High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your liver produces. Although vital for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D and certain hormones, cholesterol can be bad. This ‘bad cholesterol’ is known as low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and a serious build up can lead to incredibly serious health conditions such as heart attacks and strokes. That is unless you eat this food to help reduce that risk.
Research released today by the American Heart Association found that participants who took part in a study across four years had modestly lowered their LDL cholesterol levels if they ate a handful of walnuts each day.
Out of 708 healthy, independently-living adults between the ages of 63 and 79, those who added about 64 grams (half a cup) of walnuts to their usual daily diet had reduced their LDL level by an average of 4.3 percent.
Their total cholesterol level was lowered by an average of 8.5md/dL.
Study co-author Emilio Ros, M.D., Ph.D., is provera a synthetic hormone director of the Lipid Clinic at the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service of the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona said: “Prior studies have shown that nuts in general, and walnuts in particular, are associated with lower rates of heart disease and stroke.
Although at first glance, the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels may seem minimal, especially as measurements took place across two years, when analysing them further they are pretty impressive.
As a result of getting older, your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease naturally increases in men older than 45 and women older than 55.
As Ros states in relation to the study: “As expected in an elderly population, close to 50 percent of participants were being treated for both high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia.
“Thanks in part to statin treatment in 32 percent, the average cholesterol levels of all the people in our study were normal.
“For individuals with high blood cholesterol levels, the LDL cholesterol reduction after a nut-enriched diet may be much greater.”
Walnuts in particular are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have proven to have a beneficial impact on cardiovascular health when eaten in moderation.
Although many participants worried about gaining weight when involved in the study, Ros stated that the “health fats in walnuts did not cause participants to gain weight.”
In relation to this study, WedMD agrees that walnuts and other tree nuts such as almonds can improve blood cholesterol.
This is due to their high calorie levels.
Therefore adding walnuts or almonds to a salad or just eaten as a snack is a simple way to stay healthy.
Other foods that improve your cholesterol numbers include oatmeal and high fibre foods, oily fish such as tuna, salmon or mackerel and avocados.
The study found that LDL cholesterol levels in men reduced far more than in women.
Men saw a drop of 7.9 percent compared to just 2.6 percent for women.
They may be because women have elevated cholesterol levels after they reach menopause.
If you are worried about your cholesterol levels, try to get a blood test at your local GP for accurate results.
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