High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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There are actually two kinds of cholesterol – known as “good” and “bad”. The “good” cholesterol, or high-density lipoprotein, reduces the risk of heart disease and other conditions by absorbing cholesterol and carrying it back to the liver. While “bad” cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, increases your risk by potentially blocking your blood vessels.
Having high cholesterol is often linked to a number of lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise.
It is widely acknowledged that too much fatty food increases “bad” cholesterol levels.
Fatty and processed meats are prime examples of this, as well as dairy products that are high in saturated fat like butter.
But one expert has shared how a certain vegan alternative can lower your cholesterol reading.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, head of research at vegan-advocacy charity Viva! Health, Dr Justine Butler, recommended soya products.
She said: “25 grams a day of soya foods can help lower cholesterol.
“You can get that from 100 grams of tofu, a 200 millilitre glass of soya milk and a small pot of soya yoghurt.”
Soya products are made from the soya bean plant.
They are often used as meat and dairy replacements due to their high protein content.
Dr Butler added: “Soya also contains fibre, unsaturated fats and a range of vitamins and minerals so replacing meat and dairy products with tofu, soya milk and soya-based meat alternatives is a great way to lower your cholesterol.”
This was backed by the Association of UK Dietitians, which explains how soya can help reduce “bad “ cholesterol in the blood.
It says: “A major risk factor of heart disease is having too much ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by four to six percent.
“Soya foods are naturally low in saturated fats and often displace high saturated foods in the diet and it is also thought that the soya protein itself helps to lower the body’s natural LDL cholesterol producing capacity in the liver.”
Common soya products to replace meat and dairy with include:
- Soya burgers
- Soya mince
- Soy milk
- Soy yoghurts.
As a general rule, a healthy level of total cholesterol in the blood is 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.
Other common causes of high cholesterol include smoking and drinking alcohol.
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