We hear a lot about cholesterol - but not many people know how to control it.
The buildup can also lead to dangerous blood clots and inflammation that can cause heart attacks and strokes.
However, some foods can actively reduce cholesterol levels.
Choosing a healthy diet, low in saturated fat is important in helping to keep your cholesterol low but you can reduce your cholesterol levels further by including these six foods in your everyday diet.
Naturally low in saturated fat, studies show you can lower your cholesterol by around 6% by including as little as 15g soy protein per day. Choose soya alternatives to milk and yogurt, soya desserts etc.
Nuts are rich in protein, fibre, and heart - healthy unsaturated fats. A handful of nuts every day has the potential to lower cholesterol by an average of 5%.
Bot h oats and barley are rich in a form of soluble fibre called beta - glucan.
Once eaten, beta - glucan forms a gel which helps bind cholesterol in the intestines and prevent it from being absorbed. It’s recommended we eat about 3g of beta - glucan per day.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are a valuable source of cholesterol - lowering soluble fibres.
Try to include at least one pulse (beans, peas, lentils) every day. Other rich sources of soluble fibre include sweet potato, aubergine, strawberries, and prunes.
Foods rich in unsaturated fats
Keeping your daily saturated fat intake below 20g (women) a nd 30g (men) is vital for cholesterol lowering. But it is equally important to replace this saturated fat with modest amounts of unsaturated fats.
These are found in olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed and other vegetable, nut, and seed oils.
Try to avoid coconut and palm oil as, unlike other these vegetable oils, they are rich in saturated fats.
Controlling your cholesterol levels can be difficult. By trying to eat as many of the above foods as often as possible, you should be on the right lines.