Cholesterol is a sneaky assassin because it discreetly raises your risk of heart disease, an umbrella term for conditions that narrow or block blood vessels. Specifically, LDL – also known as the “bad” cholesterol – performs this deadly function. It does this by causing the build-up of fatty deposits within your arteries, thereby reducing or blocking the flow of blood and oxygen your heart needs. If your arteries become fully blocked, you could have a heart attack.
What’s more, drinking orange juice has been shown to reduce another risk factor for heart disease – high blood pressure.
A review of 19 studies noted that drinking fruit juice was effective at decreasing diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a blood pressure reading) in adults.
What to avoid
High cholesterol is strongly tied to unhealthy lifestyle decisions so it is important to curb unhealthy habits, such as smoking.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) explains: “Smoking can lead to high cholesterol levels, and the build-up of tar it causes in your arteries makes it easier for cholesterol to stick to your artery walls.”
Another essential tip is to drastically cut back on eating saturated fat.
As cholesterol charity Heart UK explains, many foods contain saturated fat.
“They’re found in animal foods, such as meat, butter and other dairy products, and foods that are made with them, such as cakes and biscuits,” says the charity.
You should avoid food containing saturated fats, because these will increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood.
Cutting down on foods high in saturated fat and replacing them with foods with more unsaturated fat can help improve cholesterol levels, however, Heart UK points out.
It recommends healthy spreads, oily fish, nuts, seeds and cooking and salad oils.
In fact, most of these items can be found in a Mediterranean-style diet.
“Research into this style of eating has shown a reduced risk of developing problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol, which are all risk factors for heart disease,” explains the BHF.