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High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Express.co.uk spoke to Dr Sarah Brewer, Medical Director of Healthspan in association with diabetes supplement provider CuraLin, about how people can lower their cholesterol. Dr Brewer recommended: “Take Plant sterols (eg Healthspan Plant Sterols, 800mg three times a day) which lower cholesterol levels by blocking cholesterol absorption in the gut.” “A sterol rich diet can lower levels of harmful LDL-cholesterol by around 15 percent.” Furthermore, trazodone effects she adds that you can take sterols with another type of medication, statins. This is because “statins work in a different way to plant sterols, the two can be used together to lower cholesterol levels even further. Adding sterols to statin medication is more effective than doubling the statin dose”.

The NHS recommends that an effective way to lower cholesterol is through exercise.

Dr Sarah Brewer agrees recommended: “Exercise regularly Ideally at least 30 minutes brisk walking a day, and preferably more.”

The reason why exercise is so effective is because “exercise helps to lower total cholesterol by burning it as fuel and has beneficial effects on the liver that stimulate the production of ‘good’ HDL-cholesterol”.

If you’re main exercise is walking, Dr Brewer says to aim for 10,000 steps a day.

Another lifestyle change you can make to reduce your levels of cholesterol is to quit smoking, as this can increase your risk of heart conditions.

Smoking can also increase your risk of developing cancer, so removing it from your life will have multiple benefits.

It can be a difficult process for many, but there are hundreds of support groups and guides to help you forgo the smoke.

As well as kicking the habit, putting down the drink, or reducing how much you consume on a weekly basis will contribute too.

Aim to limit yourself to 14 units a week; this is the equivalent of just over four strong or seven weak lagers.

Dr Sarah Brewer also recommends cutting back on processed foods as these contain “added sugars or salt”.

Instead, she recommends to “eat at least five portions of vegetables, salad stuff and fresh fruit per day. Select wholegrain foods rather than white/beige foods so that, overall, you are following a low glycaemic index diet”.

“There is a move away from low-fat diets towards sensible intakes of healthy fats (fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil) such as those found in the Mediterranean style of eating. Eggs are allowed.”

Fish are considered to be good allies in lowering cholesterol too with Dr Brewer suggesting that you should “eat at least two portions of fish per week, of which one should be oily (e.g., herring, mackerel, salmon, fresh tuna, sardines, pilchards)”.

Alongside changing your diet to lower your cholesterol, you can also take medicine to lower your cholesterol; this includes the aforementioned statins.

However, the NHS says you should only take medication to lower your cholesterol if:
• Your cholesterol has not gone down after changing your diet and lifestyle
• You’re at high risk of having a heart attack or stroke

Statins aren’t the only form of medication you can take ezetimibe, fibrates, bile acid sequestrants and bempedoic acid are available in tablet form.
Injections of alirocumab and evolocumab can be used to treat high cholesterol.

Heart UK, a cholesterol charity, has more information on medication to lower your cholesterol.

Returning to your diet, Dr Sarah Brewer says that more fibre in your diet can help you lower cholesterol as it “binds with cholesterol in the gut to reduce its absorption.”

Furthermore, Dr Brewer suggests eating more foods with dietary antioxidants that prevent cholesterol from oxidising.

Foods that fit into this category are fruit and vegetables.

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