HIGH cholesterol is an insidious condition which lies dormant for many years with no obvious symptoms. Often, when it does strike it is too late. This is why ensuring you are eating a healthy diet will help to significantly lower your risk and levels.
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance produced in the liver, though it can also be consumed through the food we eat.
These lipoproteins are essential to a healthy diet but if over-consumed, they can wreak havoc on your heart, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Fortunately, a diet rich in any of these five fruits will keep your heart and cholesterol levels healthy.
Pears and apples
Pears and apples have a lot of pectin, which is a type of fibre that can lower cholesterol.
Both fruits are naturally free of fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and low in calories.
They are both excellent sources of dietary fibre, which protects the heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels.
One medium pear has six grams of fibre, while a medium sized apple has four grams of fibre.
Once inside the small intestine, the fibre attaches to the cholesterol particles, preventing them from entering your bloodstream and travelling to other parts of the body.
The pectin in pears also helps tone the intestines and keep elimination regular.
Pears are also one of the highest fruit sources of lignin – an insoluble fibre that helps to transport cholesterol out of the body.
Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can help lower blood cholesterol levels, making avocados a heart-healthy food.
According to research published by the American Heart Association, consuming one avocado per day can lower your levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol.
“Avocados are a potent source of nutrients as well as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs),” said the Mayo Clinic.
“Research suggests that adding an avocado a day to a heart-healthy diet can help improve LDL cholesterol levels in people who are overweight or obese.”
A study led by nutritionist Zhoaping Li, nutritionist and professor of medicine at the University of California, was published in the journal Nutrients and looked at grapes’ effect on cholesterol.
Professor Li said of the findings: “We found the grapes have a beneficial effect on gut bacteria, which is great news since a healthy gut is critical to good health.
“This study depends on our knowledge and expands the range of health benefits for grapes, even as the study reinforces the heart health benefits of grapes with lowered cholesterol.”
Watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that may increase nitric oxide levels in the body.
Studies have found that watermelon-fed groups exhibited significantly lower serum triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Studies have also shown watermelon’s heart-healthy effect.