High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips
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High cholesterol refers to the presence of fatty molecules that coagulate in the arteries, forming plaque. While the condition is harmless in the initial stages, it can soon become problematic if left untreated. It is dubbed the “silent killer” because it inflicts great damage on the cardiovascular system without producing blatant signs. Occasionally, however, some physiological changes in the tongue may be hinting at high lipid levels in the blood.
Although high cholesterol is rarely signalled through symptoms, in some rare instances, the tongue may act as a window to your health.
Healthline explains a healthy tongue is “typically pink in colour, but it can still vary slightly in dark and light shades.
“Your tongue also has small nodules and the top and bottom. These are called papillae”.
A purple or blue tongue is often a sign that the blood isn’t reaching the muscle, to supply the tissues with oxygen.
READ MORE: High cholesterol: The ‘warning sign’ in your hands and feet – how to lower high levels
Such oxygen-depleted tongues are the result of not enough blood circulation through the arteries.
Neuropath Laurence Kirk of the British College of Naturopath and Osteopathy, told MailOnline: “Your tongue is richly supplied with blood vessels.
“Thanks to a constant flow of saliva, it is constantly being cleaned which discourages harmful bacteria forming in the mouth area.”
As the blood vessels supplying blood to the tongue become clogged, blood may stagnate.
These changes in blood supply are the result of certain lifestyle habits, diet and medications.
“This could mean you are suffering from high cholesterol, which could result in heart problems,” adds doctor Kirk.
“A purple tongue could also indicate chronic bronchitis which cuts down the efficiency of the airwaves in bringing oxygen to the bloodstream.
“If your tongue continues to be purple, seek medical advice.”
As a general guide, the NHS recommends maintaining cholesterol levels at 5mmol/L or less, for healthy adults.
In the UK, however, it is estimated three out of five adults have cholesterol levels of 5mmol/L or above, and the average cholesterol level is about 5.7mmol/L.
The build-up of plaque triggers a release of toxic substances that are known to increase the risk of a heart attack.
Fortunately, combining a healthy amount of exercise with a suitable diet can be enough to reverse the condition completely.
How to avoid high cholesterol Avoiding foods in saturated fat – found predominantly in fatty cuts of meat, butter and cheese – is paramount for managing cholesterol levels.
Foods that deliver the most soluble fibre, however, may offer the best chances of reducing bad cholesterol.
This is because soluble fibre will bind to cholesterol molecules and excrete them from the body before they’ve had the chance to enter the bloodstream.
A vegetarian diet, that emphasises soluble fibre, has been shown to substantially lower LDL, triglycerides and blood pressure.
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