High cholesterol can boost your risk of severe health problems, ranging from heart disease to stroke. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to lowering high cholesterol levels, expert shares that oats could cause a marked reduction.
A popular breakfast choice, oats offer comfort as well as nutrients first thing in the morning.
Fava said: “Oats are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre which our bodies need to keep our digestive system healthy.
“The soluble fibre beta glucan is especially important for lowering our LDL, or ‘bad cholesterol’, and preventing chronic diseases.”
Heart UK explains that once you eat the fibre in oats, it forms a gel which binds to cholesterol-rich bile acids in your intestines.
This helps to limit the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed from your gut into your bloodstream.
This means your liver needs to take more cholesterol out of your blood to make more bile, which lowers your blood cholesterol.
“As well as reducing cholesterol, fibre also keeps you full and satisfied and therefore helps with weight loss,” Fava added.
Fava added: “It can be eaten at any time of the day but beginning the day with a bowl of oats is a great way to consume a source of fibre early on, and it will keep you full for longer, meaning you are less likely to snack.”
If you feel short of ideas about how to incorporate oats into your daily diet, Heart UK suggests opting for:
- Oat-based breakfast cereal flakes
- Oat drinks containing beta-glucans (not all oat drinks contain beta-glucan so check to make sure)
- Breakfast cereal oat type biscuits
- Cooked pearl barley.
Fava said: “There are lots of ways to consume oats – overnight oats, putting them in the slow cooker or making oatmeal in the microwave. Blending oats up in smoothies is also a great way to absorb the benefits.
“When making oatmeal, try adding nuts, seeds and fruit to gain even more nutrients.”
Other lifestyle changes that could help lower cholesterol
Another way to lower your levels through diet is cutting back on saturated fat. This type is found in the likes of sausages, butter, biscuits and cheese.
Other lifestyle changes that could be beneficial include exercise, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol.
However, some people will have to start taking medication called statins to keep their levels in check.