High levels of ‘bad’ LDL and VLDL cholesterol in the blood can contribute to increased risk of many diseases including; diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems, liver disease, kidney disease, and cognitive decline.
Fibre and plant phytosterols are key to lowering cholesterol, as they prevent excess cholesterol from entering the body in the digestive tract. Adding fibre in the diet encourages the surplus cholesterol to more easily pass through into the colon, where it is excreted.
The highest dietary sources of phytosterols are nuts and seeds, particularly sesame and pistachio. Just one serving of brazil nuts per month, has been shown to provide long-term cholesterol lowering effects.
Amla powder (Indian gooseberry) and dried apples have also been found to be very effective at lowering ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood, whilst at the same time increasing the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL).
Key foods to try and avoid if you are worried about your cholesterol are; eggs, meat, dairy and processed foods.
British Heart Foundation – BHF Cholesterol guide