Picking a tasty cholesterol product
What causes high cholesterol levels?
Some people are genetically predisposed towards having high blood cholesterol levels, so if your family has a history of heart disease, it is worthwhile having your blood cholesterol levels regularly checked to prevent future problems. Poor diet is another common cause of high cholesterol levels. Eating too much red meat and fatty food is never very good from a nutritional point of view, and if you stuff your body with high levels of saturated fat, it will eventually be converted into cholesterol. Raised cholesterol levels have also been associated with the menopause in women2.
How can high cholesterol levels be controlled?
Eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle is the best way to prevent an increase of bad cholesterol in the body, and this applies to anyone affected by, or at risk of developing, high cholesterol levels.
Make sure you include enough portions of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet and avoid consuming too much saturated fat. Some fats are good for us-typically those found in oily fish such as sardines and salmon-but in order to reduce your cholesterol levels, you should try and cut down the amount of processed food, full fat dairy products and red meat in your diet. There are also certain foods that can actively reduce cholesterol levels if eaten regularly. Benecol cholesterol products are a good example of cholesterol lowering foods-research3 has indicated that the active ingredient has excellent cholesterol lowering properties.
However, whilst eating a balanced and nutritious diet is key to enjoying healthy cholesterol levels, leading an unhealthy lifestyle will undermine everything you are striving to achieve. Regular physical activity is important and ideally you should aim to do some form of exercise for at least thirty minutes per day, five or more times per week. You do not necessarily need to do anything too strenuous; an activity in keeping with your current levels of fitness would be appropriate.
1 WebMD, Boots, 2011
2BBC Health, 2007
3The EFSA Journal (2008) 825, 1-13