High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
According to the NHS, an estimated 40 percent of people in the UK have high cholesterol, although many people may not realise they have it. High cholesterol, often referred to as a “silent killer”, is most commonly associated with dietary choices.
Things like eating foods high in saturated fats or sugar can drive up the chances of being diagnosed with high cholesterol.
And to make matters worse, the condition often shows no immediate signs, prompting serious diseases if it is left untreated.
While many people know that they should cut out specific foods in order to decrease their risk, Express.co.uk spoke to two health experts to find out the other reasons you might develop high cholesterol.
Not eating enough of certain foods
Rosie Martin, is a registered dietician specialising in preventative and lifestyle nutrition, and an advisory board member for Plant-Based Health Professionals.
She told Express.co.uk that although high cholesterol can be dictated by the foods you eat, it’s also about the foods you aren’t eating.
Ms Martin said: “You are more at risk of high cholesterol with a high intake of saturated fat from animals products like any meats, cheeses, creams and butter, and highly processed foods like cakes, biscuits and pastries.
“You are also at a greater risk with a low intake of plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.”
Whole grains, beans and some seeds are high in dietary fibre, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and helps remove them from the body before they get into circulation.
According to studies by Havard health, eating two ounces of nuts a day “can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5 percent”.
Nuts have additional nutrients that can also help to protect the heart in other ways.
Dame Judi Dench health: Star, 87, left ‘unable to get up’ after fall [REVEALED]
Diabetes: How to ‘flush out’ excess sugar [EXPLAINER]
Hypertension diet: The cooking swap to slash high blood pressure risk [INSIGHT]
Family health history
A visit to your GP might include questions around your family health history, which can be vital in catching high cholesterol early.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Luke Pratsides, lead GP for digital health care company Numan said this is often overlooked by many people.
He said: “What people don’t always realise is that there is a significant genetic component to high cholesterol and those with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease may have a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol.
“In addition, there is a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia that leads to significantly high cholesterol even in people who lead a healthy lifestyle and can predispose individuals affected to heart attacks at a young age.”
People with familial hypercholesterolemia can’t control their cholesterol through diet and exercise alone, and may instead need to also use medication.
Smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking and drinking too much alcohol are renowned for increasing the risk of numerous health conditions.
Among them, according to Ms Martin, is high cholesterol though she said many people “might not have considered” them to be risk factors.
She added: “Anyone is at risk, so even if you have a healthy body weight, you may still have raised cholesterol.”
Smoking encourages LDL cholesterol to become stickier, thus clinging to the eatery walls and clogging them up.
Smoking also lowers your levels of HDL cholesterol, which is what takes cholesterol away from the artery walls.
Alcohol raises the triglycerides and cholesterol in your blood. According to HeartUK: “If your triglyceride levels become too high, they can build up in the liver, causing fatty liver disease.
“The liver can’t work as well as it should and can’t remove cholesterol from your blood, so your cholesterol levels rise.”
Alcohol is often also high in both fat and sugar content.
Not getting enough exercise
Dr Pratsides warns that a “sedentary lifestyle” can “contribute to high cholesterol”.
This is why moving your body at least once a day is crucial.
The NHS advises all adults between the ages of 19 and 64 to do some type of physical activity every day.
The health service adds: “Exercise just once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.”
People should aim to do do “strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups at least two days a week” and “at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week.”
Dr Pratsides added: “Moderate-intensity exercise is where you can feel your heart beating fast but can still have a conversation – like a brisk walk.
“Alternatively, you can do two hours of high-intensity exercise, split across the week in 30 and 60-minute sessions, where your heart is beating fast and you are very out of breath, so cannot have a conversation, like running, intense cycling or rowing.”
Source: Read Full Article