October is National Cholesterol Month. Cholesterol awareness is very important because cholesterol can greatly impact your health, and according to HEART UK over half of UK adults have a raised cholesterol level. To help reduce cholesterol levels we believe it’s important to start with healthy eating habits from an early age and our Dietitian, Louise Symington, supports us in this mission.
The quote below from Louise gives an explanation of what cholesterol is, how it impacts your health, and which foods can increase and decrease your cholesterol levels.
“Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body makes cholesterol as it is needed to make healthy cells. However, excess cholesterol is made when your diet is high in fat (particularly saturated fat). High levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease as fatty deposits form in your blood vessels. This leads to the narrowing of arteries, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk of heart attacks.
The good news is that eating diets which are rich in unprocessed plant foods such as beans, peas, fruit and vegetables support healthy cholesterol levels. What’s more, some foods have been found to help lower cholesterol too such as oats. On the other hand, highly saturated processed foods such as burgers, kebabs, pizza, crisp and chocolate can raise cholesterol and need to be avoided.
It’s common for ‘high cholesterol’ to be a concern for people as they get older – but it’s just as important to establish good eating habits from an early age as a preventative measure. At Juniper Ventures we ensure our school menus are nutritionally balanced. All menus have plant based options and/or endorse Meat Free Mondays.”
For more information and resources about what causes high cholesterol, how you can have your cholesterol level tested, and how you can motor your cholesterol level, please see the following links: