Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body needs. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up on your artery walls. Too much cholesterol puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States. But you can take steps to manage your cholesterol levels and lower your risk.
There’s evidence that foods containing certain added ingredients, such as plant sterols and stanols, can reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Sterols and stanols can be found in specially developed products, such as some spreads and yoghurts.
These foods are aimed at people who need to lower their cholesterol levels. People who don’t have high cholesterol shouldn’t eat these products regularly, particularly children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
If your doctor has told you that you have high cholesterol, you can lower it by changing your diet without having to eat special products.
If you do eat foods that are designed to lower cholesterol, read the label carefully to avoid eating too much.
Fruits and vegetables to reduce cholesterol
Cabbage is rich in powerful antioxidants. Try a red cabbage and kale salad, with garlic, a pinch of brown sugar and a dash of orange juice.
Avocado and grapefruit
Avocado and grapefruit are rich in glutathione, an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals.
Beta-carotene not only makes carrots colourful, it’s also a powerful antioxidant.
Quercetin, present in black grapes (and onions) prevents “bad” cholesterol (LDL) from clogging your arteries.
Not only do onions help lower blood pressure, they also contain sulphides that reduce the risk of colon and stomach cancer. Eat them both cooked and raw to reap the most benefits.
An active lifestyle can help to lower cholesterol levels. Activities can range from walking and cycling, to more vigorous exercise such as running and dancing.
Doing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week can improve your cholesterol levels.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.
One way to tell whether you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song.