High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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If so, now is the time to take action to bring down harmful cholesterol levels that could otherwise put you in danger of a heart attack or stroke. While exercise is the holy grail of health, as it can help to prevent cholesterol from clogging the arteries, you could inadvertently be making your health worse by what you are drinking. Sipping on a certain sugar-laden beverage could be putting you in harm’s way.

In fact, any sugary drink, such as fruit juice, could be bad for your health.

A research paper, published in the American Heart Association journal, details how sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with “adverse changes in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol”.

To explain, Heart UK says high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol “helps to protect the heart and blood vessels from disease”.

Too little HDL can be detrimental, as the dense lipoprotein performs three roles:

  1. It is anti-inflammatory
  2. It has an antioxidant effect
  3. It removes excess cholesterol from the blood vessels and returns it to the liver.

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When cholesterol is transported to the liver, it is broken down and eradicated from the body.

The researchers noted: “Increased sugar-sweetened consumption may contribute to the development of dyslipidemia.”

What is dyslipidemia?

Experts at the US National Institute of Health explained: “Dyslipidemia is the imbalance of lipids such as cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).”

Low-density lipoprotein is considered the “bad” type of cholesterol, as it is this kind that embeds along artery walls, narrowing the passageway of blood.

When cholesterol settles along artery walls, it forms into what is known as a plaque.

Should a plaque rupture a blood vessel, a blood clot will form, which has the potential to block blood flow to the heart, for example.

If blood flow to the heart is blocked, and the muscle is starved of oxygen, it begins to die, and a heart attack occurs.

Another drink that could be raising your cholesterol levels is pressed coffee, according to a nutrition expert.

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Pressed coffee is made by mixing ground coffee beans with boiled water in a French press.

After the coffee steeps, the person making the drink presses down on a mesh plunger that strains the liquid and traps the coffee grounds.

There’s no coffee filter so some coffee grounds, which contain a substance called diterpenes, can end up in the beverage.

Professor Eric Rimm, of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said: “Five to eight cups a day of unfiltered coffee may actually raise your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol.”

If you choose to drink fruit juice or unfiltered coffee, it’s best to moderate your consumption levels.

Another big part of a person’s diet, when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels, is what you eat.

People who have high cholesterol are advised by the NHS to cut down on meat pies, sausages, and biscuits.

Other Christmassy foods you might want to avoid include hard cheese, cakes, and cream.

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