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High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

If someone has high cholesterol it means they have too much of a fatty substance known as cholesterol in their blood.

While this might not initially seem to trigger any problems, over time it can build up leading to blockages and causing the blood vessels to harden.

When this occurs it becomes harder for blood to flow around the body which can result in medical emergencies such as heart attacks and strokes.

One of the main causes of high cholesterol is diet – specifically one that is high in saturated fat.

But in the same way that certain foods can increase your cholesterol levels, others can reduce them.

One expert recommended eating a tropical fruit known as persimmon fruit to help reduce your cholesterol.

Registered nutritionist and founder of the Healthy Mays clinic, Mays Al-Ali, said: “Persimmon the fruit has been shown to lower cholesterol – eat this yummy orange fruit daily.

“In this study the tannin rich fibre extracted from persimmon reduced total cholesterol.”

The golden or orange-coloured fruit originates from China and north east India, and is now grown in multiple countries including the US, Spain, neurontin 2 years Australia and Israel – although the majority of it is produced in China.

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It is also known to be high in beta-carotene and minerals such as sodium, magnesium, calcium and iron, all which come with their own health benefits.

What research says

The study referenced by Ms Al-Ali was published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2012.

As part of the research, tannin-rich fibre was extracted from persimmon fruit. A group of 40 people were split into three groups and fed different types of cookie bars – either a placebo, one with a low dose of the fibre or a high dose.

It said: “Bile acid-binding agents are known to lower blood cholesterol levels and have been clinically used for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia [high cholesterol].

“We previously showed that tannin-rich fibre from young persimmon (Diospyros kaki) fruits had bile acid-binding properties.

“In this study, we performed a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to investigate the hypocholesterolemic effects of tannin-rich fibre in humans.

“The subjects were divided into three groups and ingested cookie bars containing zero grams, three grams, or five grams of tannin-rich fibre three times daily before meals for 12 weeks.”

Those who ate both the low-dose and high-dose bars saw a significant decrease in total cholesterol levels.

“In addition, plasma low-density lipoprotein cholesterol [‘bad’ cholesterol] levels decreased significantly in the high-dose group,” the study concluded.

“Our findings indicate that tannin-rich fibre from young persimmon fruits is a useful food material for treating hypercholesterolemia.”

Other factors that can raise your cholesterol include:

  • Not exercising enough
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol.

The only way to be sure if your cholesterol is too high is to be tested. Speak to your GP if you think your cholesterol could be too high.

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