Top 5 foods to lower your cholesterol levels

Cholesterol has been given a bad name, but not all cholesterol are detrimental to our health.

The liver converts the fat from food into a waxy substance called cholesterol so that the body can function properly.

However, too much cholesterol in the body can clog up arteries and cause debilitating health problems such as strokes and heart attacks.

According to the Ministry of Health, 1 in 2 Singaporean adults have high blood cholesterol, which is one of several risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease has been found to be the leading cause of death worldwide.

Cholesterol can be classified into two types - 'good' High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and 'bad' Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

HDL cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from the bloodstream, and prevents the build-up of plaque in arteries, explains the Health Promotion Board.

On the other hand, LDL cholesterol can build up and form plaques in the inner walls of the arteries, and cause atherosclerosis - the hardening and narrowing of arteries. Atherosclerosis may cause serious health problems as it restricts blood flow to the organs and tissues, and a plaque may burst and trigger a blood clot in the arteries.

There are no symptoms if you have high cholesterol, so early and regular screenings are important.

People who are overweight, older and have a family history of heart disease are more at risk of having high cholesterol levels.

However, high cholesterol is often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

We can prevent high cholesterol levels with a healthy diet and adequate exercise, and treat the condition with medication when needed.

Have 5 minutes to spare? Learn more about cholesterol by watching these videos.

Cutting down on the amount of total fat, especially saturated and trans fats from your diet will help lower your overall cholesterol levels.

There are four types of fat found in food:

In addition, US non-profit medical research group Mayo Clinic has recommended consuming more of these five groups of foods to help lower the 'bad' LDL cholesterol:

1. Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods

2. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids

3. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts

4. Olive oil

5. Foods with added plant sterols

Plant sterols have been proven to lower blood cholesterol, which is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.

If you lower your cholesterol levels by 10 per cent, you also slash the risk for heart disease by 20 per cent.

Drinking two glasses of MARIGOLD HL Milk with Plant Sterols daily will provide you with 1.3g of plant sterols.

You also get to enjoy the same delicious milk that is high in calcium and protein, low in fat and lactose, and fortified with 9 vitamins for your overall well-being.

Kick-start a delicious, heart-friendly diet today with the new MARIGOLD HL Milk with Plant Sterols, available for $3.25 per 1-litre pack at all leading stores.