Dr Rhinanna McClymont, the Lead GP at digital healthcare provider Livi, has shared five recommendations to lower levels of poor cholesterol through simple lifestyle changes.
The first of these is cutting back on saturated fats.
Found in meat, cheese and some vegetable oils, eating foods high in saturated fat increases your risk of developing high levels of cholesterol.
Dr McClymont suggests that “cutting your saturated fat intake could reduce the risk of heart disease by 17 percent, while switching to unsaturated oils (like sunflower and olive) and generally reducing the amount of fats you use could lower it by as much as 30 percent”.
Eating foods with more soluble fibre in them is Dr McClymont’s second tip for reducing levels of bad cholesterol.
Consuming three grams of soluble fibre a day, studies have found, can help lower your cholesterol.
This is the same as three apples.
Other ways for you to get your fibre intake include eating wholegrain versions of foods such as pastas and cereals; combined with oats and more fruit and veg, this creates a powerful cholesterol lowering force.
It isn’t just your diet where you can make improvements, but in how much you exercise too.
According to Dr McClymont aerobic exercise can make a big difference, “incorporating just two hours of it into your week can reduce the risk of heart disease by 7.6 percent in women and 5.1 percent in men”.
As well as lowering levels of bad cholesterol, aerobic exercise increases levels of good cholesterol.
This good cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that protects your heart
Quitting smoking won’t just decrease your risk of developing cancer, it will decrease your levels of LDL cholesterol too.
Alongside reducing your LDL levels, studies have found that kicking the smoking habit increases your levels of HDL cholesterol.
This isn’t to say quitting is easy, for some it can be a very difficult experience.
However, there are fortunately a multitude of support groups and services out there to guide you through the process.
The good doctor’s final tip returns to the topic of food, suggesting that you should avoid processed foods, and that you should try cooking with fresh ingredients.
Your cholesterol levels, both good and bad, are a measure of your heart health.
They can help guide you to make decisions about your lifestyle that will have wide ranging positive consequences beyond lowering your cholesterol levels.
More information is available both on the NHS and Livi’s website.