In the sea of information pouring on our poor heads, sometimes it is very difficult to find a grain of truth … One of these controversial topics is cholesterol and the problems associated with its excessive levels in the blood. Cholesterol is used to frighten irresponsible citizens who are overweight and not particularly eager to part with it. Some products are either disgraced or rehabilitated … Let’s figure it out together in this difficult issue, identify foods that increase cholesterol, and decide how to compose your diet in order to protect yourself from atherosclerosis, heart disease and other ailments associated with excess cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a substance related to lipids, that is, fats. The name “cholesterol” comes from the fusion of two Greek words: chole (bile) and stero (hard, hard), as it was first found in gallstones in solid form. About ⅔ of cholesterol is produced by our liver, while the rest comes from food. “How so? – will exclaim any of those who are accustomed to consider cholesterol a terrible enemy. – Why is such a substance harmful to the body produced by the body itself in such quantities? ” The thing is that everything in our body is very finely tuned, and each substance in it plays its own important role. Cholesterol is a material for building cell membranes, which make up the walls and some of the components of cells. Being a constant component of the cellular content, cholesterol maintains a certain level of water in cells, transports various substances throughs cell membranes and even has the ability to bind some poisons, rendering them harmless. Cholesterol opens the chain of biosynthesis of sex hormones (progesterone, testosterone, estrogen), and also takes part in the synthesis of the hormone cortisone, which, in turn, plays an important role in metabolic processes and, in particular, vitamin D, which regulates the balance of calcium and phosphorus for normal bone function. With the help of cholesterol, the liver produces bile acids, which are necessary for the digestion of fats. Recent studies have shown that cholesterol for exampleYamu affects the mental capacity of a person and is also responsible for normal vision. Here are how many processes depend on cholesterol! It is an almost irreplaceable element. So why is cholesterol associated with atherosclerosis, cholesterol plaques and other troubles and dangers? It’s all about balance.
For a long time, cholesterol was unofficially divided into two categories – “good” and “bad”, but cholesterol itself cannot be considered harmful or useful, since everything depends on its environment. Cholesterol in its “pure” form cannot travel through the body, and lipoproteins help it in this – complexes of proteins and fats that carry cholesterol to all cells. Lipoprotein molecules have the same shape (ball), but differ in composition, density and size. They are divided into four categories: high molecular weighthigh density lipoproteins (HDL), low molecular weight low density lipoproteins (LDL), very low molecular weight very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), and chylomicrons. Low molecular weight lipoproteins are large, with chylomicrons being the largest of all. High molecular weight lipoproteins, on the other hand, are very dense and the smallest. And here’s the picture: large lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body, where he works “in his specialty”, and meLakes collect excess cholesterol and transport it to the liver, from where it is removed from the body. The main difference between high molecular weight lipoproteins and low molecular weight ones is their solubility. High molecular weight lipoproteins are highly soluble and are not prone to precipitation of cholesterol. That is why they are called “good” cholesterol. Large molecules of low molecular weight lipoproteins practically do not dissolve and easily release cholesterol, forming atherosclerotic plaques in the vessels. This is the very “bad” cholesterol.
If your body works like a clock, you don’t need to wait for any troubles from “bad” cholesterol. Even the “bad” cholesterol is necessary – it plays a leading role in the functioning of the immune system, including protecting against cancer and neutralizing bacteria and toxins. But it is worth knocking down the settings of Nature, as the work of all systems slowly goes wrong. What Happens to Cholesterol? Low-molecular-weight lipoproteins become much more than high-density lipoproteins, they cease to cope with their duties, excess cholesterol accumulates in the body, deposited on the walls of blood vessels, and what this threatens, perhaps everyone knows. This is a very simplified scheme, but the principle is clear …
One of the reasons for a malfunction in the system is often the excessive consumption of foods that cause a strong increase in blood cholesterol levels. On the vastness of the global network, you can find many different “black lists” of such products, but you can’t just take and stop eating, say, eggs just because their yolk contains cholesterol. After all, any product is good for our body (any healthy product, mind you!), The main thing is to approach your diet with intelligence and discretion. The same eggs, in addition to cholesterol, contain very useful lecithin, the lack of which is fraught with many troubles. Cholesterol fighters who have reached the point of fanaticism run the risk of developing sexual dysfunction and many other health problems. That is why it is important not so much to know the products that increase blood cholesterol, but to understand that overeating in general and the passion for all kinds of goodies in particular will never lead to any good.
So, let’s start compiling a list of foods that need to be limited if the tests show that not everything is in order with your cholesterol.
Meat products. Pork, lard, fatty beef and lamb, duck, goose, poultry skin, offal (kidney, liver, etc.), any sausage, smoked meats, minced meat – all these products and dishes from them should appear on your table extremely seldom. Let it be delicacies for the festive table, and not products for the preparation of the daily menu. Lean veal, beef, ham, bacon are not so harmful, but their amount should also be limited. The safest meat products in this regard are chicken and turkey without skin, hare, rabbit and game. Lean meat products should be consumed no more than 2-3 times a week. Give preference to meat cooked in water or steam, stewed or baked in the oven.
Fish and seafood. This is not to say that fish caviar, shrimp, squid, crabs, etc. are considered very harmful, but still they should not be abused, but sea fish, especially fatty ones, can be eaten at least every day. Fatty sea fish contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are extremely beneficial for our body. The recommendations for cooking fish dishes are the same as for meat – no golden brown crust, only boiling, stewing and baking.
Dairy. Unskimmed milk, sour cream, cream, fatty cheeses, condensed milk and ice cream should not be consumed by people with high blood cholesterol levels. But you do not need to completely abandon dairy and sour-milk products, just try to buy skimmed milk or low-fat milk (0.5-1%), 1 percent kefir, cottage cheese up to 5% fat, and instead of sour cream, use natural yogurt 1.5- 2% fat.
Eggs. If you have high blood cholesterol levels, egg yolk should either be completely discarded or eaten quite rarely. Egg white can be eaten no more than 2-3 times a week.
Vegetables and fruits. Here they can be eaten in any form and quantity. Of course, the consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits is preferable, but they can also be stewed with a minimum amount of oil or without it at all, baked, steamed or in water or deep-fried, in compliance with all the rules, in fresh oil – only then deep-fried foods can be easily equated with steamed foods. This statement does not in any way apply to fries from fast food restaurants!
Nuts and seeds. All nuts and seeds contain healthy fatty acids, so they can and should be eaten. Try not to buy roasted nuts and seeds, but dried ones. To improve the taste, the nuts can be soaked in clean cold water for a short time – they will become like fresh. Add nuts and seeds to salads, cottage cheese casseroles, and low-calorie desserts.
Soups. Rich, fatty soups and broths are not for you if your cholesterol tests are far from normal. Your choice is fish and vegetable broths and soups, and without any fries. When cooking meat or chicken broth, remove all fat – it is in it that the bulk of cholesterol is contained, cook chicken without skin. Do not season your first courses with sour cream.
Main courses and side dishes. Fried potatoes, fatty pilaf, naval pasta, stewed potatoes with meat – in general, all fatty and fried foods are prohibited. To lower your cholesterol levels, you will have to learn how to prepare your second course as harmlessly as possible. That is, your friend should be a steamer, oven, or a hybrid of all possible kitchen devices – a multicooker. Use as little oil as possible when preparing your main courses, and if you cannot do without it, add high quality extra virgin oils (such as olive oil). The best cereals for a side dish or second course can be oatmeal, buckwheat, brown or black rice, and legumes.
Oils. Reduce your consumption of butter, palm oil, and coconut oil as much as possible. Although there is no cholesterol in palm and coconut oil (this is understandable, they are vegetable oils!), Their excessive use can lead to obesity, and in this case, cholesterol cannot be normal. Choose vegetable oils of the first cold pressing (not refined!), Which it is advisable not to use for cooking, but to add to ready-made dishes. You can buy olive, soybean, peanut, sunflower, corn oil in any supermarket, but you can try and find exotic for the average Russian amaranth, hemp, sesame oil … “Live” oils are usually sold in healthy food departments or in raw food stores.
Confectionery and bakery products. Replace regular bread and loaf with wholemeal bread, bran or whole grains, buy or cook bread and crackers with rye flour more often, add sprouted grains or seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, poppy …) Ask for raw food recipes when loaves are prepared by slow drying at a temperature not exceeding 40 ° C. Store cakes, rolls, pastries and cookies are prohibited!
The drinks. It is undesirable to use coffee with cream, iced coffee, cappuccino, cocoa in milk, alcohol. Give preference to properly brewed tea without sugar, preferably green, natural fresh juices, mineral water, as well as pure drinking water without additives.
A separate conversation about industrial mayonnaise, ketchup and other sauces, margarine and other trans fats, all kinds of chips, salty nuts for beer, chocolate bars, convenience foods and fast food. And this conversation is very short – let’s say to all this chemistry a resounding “NO!”
In summary, cholesterol-raising foods are foods high in saturated fat. As a matter of fact, all recommendations are reduced to the principles of healthy eating. If the level of cholesterol in the blood exceeds normal levels, it is proper nutrition that can be an excellent alternative to medications. Finally, a few numbers, you can see them on a leaflet with a blood test for cholesterol:
• 5 mmol / l or less is the optimal indicator of blood cholesterol levels;
• 5 – 6.4 mmol / l – slightly increased level;
• 6.5 – 7.8 mmol / l – the level of cholesterol in the blood is close to critical;
• 7.8 mmol / L and above – your life is in danger.
Risk factors associated with high blood cholesterol levels include obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, heredity, and poor diet. Everything, except, perhaps, heredity, can be changed, you just need to pull yourself together. Take care of yourself.
Eat varied and healthy, and be healthy!