Saturday, February 5, 2022
The British Heart Foundation is working to raise awareness of heart health this month, in a bid to reduce the number of people in the UK suffering from heart disease. One of the major contributing factors to heart disease and strokes is having high cholesterol, with research suggesting that over half of all adults in England have raised cholesterol levels.
There are steps you can take towards successfully lowering your cholesterol (and, as such, lowering your heart disease risk). Exercise and a healthy diet are paramount when it comes to reducing cholesterol, so we have put together a few points that you should consider if you are looking to make a change.
There are different types of fats: saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. Saturated and trans fats especially should be avoided (or reduced) if you are looking to lower your cholesterol. Saturated foods include those such as fatty meats like sausages, butter, creams, cakes and biscuits. While trans fats can be found in foods such as those that are milk and dairy-based. Unsaturated fats on the other hand can help to lower cholesterol, such as fish, avocado and vegetable oils/spreads.
There are many benefits to increasing your fibre intake, one of which is that it can stop so much cholesterol from being absorbed into your body. Eating foods that are high in fibre can help to reduce your cholesterol, as well as make you feel fuller for longer so that you don't crave snacks as much throughout the day. Foods such as wholemeal bread, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals are all good sources which you should try to incorporate into your diet.
As we've mentioned already, fatty meats (such as some red meats) are classed as saturated fats, which are not ideal for people with high cholesterol. Instead of opting for red meat, try replacing it with oily fish like salmon or tuna. They are unsaturated fats which will work well towards lowering your cholesterol and improving your diet.
If you are concerned about your cholesterol level, talk to a pharmacist or your GP and they will be able to advise you on how to move forward.