help block some cholesterol being absorbed into the blood stream from the gut, as well as protein, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, natural plant sterols and other plant nutrients which help keep your body healthy.
“They’re also filling, so you’re less likely to snack on other things.”
And other health portals, including Mayo Clinic, also highlight the benefits of adding a handful to your diet.
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