High cholesterol can develop when Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptors on the liver aren’t functioning properly. Eating foods full of saturated fats have been proven to disrupt these receptors, thus cholesterol builds up in the bloodstream.
The charity Heart UK explained how cholesterol is made and broken down in the liver.
When LDL cholesterol passes by in the bloodstream, the receptor on the liver picks up on the cholesterol and transports it into the liver, where it is broken down.
Consuming foods high in saturated fat prevent this process from working efficiently.
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And this results in high cholesterol levels building up in the bloodstream.
Foods high in saturated fat:
- Try to cut back on the following foods that are high in saturated fats:
- Milk chocolate, toffee, cakes, puddings and biscuits
- Pastries and pies
- Lamb chops
- Sausages, burgers, bacon and kebabs
- Butter, lard, ghee, margarine, goops fat and suet
- Coconut and palm oils and coconut cream
- Full-fat cream, milk, yoghurt, crème fraiche and cheese
And this includes the classic sausage roll pastry – you need to stop eating it in order to lower cholesterol levels.
Heart UK adds that women should not eat more than 20g of saturated fat per day. And men should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat per day.
When looking at food labels in the supermarket, look for saturated fat on the nutrition label.
It may be labelled as “sat fat” or “saturated”, and the information can be an eye-opener.
For a healthier lifestyle, opt for food that has more unsaturated fats than saturated fats – a lot of food contains a mixture of both.
For pre-packaged foods, such as sandwiches, aim for foods labelled green in the saturated fat category.
Any food that has 5g or more of saturated fat in 100g is quite high.
Try to purchase foods that have 1.5g or less of saturated fat in every 100g.
Heart UK recommend using spreads made from unsaturated fats, such as rapeseed, olive and sunflower oil.
This is to replace butter, ghee, hard margarine or soft butters.
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Modestly drizzle virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil for a flavoursome salad dressing.
Alternatively, try a vinaigrette made with seed or nut oil, or choose a light version of mayonnaise.
Heart UK advises people to avoid Ranch, Ceasar and other creamy dressings.
The charity also encourages “meat-free” days, basing dishes on beans, pulses, Quorn, tofu, nuts or soya.
And switching fatty and processed meats for chicken, turkey, white fish and oily fish.
To satisfy a sweet tooth, snack on currant or hot cross buns, or scones.
And fill a hole with dried fruit and nuts, or hummus and vegetable sticks.
Not all chocolate is bad, either, develop a taste for dark chocolate, if you haven’t already.
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