High cholesterol, similarly to high blood pressure, doesn’t cause many symptoms. However, the build-up of cholesterol can trigger severe health problems. That’s why many are prescribed a medication called statins to lower the amount of cholesterol produced by their body. However, a certain chocolate bar could be just “as effective”.
High cholesterol levels are mainly induced by eating too much fatty food and a poor lifestyle.
Fortunately, doing the exact opposite and switching up your habits could lower it.
A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition has found that certain food could work as a “medicine”.
The research reports: “While most doctors are quick to prescribe drugs (like statins) for treatment, a new study points to an effective food-based alternative for the millions of Americans impacted – especially those who may be concerned about medication side effects.”
The foods from the study included a chocolate bar made from ingredients, such as walnuts.
Nuts have been previously linked to positive effects on cholesterol.
For example, Heart UK reports that nuts are a good source of unsaturated fats able to “keep cholesterol in check”.
The reason why these small snacks are so potent is their fibre content.
The charity explains: “They contain fibre which can help block some cholesterol being absorbed into the bloodstream from the gut.”
It adds aiming for around a handful a day should do the trick.
However, the study didn’t only look at chocolate bars but also other snacks like smoothies.
The foods in the study were specifically created to contain a mix of fibre, plant sterols, ALA omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
The study participants were told to enjoy the snack in place of something they were already eating.
On top of that, they were told not to make any other significant lifestyle changes.
They ate the cholesterol-lowering snacks twice a day for 30 days.
After following this protocol, their cholesterol dropped by nine percent on average.
However, some participants enjoyed a reduction of more than 30 percent.
To monitor the results, the people taking part also consumed comparable grocery products labelled as “better for you”.
But no cholesterol reduction was observed after following these.
The cholesterol-lowering snacks in the study were produced by an American company called Step One Foods.
Stephen Kopecky, cardiologist and Director of the Statin Intolerance Clinic at Mayo Clinic said: “Many patients who are unwilling or unable to take statin drugs may be able to help manage their high cholesterol, or hyperlipidaemia with a realistic food-based intervention.”