Around 60% of people in the UK suffer from high cholesterol, according to Heart UK.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid and is vital for the normal functioning of the body. Having high levels of lipids in your blood can cause health issues.
While high cholesterol itself doesn’t normally cause any symptoms it can lead to life-threatening health conditions such as strokes and heart attacks.
This is because cholesterol can build up on the artery wall, restricting the blood flow to your heart, brain and the rest of your body.
Many risk factors such as smoking and following an unhealthy diet can increase your risk of high cholesterol.
However, there are also some easy and natural ways to help lower your high cholesterol.
Diet plays a big part when it comes to health and there are certain foods that can help lower your risk.
The NHS recommends “avoiding fatty foods and maintaining a balanced diet”.
Here are six superfoods that actively help lower cholesterol:
1. Soya foods
Soya foods help lower cholesterol because they are naturally low in saturated fat.
The proteins found in soya can also help lower cholesterol. Studies show you can lower your cholesterol by around 6% by including as little as 15g soya protein per day.
As well as being a great source of vegan protein, nuts can also help prevent high cholesterol.
You can lower your cholesterol by an average of 5% by eating a handful of nuts daily, according to studies.
Oats are rich in fibre and are a great addition to any healthy, balanced diet.
The popular breakfast food can also prevent cholesterol from being absorbed.
Fruit is low in saturated fat and high in vitamins and minerals.
They are also a valuable source of cholesterol lowering soluble fibres.
All vegetables are good for you but peas, sweet potatoes, aubergines, okras and broccoli are particularly good at preventing high cholesterol.
6. Foods rich in unsaturated fats
Unsaturated fat comes in two forms: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Including these healthy fats as a part of a well-balanced diet can result in a lowering of cholesterol levels.
Foods such as avocados, salmon and peanut butter are all rich in unsaturated fats.
A study published in Science Daily found that exercise promotes good bacteria in the gut.
It’s believed that this helps to process fat in the body, which can lower cholesterol.
You don’t need to workout for hours to see the benefits, nutritionist Cassandra Barns reveals.
The fitness instructor advises that you should get your heart rate up for half an hour every day.
Cassandra said: “Lack of exercise is the single worst risk factor for heart disease in both men and women.
“Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day – every effort is a step in the right direction; use the stairs, play with your children in the park, take up dancing – whatever it takes to increase your heart rate.”