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Elevated blood cholesterol levels may increase risk of breast cancer in women

New studies indicate link between elevated cholesterol and breast cancer

High blood cholesterol

Breast cancer in woman is a real matter of concern. Though a cure for the same is still a distant dream, but there are certain things that one can do to reduce the risk of being a victim of the same. In a significant discovery, scientists have found a link between high blood cholesterol and breast cancer in a study of more than one million patients over a 14 year time period in Britain. 'Our preliminary study suggests that women with high cholesterol in their blood may be at a greater risk of getting breast cancer,' said Rahul Potluri, founder of the Algorithm for Comorbidities, Associations, Length of stay and Mortality (ACALM) study. It raises the possibility of preventing breast cancer with statins, which lowers cholesterol, he added. (Also read to know if you are at the risk of developing breast cancer.)

The researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of more than one million patients across Britain between 2000 and 2013. There were 664,159 women and of these, 22,938 had hyperlipidaemia and 9,312 had breast cancer. Some 530 women with hyperlipidaemia developed breast cancer. The researchers found that having hyperlipidaemia increased the risk of breast cancer by 1.64 times.'We found that women with high cholesterol had a significantly greater chance of developing breast cancer. This was an observational study so we can't conclude that high cholesterol causes ffjbreast cancer but the strength of this association warrants further investigation,' Potluri said.

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The research was presented Friday at 'Frontiers in CardioVascular Biology (FCVB) 2014' seminar in Barcelona, Spain. (Read: How to reduce cholesterol levels naturally?)

What is cholesterol?

Just like the fat you have in your body, cholesterol is also a fat/ lipid that is produced in the liver, and its normal levels are necessary for the proper functioning of the body.

Why is it harmful?

When cholesterol levels are in the normal range, in a healthy body, the blood flows freely through the veins and arteries. When the cholesterol levels are high, it starts forming clots (or plaque) in your blood vessels causing hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular diseases.

Foods to beat cholesterol

Once you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you will need to make some lifestyle changes, staring with your eating habits. Here are some foods you can eat to beat cholesterol.

Oats

Oats are a rich source of fibre that contains beta glucan; this fibre is of the soluble variety and has the capacity to bind cholesterol circulating in the blood. This binding facilitates the excretion of cholesterol from the body and therefore, if you are looking at reducing your cholesterol levels, it makes sense to consume oats on a regular basis. An intake of about 5 grams of soluble fiber in a day can help cut LDL "bad" cholesterol by almost 5 percent. The best thing about oats is that it can be worked into Indian dishes if you don't like taking it in the form of porridge. When preparingkhichadi, pongal or dosa batter, substitute oats for a small part of the rice and you have food that is filling as well as good for reducing cholesterol levels. (Also read: 5 reasons to start eating oats today)

Garlic

With its rich store of sulphur-containing antioxidants, garlic plays an important role in regulating the cholesterol levels. Not only can it reduce the LDL cholesterol, studies have shown that a regular consumption of fresh garlic can also help boost levels of the "good" HDL cholesterol. Sprinkle a little freshly peeled and chopped raw garlic onto your salad dressings, work it into your sandwich or use it to garnish soups, dal or rasam and you have a tasty dish that is healthy, too. (Also read: 15 health benefits of garlic)

Soybean oil and corn oil

Plant oils such as soybean oil and corn oil contain plant sterols or phytosterols; these have the ability to prevent your body from absorbing the cholesterol that is naturally present in the foods you eat. These sterols and stanols are also found in several vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, legumes and seeds and adding these to your diet can help reduce levels of LDL and total cholesterol. Besides, it has also been found that these compounds enhance the cholesterol-lowering effects of statin drugs that are generally prescribed to combat high cholesterol levels. Read more about Cholesterol control mega guide all you need to know to prevent heart disease

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