Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, and hormones, however 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. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can help reduce high cholesterol.
Berries are an integral part of the human diet, both as fresh and frozen berries which may act as useful food. They also have a pleasant taste and little calorific content. In addition, berries and have high concentrations of phenolic compounds: flavonoids such as anthocyanins and non-flavonoids such as stilbenes and phenolic acids, which can decrease cardiovascular risk. As berries are very often consumed raw, these compounds are not deactivated by cooking.
Berries, such as blackberries, blackcurrants, raspberries, bilberries or blueberries, cranberries, lingonberries, and strawberries have been shown to decrease LDL oxidation (and therefore reduce LDL build-up) and increase HDL-cholesterol following the dietary intervention
Anthocyanins cause the blue, purple and red colour of many fruits, including berries and are found at the highest concentrations in the skins of berries.
Studies show that antioxidants might block or slow the build-up of cholesterol in the arteries of people who are at higher risk of heart disease.
In addition, specific berries, such as bilberry and black currant extracts, cranberry extracts, and freeze-dried strawberries were shown to have favourable effects on plasma glucose or lipid profiles in people with risk factors including type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia or metabolic syndrome.
As always you should, with any herbal or dietary supplement, talk to your doctor if you use concentrated fruit extracts regularly as a supplement.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Dyslipidaemia: is an abnormal amount of lipids (e.g. triglycerides, cholesterol and/or fat phospholipids) in the blood. In developed countries, most dyslipidaemias are hyperlipidaemias; that is, an elevation of lipids in the blood. This is often due to diet and lifestyle.
· Organic non-flavoured kefir / yogurt
· Fresh or frozen raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or blackcurrants
· Walnuts / almonds / hazelnuts
· Tablespoon of oats
· 1cm piece of ginger
· 0.5-1cm piece of chilli
Use a smoothie maker to make a lovely refreshing drink.
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Lee, S., Vance, T., Nam, T., Kim, D., Koo, S. and Chun, O. (2015). Contribution of Anthocyanin Composition to Total Antioxidant Capacity of Berries. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 70 (4), 427-432. Available from 10.1007/s11130-015-0514-5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26515081.
MAYOCLINIC (2019). High cholesterol - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic. Available from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800.
Olas, B. (2018). Berry Phenolic Antioxidants – Implications for Human Health?. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9. Available from 10.3389/fphar.2018.00078 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5890122/#!po=11.5385.
Tulipani, S., Armeni, T., Giampieri, F., Alvarez-Suarez, J., Gonzalez-Paramás, A., Santos-Buelga, C., Busco, F., Principato, G., Bompadre, S., Quiles, J., Mezzetti, B. and Battino, M. (2014). Strawberry intake increases blood fluid, erythrocyte and mononuclear cell defenses against oxidative challenge. Food Chemistry, 156, 87-93. Available from 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.01.098.