You must have heard or at least heard about the importance of blood cholesterol. But do you know what cholesterol is?
Cholesterol is a molecule found in all body cells and cell membranes. It is required for the organism to function normally as it participates in many metabolic processes.
It is important for:
- brain function,
- bile acid production,
- production of sex hormones and
- Adrenal hormones.
- Cholesterol is introduced into the body by food and, as needed, is generated in the liver.
👉🏻HDL And LDL Cholesterol – One Is Good One Is Bad
There are two types of cholesterol:
HDL Cholesterol: Represents high-density particles. It is known as good, protective cholesterol.
LDL Cholesterol: Represents low-density particles. It is known as harmful (bad) cholesterol.
Admittedly, total elevated cholesterol may not be bad for health. It all depends on the ratio, ie the levels of good and bad cholesterol.
Good Cholesterol Deficiency (HDL) can:
- increase the risk of some cancers,
- badly affect liver health
- reduce serotonin levels – a neurotransmitter responsible for a good mood.
In some cases, especially when it comes to damage and inflammation, bad cholesterol is deposited in the blood vessel walls, and in the organs – clumps or plaques are created. They narrow the diameter of the arteries and reduce their elasticity. Therefore, atherosclerosis may develop and the risk of heart attack and stroke may increase.
When bad LDL cholesterol levels are high, triglyceride levels are often elevated, further increasing the risk of these diseases.
There is still a lot you need to know about cholesterol, but let’s get back to the diet.
👉🏻Boiled or fried: think twice
For high cholesterol, eat more cooked foods. A healthy diet involves consuming a variety of foods.
You should definitely choose fresh, healthy, and naturally (environmentally) grown foods, and avoid all industrially processed foods. Such foods contain additives and lots of salt, sugar, and refined fats. This is especially true of preserves, cured meats, and baked goods, biscuits, cakes, cakes, sweets, candies, etc. In addition to being fat, they stimulate inflammatory processes in the body.
Eating with high cholesterol can be easy. It’s just important to be consistent and consume the right foods. For the sake of health and weight loss, try to reduce portions of meals – one serving should be the size of a palm outstretched. Prefer raw or steamed cooked foods, and avoid frying.
Foods that contain a lot of cholesterol and should at least initially reduce fatty meat, dairy products, offal, and eggs.
Much better sources of valuable protein are lean meat (especially poultry) and fish (mostly blue).
👉🏻Avoid uncontrolled snacking and the desire for sweet
Snacking in bed has never been or will be a healthy option.
To avoid eating snacks often, include complex carbohydrates and fiber with some protein (whole grains and legumes) in your diet. They provide a longer-lasting sense of satiety, so we won’t be eating food soon after a meal.
You can quench your craving for natural desserts like fruits and those sweetened with healthier versions of sweeteners like honey, stevia, and coconut sugar.
We need to be careful with dried fruit as it contains a lot of sugar. Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables contain many valuable compounds.
Among them are:
- Soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Soluble fibers help to reduce the absorption of harmful substances, including cholesterol.
- Antioxidants. They prevent the oxidation of good LDL cholesterol
- Sterols. Responsible for regulating blood cholesterol levels.
All these compounds can be found in abundance in fruits, vegetables, nuts, cereals, and legumes. Beans and soy are especially recommended for legumes. Soy can be consumed in a variety of ways: in grain, medallions, flakes, or the form of beverages.
Onions, garlic, kale buds, artichokes, apples, pears, plums, avocados, pomegranates, etc. are generally considered to be particularly valuable foods.
👉🏻Do you have to eat whole grains in their original form?
For high cholesterol foods rich in vitamin C and beta carotene are recommended.
The most common foods are:
- Vitamin C: berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, pineapple, cabbage, green leafy vegetables, oranges, peppers, tomatoes…
- Beta carotene: green leafy vegetables, cabbage, carrots, spinach, peaches, apricots, melons…
Try to consume whole grains as often as possible that contain:
- Complex carbohydrates. Mostly integral oats, barley, rye, brown rice, corn
- Pseudožitarice. Millet, quinoa, amaranth.
If you are wondering how to use cereals, this is at least very simple. For example, you can use corn in the form of flour, cereals or cornflakes, and oats in the form of flour, flakes, porridge, oatmeal or bran, and as an addition to beverages.
👉🏻There are also healthy fats! Increase their intake
Although you have high cholesterol, consuming healthy fats is recommended. A healthy diet should also include fats such as cold-pressed oils: olive oil, pumpkin oil, linseed oil, hemp oil.
Industrial fats such as margarine and various refined oils should be avoided. With regard to natural saturated fats (coconut and palm oil, animal fats) it should be moderate.
Some seeds and nuts contain quality fats and other useful compounds. Like flax flour and flax oil, chia seeds, Psyllium husks, almonds, hazelnuts, nuts, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and pistachios.
It is recommended that apple cider vinegar, green and black tea, and probiotics such as kombucha and kefir be included in the diet.
Nutritional supplements can help lower omega fatty acids such as red rice, beta-carotene, and vitamin C when lowering elevated levels of bad cholesterol.
👉🏻What to do other than stick to the diet?
Due to high cholesterol, you need to be as active as possible.
Elevated cholesterol is caused by poor lifestyle habits such as poor diet and inactivity, then hereditary factors, high blood pressure, and exposure to harmful substances such as nicotine.
The good news is that cholesterol levels are variable and can be affected. In most cases, the fight against bad cholesterol will not require medication – there is much we can do on our own to change our habits.
We should minimize stress. Regular exercise and physical activity, especially walking, running, cycling, and swimming, are very helpful.
Some, unfortunately, should avoid or reduce their intake of coffee, alcohol, and stop smoking altogether. Also, it will not help if you lose weight.
Cholesterol care is a lifelong process. See your doctor regularly and try to stick to a healthy diet as much as possible.