Heart Research UK Healthy Tip - Improve Your CholesterolHeart Research UK Healthy Heart Tip, written by Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion at Heart Research UK
Improving Your Cholesterol Profile
There are two main types of cholesterol, LDL, sometimes termed ‘bad’ cholesterol, and HDL, sometimes termed as ‘good cholesterol’. The reality is that we do need some of both types of cholesterol, but the incorrect balance can be harmful. When LDL cholesterol builds up in the arteries, it can contribute to plaque formation, whilst HDL cholesterol removes harmful cholesterol from the bloodstream. With this in mind, here are some tips for creating a healthy cholesterol profile.
Increase Fibre Intake
Fibre, particularly the type found in porridge oats and wholegrains, known as beta-glucan, helps to reduce LDL cholesterol levels.
Diets higher in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and pulses are healthier for the heart than animal-derived alternatives that are high in saturated fats such as meats, cheeses and processed snacks such as biscuits.
Eat Good Fats
Unsaturated fats, particularly when swapped for saturated fats, can help to increase your HDL cholesterol levels. Excellent sources of good fats include oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, extra virgin olive oil and avocados.
Aerobic exercise such as running or cycling will help to increase levels of HDL in the blood, especially when performed for more than 150 minutes each week.
Avoid high Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can increase the amount of fat in the blood and lower HDL cholesterol, therefore drinking less than 14 units per week is recommended.
Heart Research UK
Proud to stand out from the crowd, Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. They inspire and invest in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. For over 50 years they have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.
You can find more healthy tips, recipes and advice at heartresearch.org.uk