Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Sometimes, those deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke. The foods you eat will either help or hinder high cholesterol but what about condiments?
Finnish scientists carried out tests to show Britain’s favourite sauce could be good for the heart by attacking bad cholesterol, known as low-density lipoprotein.
Volunteers who added a few dollops of ketchup to their breakfast, lunch and tea, or drank a few glasses of tomato juice, saw their LDL levels drop significantly in the space of just three weeks.
Researchers who conducted the study at the University of Oulo in Finland said total cholesterol levels dropped by just under six percent and LDL levels by almost 13 percent.
They urged patients with high cholesterol to start eating ketchup or drinking tomato juice to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
In a report on the findings, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, they said: “The changes we saw can be regarded as significant, considering that the time period was only three weeks and all the volunteers had normal cholesterol levels to start with.”
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When it comes to the worst condiments which raises your cholesterol levels, the biggest culprits include:
- Ranch dressing
- Tartar sauce
- Fat-free salad dressing
- Barbecue sauce
- Teriyaki sauce
“With processed refined soybean oil as the main ingredient in most mayo’s, there’s nothing healthy about mayonnaise,” said registered dietitian Asvini Mashru, of Wellness Nutrition Concepts.
“Tartar sauce has the same issues as mayo.
“If you can find a mayo made with 100 percent olive oil instead of soybean oil, this would actually be a healthy choice.”
If you’re looking for a no-cholesterol, lower-calorie mayonnaise, Hellmann’s Canola Cholesterol Free Mayonnaise is a fine choice.
Healthy levels of cholesterol are considered to be anything below 5 millimoles of fat per litre of blood.
Around 70 percent of people aged over 45 have high cholesterol.
Doctors are increasingly focusing on driving down ‘bad’ cholesterol and increasing levels of ‘good’ cholesterol, called high-density lipoprotein.
High cholesterol can be inherited, but it’s often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, which make it preventable and treatable.
A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can help reduce high cholesterol.