Reduce your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy with these top tips from nutritionist Angela Dowden

Words Angela Dowden

From fibre to fish, small changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a big impact on your cholesterol levels and risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Follow my top tips to reduce the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in your body naturally…

3 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER

Omega-3s are considered heart-healthy fatty acids and oily fish such as salmon, herring, or mackerel are the best source. It’s a good idea to eat one or two portions a week. Vegetarians can eat walnuts or flaxseed instead, which also contain an omega-3, linked to healthier cholesterol levels.

FABULOUS FIBRE

Oats and barley are rich in soluble fibre called Beta Glucan. These are scientifically proven1 to lower cholesterol and reduce blood glucose levels after meals. Once inside the digestive tract it forms a thick gel which binds to bile acid and transports it out of the body the natural way. Try Betavivo, a breakfast cereal, which if taken every morning, can reduce bad cholesterol levels by 10 -15%3. One sachet of the cholesterol busting cereal contains 3 x the amount of beta-glucan compared to one bowl of porridge.  Add it to porridge for an extra beta-glucan boost or follow one of my recipes.

FORGO THE SAT FATS

Too much saturated fat and trans fats (from heating saturated fats) increase the level of cholesterol in the blood. Especially our “bad” cholesterol4. Saturated fats are mostly found in animal foods e.g. processed and fatty meats, butter, lard and cream. Instead replace them with vegetable fats, ask your butcher for lean cuts of meat and also try and steam or grill your food, rather than frying.

DINE WITH RED WINE

Small amounts of alcohol have been reported to be good for the heart, and one or two small drinks a day may help to raise levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol. Red wine has the best reputation out of all alcoholic beverages. One theory is that plant chemicals such as proanthocyanidins and resveratrol found in red grapes might make arteries more flexible. This improves blood flow, whilst also protecting artery walls from the damage that leads to cholesterol clogging them up.

 DID YOU KNOW?

– Half of all UK adults have raised cholesterol

– Healthy adults should aim for total cholesterol of 5mmol/l or less and LDL-cholesterol of 3mmol/l or less

– Coronary Heart Disease remains the UK’s biggest killer

For more tips and expert advice on lowering cholesterol naturally join Betavivo’s 8 week Rise & Shine programme now at betavivo.co.uk

REFERENCES

1 Heart UK, The Power of Beta-glucans: Available at: https://heartuk.org.uk/images/uploads/healthylivingpdfs/HUK_factsheet_F09_OatBetaGlucanF.pdf

2 https://heartuk.org.uk/press/press-kit/key-facts-figure
3
www.Betavivo.co.uk

4 https://heartuk.org.uk/cholesterol-and-diet/low-cholesterol-diets-and-foods/saturated-fat-and-cholesterol

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