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We’re always hearing about cholesterol these days, and rightly so – high blood cholesterol is the most established risk for heart disease and reducing it is as vital as ever. Why not start with this quick guide?
Did you know there are two types of cholesterol in the body? There's good cholesterol, known to medical experts as HDL, and then there's the bad kind, LDL. To keep your heart healthy, you need to control your levels of bad cholesterol – ideally keeping it to a score of five or under in the cholesterol test used by health professionals.
But what causes levels to rise in the first place? High cholesterol levels may run in your family, or result from an underactive thyroid. But for many of us, they're caused by eating too much saturated fat.
No matter what the cause, a few simple steps can really help bring cholesterol down. Why not visit your doctor or pharmacist and ask for a cholesterol test? Once you have your score, you can then measure your improvement.
Diet is going to be a crucial support along the way: make sure yours focuses on wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, and heart-healthy 'heroes' such as vegetable oils, soft spreads made from vegetable oils,oily fish, oats, beans and nuts.
Also try the Becel/Flora pro.activ range of margarines, milk and yoghurt. They contain plant sterols – an active ingredient clinically proven to lower LDL cholesterol – which could bring your cholesterol down by up to 10% within 2-3 weeks.
Many people think they're active, but aren't quite doing enough to bring down their cholesterol levels. If that sounds like you, why not rev up your fitness regime with a few extra swims at the local pool, or a brisk 30-minute walk in the fresh air, three times a week? Your heart is amazing – and small changes like these can help keep it that way.
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