High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol is a pernicious condition that wreaks havoc on the arteries, lodging fat which causes them to become narrowed and hardened over time. But it’s pernicious nature is owed to the fact that it does not produce overt symptoms. If left untreated, chronic inflammation and the release of hormones can cause the blood vessels to constrict, hiking the risk for heart attack and stroke. Aisling Moran, Nutritional Scientist at Thriva, offered an overview on which oils could stave off the condition.
The quantity of fat we consume on a daily basis can trigger formation of low-density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol in the walls of the blood vessels.
Moran explained: “A diet high in saturated and trans fats can interrupt the balance of good and bad cholesterol. For example, HDL cholesterol is required to remove excess cholesterol from the tissues and transport it to the liver where it can be excreted in the faeces as bile.
“Fats such as these should be swapped for unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated fat, which includes sunflower oils, nuts, seeds, brand name adderall cost with insurance oily fish, monounsaturated fats, rapeseed oil, buts, avocado and sunflower oil.
“Unsaturated fats can lower the levels of bad cholesterol circulating in the blood, protecting against heart disease. Wholegrains are another good example of a food that can help to reduce saturated fat intake.
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“Eating a diet similar to the one consumed in the Mediterranean has biologically been shown to lower levels of LDL cholesterol. Yet, scientists are still not completely sure what elements of the diet contribute to its effectiveness.”
Sesame seeds are packed with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which are polyunsaturated fat.
They also contain lignans and phytosterols, plant compounds which have been found to have cholesterol-lowering effects.
These chemicals can reduce swelling and speed up the healing of a wound, and have a positive effect on oxidative stress and the potential to increase antioxidants in the body.
Research has shown that consuming sesame oil could help reduce LDL cholesterol, when consumed for up to two months.
Grapeseed oil contains high levels of vitamin E, which has high antioxidant properties and has been shown to contribute to the reduction of damaged cells from free radicals in the body.
The antioxidant properties of grapeseed oil may help to prevent skin damage and the premature signs of ageing caused by free radicals.
These same properties have been shown to boost production of collagen and elastin in the skin.
Sunflower oil’s high oleic content has proven beneficial to reduce the risk of heart disease, when used in place of saturated fats.
Its high content of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help to lower “bad” cholesterol.
The oil has also been found to retain moisture, which can help protect the skin against further damage.
There is a line of evidence for the skin barrier in healing properties of sunflower seed oil, with some studies suggesting it could even prevent systemic infection by improving the skin barrier.
Hemp seed oil is another polyunsaturated oil which has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis.
The oil contains high concentrations of linoleic acid, which has been shown to effectively reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.
Spanish researchers who noted the oil’s ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have potential as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Moran explained: “Fat – particularly saturated fats – have been shown to increase circulating levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and in some cases even reduce the foods cholesterol needed to remove the excess. Lowering our intake of saturated fats can improve our health and life expectancy.”
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