Cholesterol is made by the liver from the saturated fat that you eat. So by changing the type of fat you eat you can go along way to changing the amount of cholesterol your body makes.
Healthy fat foods include nuts, avocado, seeds, salad dressings and healthy cooking oils such as nut oils, olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, etc and margarine spreads made from these oils.
Oliy fish and fish oils also contain healthy fats.
Our liver also makes bile which is stored in the gall bladder. Bile contains cholesterol salts. When we eat foods that contains fats bile is released into the intestine to help emulsify the fats and water to aid digestion and absorption. One way to lower blood cholesterol is to stop this reabsorption of the cholesterol salts from bile. Soluble fibre found in grains such as oats, nuts, legumes, psyllium husks and skins of fruits and vegetables can trap this cholesterol and excrete it from the body.
Plant sterols are a natural chemical found in nuts for instance but can also be added to foods such as margarines. Plant sterols look like cholesterol so can trick the body into thinking it is absorbing cholesterol from the intestine when it's not. This cholesterol is then excreted from the body.
Eating a variety of foods means you get a little of all the right nutrients to help lower cholesterol.
Lisa Yates Consultant Dietitian Adv APD
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