Cholesterol levels are used as a marker of heart risk and dietary changes can lead to a significance improvement in cholesterol levels and your risk of heart disease.

Research shows that people with diabetes face a higher risk of developing heart disease.

Despite there being a large amount of research into diet and cholesterol, there are still a lot of misconceptions within the media and even sometimes within the advice provided by healthcare professionals.

Fat and cholesterol

It was once widely believed that eating fat directly resulted in poor cholesterol results and a higher risk of heart disease.

Research has since shown this to be far too generalised an assertion.
What is true is that having a high calorie diet, without sufficient exercise, will lead to poorer cholesterol results and a higher risk of heart disease.

Fat, however, should not be singled out as the nutrient to blame as any high calorie diet, be it high in fat or high in carbohydrate can lead to poorer cholesterol levels.

Cut out energy dense processed foods

Key to keeping cholesterol levels healthy, as well as improving your overall health, is to ensure your diet does not regularly include foods that are energy dense and nutritionally poor.

Many convenience foods are energy dense foods, meaning they are high in calories even in small portions. Packaged sandwiches, many ready meals, chips, biscuits, crisps, muffins and store bought pastry products such as pies, sausage rolls and lattices are all examples of energy dense foods.

In addition to being high in calories, these foods typically offer little in the way of other nutrition.

The growing prominence of processed food in the diet has meant that a growing prevalence of people are classified as suffering from malnutrition despite being obese.

If you can cut out energy dense convenience foods or otherwise lower your calorie intake, you can expect at first to see your triglyceride levels becoming lower and should also see your other cholesterol levels improving.

Take in nutrient rich fresh foods

A strong intake of vegetables is a key part of improving your cholesterol results as well as improving your overall health. Include a wide variety of different types and colours of vegetables as this will maximise the variety of nutrients you get from your diet.

A very healthy way of eating is to ensure half of your main meals are made up of vegetables.

One way to keep a good habit of eating plenty of vegetables each day is to use the plate method

Mediterranean diet for heart health

The Mediterranean diet is based around fresh, unprocessed food, a strong intake of vegetables and natural sources of fats. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to be particularly effective at reducing the risks of heart disease

If you’re looking for a flexible, healthy diet to improve your cholesterol levels, the Mediterranean diet represents a good choice.

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