Reduce Cholesterol and Improve Your Heart Health
You’ve probably heard many times about how dangerous high blood cholesterol levels are for our arteries and how it is the main threat to our vascular health. Still, the truth is that it is necessary for our bodies, and we don’t have to see it as an undesirable substance on its own.
Cholesterol is essential for the proper functioning of our body. It is a structural component of cell membranes and is the primary material for the production of sex and adrenal hormones, as well as bile, which is necessary for the digestion of fats, and a precursor of vitamin D.
There is endogenous cholesterol that our body produces and exogenous cholesterol that we ingest with food. Dietary cholesterol is present in animal fats such as red meat, sausages, butter, cream, pastries, and cakes.
There are Two Types of Cholesterol
LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol: low-density lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to blood cells and can oxidize and damage them, causing atherosclerosis.
HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) or good cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins transport cholesterol from the peripheral cells to the liver.
Values above 250 mg in blood cholesterol trigger atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, and cerebrovascular disease. To reduce the risk, it is necessary to lower the level of total cholesterol (the sum of LDL and HDL cholesterol) and increase the level of antioxidants in the blood: vitamins A, C, and E.
To reduce the cholesterol rate, it is essential to give up certain food groups and replace them with healthier ones.
Foods Best Avoided
Red meats are beef, lamb, and pork, as well as crustacean shellfish such as prawns, shrimps or lobsters, which contain twice as much cholesterol as meat.
Butter and bacon are among the most harmful fats to our arteries’ health.
Margarine is made with vegetable oils, which could make us think that it is healthier. The truth is that these seed oils are submitted to industrial processes of hydrogenation to make them semi-solid.
Cured cheeses contain saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, three substances that are harmful to the arteries.
Industrial cakes and buns contain refined sugars that are harmful and hydrogenated fatty acids such as margarine, which increase cholesterol and promote arteriosclerosis.
Chocolate is a great enemy of our arteries and our liver. Its fat increases our cholesterol levels.
Foods That Should be Consumed
A diet rich in fruit improves the blood supply of our tissues.
Legumes rich in protein, carbohydrates, and low in saturated fat and sodium.
Wholemeal cereals. Atherosclerosis seems to be related to diets rich in refined flours: pastries, white bread, and cakes. It is better to substitute these foods for others made with wholemeal flours.
Like fruits, vegetables are essential for the well-being of our organism.
Nuts provide unsaturated fatty acids that reduce the level of cholesterol and vitamin E with antioxidant action, thus preventing arteriosclerosis.
Raw garlic is an effective blood fat remover, as well as containing many other properties.
Replacing animal fats with seed or olive oil reduces the production of cholesterol in the body.
Vegetable kinds of milk from soy, oats, rice, and almonds do not contain any cholesterol.
Tofu and avocado reduce cholesterol levels. Avocado also contains vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
Wholemeal pastries, as long as they are not made with hydrogenated fats.
It is necessary to point out that trying to lower the cholesterol level by drugs or diets alone is not enough to avoid cardiovascular diseases.
If you are a smoker, have a diet rich in fat and deficient in fruits and vegetables, do not practice any sport, and your stress level is excessive, you should consider changing your lifestyle.