Eating a healthy diet is one of the most effective ways to prevent high cholesterol, and therefore reduce your risk of serious heart disease. To lower your cholesterol through diet, you’ll have to say goodbye to a few unhealthy foods and add some new heart-healthy substitutes, including this cheap herb.
Your body needs cholesterol to function properly, however too much ‘bad’ cholesterol is what’s referred to as having high cholesterol.
‘Bad’ cholesterol is also called LDL cholesterol, standing for lowdensity lipoprotein cholesterol.
LDL cholesterol is what clogs your arteries, whereas ‘good’ cholesterol – high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – is a necessary substance that helps prevent disease.
According to The British Heart Foundation, high cholesterol is linked to a quarter of all deaths from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK.
The main causes behind high cholesterol are high-fat diets, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight and not doing enough exercise.
But some foods have been credited with naturally lowering your cholesterol, including this everyday ingredient.
For its pungent and unmistakable smell, garlic has earned the nickname ‘the stinking rose’.
However, this smelly herb could help to lower your cholesterol levels. How does it work?
Since the days of the Ancient Egyptians, Garlic has been used as a natural medicine for all kinds of conditions: from the common cold to toothache.
However, research suggests garlic could help treat high cholesterol.
One study found participants’ cholesterol levels dropped by an average of 9 percent after eating a clove of garlic a day for three months.
Studies have found garlic’s healing properties most likely come from the active substance giving this herb its strong smell.
This substance is a sulphur compound called allicin.
Allicin is a type of antioxidant, and antioxidants are thought to help prevent cholesterol from oxidising and turning into hard plaque in your arteries.
Pancreatic cancer: The ‘difficult’ sign immediately after having a poo [INSIGHT]
Pfizer booster shot: The ‘unexpected’ side effect after third dose [UPDATE]
Stroke: Alcohol increases risk [ANALYSIS]
So, try cooking with garlic, or taking garlic supplements, to help reduce your cholesterol.
In addition to using garlic, you need to make sure you eat plenty of fibre, add more plant sterols to your diet, and eat lots of fruit and vegetables, while avoiding too much saturated fat.
But remember, using garlic is an addition, not a replacement, for any treatment your doctor suggests.
Your doctor is the best person to recommend a course of action to lower your cholesterol levels.
Garlic is credited with reducing your risk of other heart diseases too because it has powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
For this reason, garlic also seems to help lower hypertension (high blood pressure).
There are other reasons cooking with garlic could help reduce blood pressure, including its very strong flavour.
Since garlic is so flavoursome, it gives your food a stronger taste, making you less likely to reach for the salt.
Eating too much salt increases your risk of heart disease, with experts saying you should not eat more than one teaspoon of salt per day.
Adding flavour to your dishes with garlic, which is also low in calories yet high in nutrients, and other herbs and spices can make your home cooking more heart-healthy.