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High cholesterol: Will eggs send my cholesterol soaring or is it safe to eat them?

Some dietary items are clearly off-limits if you are looking to lower high cholesterol, such as processed meats, cakes and biscuits.

Certain healthy foods can be high in cholesterol too, which muddies the waters.

For many decades, people have been advised to limit their consumption of eggs, or at least of egg yolks, for example.

Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat but they also happen to be high in cholesterol, nutritional data shows.

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People who have predominantly large LDL particles have a lower risk of heart disease.

This indicates that even if eggs cause mild increases in total and LDL cholesterol levels, it’s not a cause for concern.

To stay on the safe side, research has shown that eating one to three eggs per day is perfectly safe for healthy people.

General tips to keep high cholesterol at bay

Eating foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can help reduce cholesterol levels, notes the NHS.

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Unsaturated fats include:

  • Oily fish – such as mackerel and salmon
  • Nuts – such as almonds and cashews
  • Seeds – such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Avocados
  • Vegetable oils and spreads – such as rapeseed or vegetable oil, sunflower, olive, corn and walnut oils

In fact, many of these items are staples of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to lower cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease.

According to Mayo Clinic, interest in the Mediterranean diet began in the 1960s with the observation that coronary heart disease caused fewer deaths in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Italy, than in the US and northern Europe.

Subsequent studies found that the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, it is typically high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil.

The main components of Mediterranean diet include:

  • Daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats
  • Weekly intake of fish, poultry, beans and eggs
  • Moderate portions of dairy products
  • Limited intake of red meat.

In addition to eating healthily, an active lifestyle can also help lower your cholesterol level, according to the NHS.

“Doing 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week can improve your cholesterol levels,” says the health body.

Moderate aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.

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