High cholesterol: The best type of cooking oil to keep your cholesterol levels in check

This Morning’s Dr Chris discusses the signs of high cholesterol

Registered dietitian, Corrine Toyn – who works on behalf of Benecol – is determined to help people bring down their cholesterol levels. First off, she reveals the best type of cooking oil to use. Those into health fads may have heard the advice to use coconut oil in the cooking. However, Toyn dismisses the idea completely as coconut oil is “high in saturated fat, which is associated with increased cholesterol levels”.

Instead, people are better off using oils high in unsaturated fats, such as vegetable and seed oils.

Two great examples of such oils are rapeseed oil and olive oil, which “could help to reduce your LDL cholesterol”.

What’s LDL cholesterol?

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is otherwise regarded as “bad” cholesterol, explained the charity Heart UK.

It’s this type of cholesterol that can line the arteries, causing them to narrow and introducing various health concerns.

Toyn shares a trick to eat more healthier foods throughout the day – “make them more noticeable, visible and accessible”.

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This means placing fruit in a place where you’re likely to see them and are easily able to snack on them.

“We eat with our eyes first,” she explained. “So keep [fruit] at eye level and try to hide the sweet treats that will tempt you in an opaque container out of reach.”

Another useful tip to lower cholesterol levels is to include more fibre in your diet.

“Soluble fibre lowers cholesterol by preventing the reabsorption of bile in your gut,” said Toyn.

“Your body then pulls cholesterol from the bloodstream to make more bile, therefore reducing your overall LDL level.”

You can increase your fibre intake by eating a variety of vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds.

Another idea to help combat high cholesterol levels is to take time off from drinking alcohol.

Alcohol can “raise cholesterol levels in the blood”, and can contribute to fatty liver disease.

Developing this condition means the liver “can’t work as well as it should, and can’t remove cholesterol from the blood”.

Alcohol-free wine or beer, or mocktails, are great alternatives to alcoholic beverages.

Toyn also recommends losing a bit of weight if needs be, as “carrying a few extra pounds can contribute to high cholesterol”.

Even a simple daily work could do wonders for your health, as it can “improve ‘good’ cholesterol levels”.

“We should also all try to be active every day to reduce the amount of time spent sitting,” said Toyn.

The mental and physical benefits of exercise far outweighs the effort of getting up and taking a walk.

“It is recommended that healthy adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate activity e.g. brisk walking or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week,” said Toyn.

Toyn’s final tip is to ditch a smoking habit if you have one – it’ll improve your “good” cholesterol levels within 20 minutes the last time you light up.

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