High cholesterol is a stepping stone to serious health problems, ranging from heart disease to strokes.
After statins, a healthy diet is the most popular way to slash your cholesterol levels.
Luckily, Stewart Mcginn, Managing Director at Baycroft Care Homes, shared six heart-healthy foods that could do this with gusto.
1. Oily fish
From tuna to mackerel and salmon to swordfish, oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can help keep cholesterol levels in check.
McGinn said: “These are essential fats that help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels by lowering your triglyceride levels (the main component of body fat in people).
“For those with high cholesterol, fish is a healthier alternative to meat, especially red meat, which is high in saturated fats.”
2. Wholegrain foods
Whole grain foods can help bridge the gap between getting to enjoy foods like rice and bread and getting more fiber.
Packed with the key carbohydrate, foods like brown rice, whole wheat pasta and wholemeal bread don’t only move through your digestive system quickly but also help lower the fatty substance.
The expert recommended eating these options instead of your regular white rice, bread or pasta.
3. Nuts and seeds
McGinn said: “When trying to lower your cholesterol, it’s important to cut out the saturated fats in your diet and replace them with healthier unsaturated fats like nuts.
“Whether you want to snack on a bag of healthy nuts, or add them to savory recipes or salads, they are good for the body as they contain fiber which can stop cholesterol from entering the bloodstream.”
Some “great” options include almonds, pistachios, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts.
4. Oats and barley
Both of these staples contain a soluble type of fiber called beta-glucan, which forms a gel that attaches to the cholesterol in your intestines and prevents your body from absorbing it.
“Try swapping out your usual breakfast for porridge, as an easy way to add them to your diet,” the expert said.
5. Beans and pulses
Whether it’s kidney beans or lentils, legumes can “significantly” cut your risk of heart disease, by lowering your “bad” cholesterol levels.
McGinn said: “You can easily start consuming more beans and pulses regularly by adding them to recipes – whether it’s a curry, a homemade soup, a chilli or even a variety of dips.”
6. Fruits and vegetables
Similarly to whole grains, both fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber which helps to keep cholesterol in check.
When it comes to fruit, the expert recommended oranges, lemons, pears, apples and plums.
McGinn added: “Avocados contain monounsaturated fats and fiber that lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
“Broccoli contains high levels of fiber but also beta-carotene which prevents ‘bad’ cholesterol, and Brussels sprouts are full of vitamin C, which helps keep your blood vessels healthy and lowers blood pressure.”
Before you decide to make any alterations to your diet, experts recommend seeking medical advice from a doctor or healthcare professional who can provide you with information that is tailored to your personal needs.