High cholesterol: The three easy and delicious food swaps that will help lower your levels

High cholesterol can develop when low-density (LDL) receptors on the liver are not functioning properly. Food and diet greatly influence this and by making these three easy swaps, high cholesterol no longer needs to be a worry for you.

For a person who has high cholesterol levels, particularly the “bad” LDL cholesterol, an increased risk of heart disease is a sad reality.

Low “good” cholesterol and high triglycerides are also linked to an increased risk.

When it comes to one’s diet and high cholesterol, the mantra of ‘you are what you eat’ is pertinent.

Fortunately, it’s easy to make simple swaps and tweaks which will greatly reduce your risk of serious disease and help lower your cholesterol.

Legumes

Legumes are also known as pulses and include foods such as beans, pulses, lentils and chickpeas.

Legumes are powerhouses when it comes to fibre, minerals and protein and if a person is able to replace their refined grains such as barley, wheat and rice and processed meats with more legumes, high cholesterol levels may be reduced.

A study found that eating half a cup of legumes per day was effective at lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol by an average of 6.6 mg/dl, compared to not eating legumes.

Avocados

Avocados are a rich source of monounsaturated fats and fibre and are exceptionally nutrient-dense fruits.

The properties which avocados contain help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.

In a study with overweight adults with high cholesterol, those who ate an avocado a day had lowered LDL levels compared to their non-avocado counterparts.

Leading health experts suggest spreading avocado on your whole grain toast rather than butter as a healthy alternative and to reduce risks associated with high cholesterol.

This in turn helps regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels.

What’s more, nuts provide phytosterols which are plant compounds structurally similar to cholesterol and block its absorption in the intestines.

The calcium, magnesium and potassium found in nuts is known to help reduce the risk of heart disease.

In an analysis of 25 studies, it was found that eating two to three servings of nuts per day helped decrease LDL cholesterol by an average of 10.2 mg/dl.

Health experts advise rather than reaching for a bag of crisps when the urge hits, consider opting for a handful of nuts which will help lower your cholesterol levels. 



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