High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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Maintaining general good health is all about knowing the risk factors for the biggest killers, including stroke, cancers, diabetes and heart diseases. All of these conditions can be deadly and they are increasingly likely if your cholesterol is too high. Nearly 40 percent of Brits have high or borderline high levels of cholesterol, and this increases with age and for menopausal women. So how do you reduce your risk of high cholesterol? Express.co.uk reveals the four biggest risk factors of the dangerous condition.
We all have some cholesterol in our blood, but having too much is a big problem.
High-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol) are essential for taking bad cholesterol or cholesterol that you don’t need back to your liver where it is broken down and passed out of your body.
Non-high-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) is what you need to worry about because when there is too much non-HDL, it can build up inside the walls of your blood vessels.
When this happens, your vessels become clogged, your arteries become narrower, and your risk of having a heart attack or stroke skyrockets.
Six out of 10 adults in England have high cholesterol, and many of these people are completely unaware they have it.
The British Heart Foundation warns that anyone can get high cholesterol and while sometimes it is uncontrollable, sometimes you can control it.
The site states: “As long as you take care of the things you can control, you’ll help lower your risk.”
The four biggest risk factors for the dangerous condition
According to the British Heart Foundation, things that cause high cholesterol that you can control include:
Eating too much saturated fat
You need to reduce how much saturated fat you eat to reduce your risk of high cholesterol.
This includes processed and fatty meats like sausages, ham, burgers and bacon.
You should also cut down on hard cheeses like cheddar, whole milk, cream, ice cream, butter, lard, ghee, suet, palm oil and coconut oil.
Not being active enough
Physical activity directly helps to reduce your cholesterol and can help reduce your risk of heart and circulatory disease.
Exercise can also help you control your weight, reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and improve your mental health.
Find activities you enjoy and try to do at least two and a half hours of exercise every week.
Smoking can directly lead to high cholesterol levels, so quitting as soon as you can is extremely important to reduce your risk.
The BHF explains: “The chemicals in cigarettes make the walls of your arteries sticky and this causes fatty material to stick to the walls.
“The fatty material can begin to clog your arteries and reduce the space for blood to flow properly.”
If the arteries that carry blood to your heart get clogged, it can lead to a heart attack, and if the arteries that carry blood to your brain get clogged, it can lead to a stroke.
Having too much body fat, especially around your middle
Being body confident is extremely important, but there is no denying that being overweight or obese can increase your risk of high cholesterol and heart and circulatory diseases.
A huge 28 percent of adults in the UK are obese and many more are overweight, but it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.
Doing more exercise and eating less saturated fat as well as not going overboard with calories will help you to shift weight quickly.
Visceral fat around your belly is especially dangerous because it makes it harder for your body to use insulin and control your blood sugar levels.
This can lead to type 2 diabetes and damage your arteries.
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