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High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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High cholesterol means you have too much cholesterol in your blood. Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced inside the liver. Too much of it can hike your risk of heart disease. Fortunately, you can slash high cholesterol levels by overhauling your lifestyle.

A case study published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine illustrates how effective lifestyle interventions can be.

It reports the case of a 33-year-old man, with moderately elevated cholesterol levels and a family history of cardiovascular disease.

The man followed an “altered” healthy fat diet accompanied with moderate exercise for six weeks, without the addition of cholesterol-lowering agents.

According to the case report, the man had an office job, with a large amount of time spent sitting, with moderate physical activity after hours.

Before embarking on the dietary overhaul, he followed a typical dietary pattern, with breakfast and lunch consisting of bread and dairy products, including butter and cheeses.

Dinner included protein sources, provigil used for depression such as rump steak and grilled chicken. This would be accompanied by a carbohydrate source, such as potato.

Altered diet

The patient added clinically proven cholesterol-lowering foods to his daily diet, such as 1/3 cups raw oats, which is equivalent to roughly 1.3 g of oat β-glucan 30 g of almonds, at least half an avocado, and extra virgin olive oil.

An omega 3 supplement was also added to the daily diet.

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The patient used conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vitamin C, and a multivitamin as daily supplements prior to the altered diet.

“The effect of CLA on the blood lipid profile remains highly debated and largely inconclusive,” the case study stated.

However, because the patient already used a daily CLA supplement, it was decided to continue with 2000 mg CLA in order to limit the amount of variables taken away during the altered diet.

“Because 500 mg vitamin C per day has a proven positive impact on fat oxidation during moderate exercise, it remained as part of the altered lifestyle,” the case study reports.

The multivitamin was previously recommended to the patient by his GP and is a combination of amino acids, antioxidants, B-complex vitamins, calcium, and other vitamins and minerals.

The patient also exercised a minimum of 30 minutes, twice per week. The exercise included 10-minute cardio exercises.

The result? At the six-week follow-up, he was able to decrease his total cholesterol by 40.25 percent and low-density lipid cholesterol by 52.8 percent, to within normal ranges.

The cholesterol levels remained within normal ranges after six months.

“This case illustrates that in some individuals, lifestyle change alone is sufficient to lower moderately elevated cholesterol levels,” the case study authors concluded.

The findings are not surprising. Many of the man’s dietary additions are great sources of unsaturated fat.

As the NHS explains, to reduce your cholesterol, try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat.

“You can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.”

The health body says to try to eat more:

  • Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
  • Brown rice, bread and pasta
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables.

It’s important to note that some people might need more specialist interventions to bring down their high cholesterol levels.

Ask your GP for help and advice if you’re struggling to cut down.

“If you have high cholesterol, a doctor or nurse will talk to you about how you can lower it,” adds the NHS.

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