People can reduce their cholesterol by consuming more green leafy vegetables, beans, oats, soy milk and seeds, a researcher from the University of Toronto has said.

Dr David Jenkins believes that high cholesterol levels can be lowered by following his portfolio diet – a calorie-controlled plant-based diet low in saturated fat and salt and high in fibre, fruit and vegetables.

Healthcare professionals often recommend a low-fat, high-fibre diet to individuals with high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

High cholesterol is when you have too much of the fatty substance in your blood. It is mainly caused by eating fatty food, not exercising enough, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol. It can also run in families.

Otherwise known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, LDL cholesterol makes up most of the body’s cholesterol.

High levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

On the other hand, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is referred to as good cholesterol. It absorbs cholesterol in the blood and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Roughly eight million Brits are currently on cholesterol-lowering drugs – better known as statins.

As part of Dr Jenkins’ “Portfolio Diet”, people are advised to eat oats, almonds, plant stanols and soya proteins, as well as following a low-calorie and low-fat diet.

Recent studies have found that the Portfolio diet is associated with good blood pressure, and may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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