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High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Cholesterol has a bad name but much is misunderstood about the role it plays in the body. The waxy substance helps to build cells and makes vitamins and other hormones, for example. The confusion is often the result of conflating cholesterol with LDL cholesterol – the “bad” type that clogs up your arteries, thereby hiking your risk of heart disease.

It is important to lower high LDL cholesterol levels and diet can help you to achieve this aim.

Even simple dietary tweaks can make a big difference and sage is a case in point.

The aromatic herb that is commonly used to flavour dishes has been shown to slash harmful cholesterol levels.

Arguably the most notable study to date set out to determine whether supplementing with sage would have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels.

The research included 67 participants with an average age of 56 to 30 years.

The participants were randomly divided into either the sage treatment group or placebo group.

The sage group took one 500mg capsule of sage extract every eight hours for two months.

After the specified period, those who supplemented with sage saw a significant average improvement of 19 percent in all markers of cholesterol while the control group saw no significant changes.

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In addition to lowering harmful cholesterol levels, the sage extract also increased HDL levels.

HDL cholesterol counters the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol by picking it up and transporting it to the liver where it is flushed out.

“The results suggest that sage may be effective and safe in the treatment of hyperlipidemia [high cholesterol],” the researchers concluded.

General dietary tips

The single most important dietary intervention you can make is to cut down on saturated fat, according to cholesterol charity Heart UK.

Sources include:

  • Meat pies, sausages and fatty meat
  • Butter, buy cheap brand viagra quebec best lard and ghee
  • Cream and hard cheese, like cheddar
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Food that contains coconut oil or palm oil.

You can still have foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat, notes the charity.

Unsaturated fats can be found in oily fish, brown rice, nuts and seeds.

You should also try to:

  • Avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week
  • Have several drink-free days each week
  • Avoid drinking lots of alcohol in a short time (binge drinking).

How do I know if I have high cholesterol?

High cholesterol does not typically cause symptoms. You can only find out if you have it from a blood test.

The NHS explains: “Your GP might suggest having a test if they think your cholesterol level could be high.”

According to the health body, this may be because of your age, weight or another condition you have (like high blood pressure or diabetes).

“Ask your GP surgery for a cholesterol test if you have not had a test before and you’re over 40, overweight, or have high cholesterol or heart problems run in your family.”

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