Cholesterol is not intrinsically bad. In fact, you need a healthy amount of the waxy substance in order to function. However, having high levels of LDL cholesterol can invite serious health problems. LDL cholesterol is commonly dubbed the “bad” cholesterol because it clings to the walls of your blood vessels, thereby carrying your risk of heart disease.
Fortunately, you can lower high LDL levels by making simple dietary tweaks.
to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, drinking beta-glucan-enriched fruit juice according to produces this desired effect.
Beta-glucans (β-Glucans) are types of fiber found in the cells of certain types of yeast, algae, bacteria, and fungi.
“β-Glucan can reduce serum concentrations of total and LDL cholesterol. The mechanism of this action is not clear, however, and it is difficult to predict the cholesterol-lowering effect of a food product enriched with β-glucan,” the researchers in the study wrote.
READ MORE: High cholesterol: The 21p food shown to reduce harmful lipids and prevent plaque build-up
They examined the effects of a beta-glucan-enriched fruit juice on serum lipids and lipoproteins and on markers of cholesterol absorption (serum concentrations of plant sterols) and synthesis (serum concentrations of lathosterol).
After a three-week run-in period, healthy subjects consumed daily a fruit drink providing five grams rice starch (placebo group) or beta-glucan from oats for five weeks.
A run-in period is a period before a clinical trial is commenced when no treatment is given.
At the end of the run-in period and at the end of the intervention, blood samples were taken for analysis of lipids (blood fats such as cholesterol).
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“To reduce your cholesterol, try to cut down on fatty food, especially food that contains a type of fat called saturated fat,” advises the NHS.
As the health body points out, you can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat.
Try to eat more:
- Oily fish, like mackerel and salmon
- Brown rice, bread and pasta
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables.
You should also aim to do at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of exercise a week, says the NHS.
Some good things to try when starting out include:
- Walking – try to walk fast enough so your heart starts beating faster
“Try a few different exercises to find something you like doing. You’re more likely to keep doing it if you enjoy it,” adds the NHS.