High cholesterol: The 79p food that can lower ‘bad’ cholesterol

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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High cholesterol is a stepping stone to health problems, ranging from heart disease to stroke. Specifically, “bad” cholesterol – also known as LDL – can build up in your arteries, raising this risk. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to retrieve your levels from the red zone, including a healthy diet.

Whether you smash yours into guacamole or add it to your salad, avocados have seen a boom in popularity in recent years.

Characterised by their buttery and fresh taste, avocado offers more than a pleasant flavour.

The small fruit could help lower your levels of bad cholesterol, according to Nina Fava, Nutrition and Health Coach at Holistic Wellness Platform Able.

One reason why the green creamy food can cut your levels comes down to its unsaturated fat content.

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Heart UK explains that switching saturated fats for their unsaturated counterparts represents a “great way” for lowering high levels.

Fava said: “Avocado flesh contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which may help decrease levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as ‘bad’ cholesterol.

“And [it can] increase levels of HDL cholesterol, often referred to as good cholesterol. 

“Avocados are also a great source of phytosterols, a natural cholesterol-lowering nutrient found in plants.”

When it comes to how much you should eat, the expert recommended reaching for one avocado a day to keep cholesterol at bay.

She added: “As avocados are rich in fats, they are high in calories – but consuming half to one avocado per day (alongside a healthy diet) can lower your levels of LDL cholesterol. 

“Low LDL levels are associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke.”

What’s more, there’s also research that highlights the benefits linked to a single avocado a day.

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The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, found that a daily dose of a single avocado can cut the levels of bad cholesterol that has been oxidised.

Similarly to the way oxygen can damage food – think about a cut apple turning brown – the researchers explained that oxidation is also “bad” for your body.

Looking at 45 subjects, who were overweight or obese, the researchers ordered the volunteers to follow an average American diet at first.

In the next stage, each participant followed a different treatment diet for five weeks.

The diets included a low-fat diet, a moderate-fat diet, and a moderate-fat diet that included one avocado a day. 

After following the avocado diet, participants had significantly lower levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol than before the study began.

Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition, said: “Nutrition research on avocados is a relatively new area of study, so I think we’re at the tip of the iceberg for learning about their health benefits.

“They are such a nutrient-dense package, and I think we’re just beginning to learn about how they can improve health.”


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