Our expert says:
The protective action of vitamin C and other antioxidants is not through actually lowering cholesterol levels. Antioxidants reduce the number of so-called free radicals in the body. Free radicals cause damage to body cells including the cells in the lining of the blood vessels. Such damaged blood vessels are more prone to deposition of circulating cholesterol and plaque formation that eventually blocks the blood vessels causing heart disease. Recent research also indicates that in experimental animals the sulphur-containing amino acids, methionine and cystine have an effect on enzymes involved with the degradation of cholesterol. The latter research is in its early stages. Basically the use of a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fibre diet that is also rich in protective nutrients (plenty of fruit, vegetables and legumes), which contains some healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, will protect against heart disease and help to lower cholesterol. Click on 'DietnFood' at the top of this page, 'You are what you eat' and read the 'Healthy Heart' section. If you require a specific cholesterol-lowering diet to be worked out for you, then I would recommend that you consult a clinical dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area).
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