High cholesterol means you have too much of a fatty substance called cholesterol in your blood. Unhealthy lifestyle habits usually drive the development of these fatty deposits in the blood, although a genetic condition can also cause high cholesterol. If left untreated, cholesterol deposits can clog up your arteries, which in turn can lead to the formation of blood clots – a precursor to having a heart attack.
A few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the most important interventions you can make is to reduce your intake of saturated fats.
“Saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and full-fat dairy products, raise your total cholesterol,” warns the health body.
What’s more, “decreasing your consumption of saturated fats can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the ‘bad’ cholesterol”, it notes.
LDL cholesterol is branded the “bad” cholesterol because it clings to the inside of your artery walls.
Instead, you should opt for unsaturated fats, such as oily fish, advises cholesterol charity Heart UK.
“Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats,” explains the charity.
Oily fish are a key component of a Mediterranean-style diet, which has been shown to provide a host of health benefits.
The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.
“But in general, it’s high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil,” explains the NHS.
According to the health body, it usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.
“The Mediterranean diet has been linked with good health, including a healthier heart.”