High cholesterol: Best Christmas leftovers to help lower your cholesterol levels

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Dr Gary Bartlett says potatoes, peas, carrots, and leafy greens – that can be left over from a Christmas roast – can help to lower blood levels of cholesterol. Dr Bartlett explained: “Legumes, such as peas, lower blood levels of LDL [low-density lipoprotein] ‘bad’ cholesterol. “Legumes are packed full of fibre, preventing the absorption of cholesterol from the intestines and into the blood stream.”

Meanwhile, vegetables such as potatoes and carrots are “high in a chemical called pectin”.

“Pectin is a type of soluble fibre which is known to lower blood levels of bad cholesterol by preventing its absorption across the gut wall,” the doctor elaborated.

And dark, leafy greens – ideal for winter meals – “may help lower cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids, making your body excrete more cholesterol”.

Dr Bartlett added: “One study suggested that lutein [found in leafy greens] lowers levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and could help prevent cholesterol from binding to artery walls.”

What makes “bad” cholesterol so bad?

The cholesterol charity Heart UK explained low-density lipoprotein is considered “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to fatty build-ups in the arteries.

Such a process is known as atherosclerosis, which narrows the arteries and increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

There is also “good” cholesterol, which is high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

A healthy level of “good” cholesterol may protect against heart attack and stroke by carrying “bad” cholesterol away from the arteries and towards the liver.

Once “bad” cholesterol is taken to the liver, it can be broken down and passed from the body.

“Good” cholesterol, however, cannot completely eliminate “bad” cholesterol.

Dr Bartlett stated: “Overall, high cholesterol levels are a major risk factor for heart disease and strokes.

“Lower this risk by incorporating certain cholesterol-lowering foods into your diet.”

One tasty, and perhaps surprising cholesterol-lowering food to enjoy is dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, which can reduce “bad” cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein) “good” cholesterol.

As for grazing throughout the day, nuts are great Christmas leftovers to snack on.

“Chestnuts, almonds, walnuts are packed full of fibre which will delay the absorption of cholesterol from the gut and helps lower blood levels of cholesterol,” Dr Bartletr confirmed.

When it comes to a beverage, a hot cup of tea could be the key to remaining healthy.

“Tea contains a chemical called catechins. Catechins are known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis and absorption,” said Dr Bartlett.

Aside from dietary considerations, a great way to help lower cholesterol levels is to get moving.

Going for a lovely Christmassy walk with (or without) the family can help to keep you healthy this season.

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