In this article, we will answer the following questions:
– What is cholesterol and what does it mean to have high cholesterol?
– What is LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol?
– What are the high cholesterol foods that should be restricted?
– How to lower cholesterol by natural means (diet and healthy lifestyle).
What does having high cholesterol mean?
Cholesterol is a lipid generated internally by the liver, and that in itself is necessary for the proper functioning of certain hormones, digestive and body functions. There are two kinds of cholesterol or lipoprotein that shape its structure. The most popular is known as “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and “good cholesterol” (HDL). It is known that LDL cholesterol deposits in the arteries, thus increasing the different coronary risks, while HDL removes cholesterol from the arteries.
Hypercholesterolemia is diagnosed when levels of total cholesterol are over 240 mg/dl, or also when levels of LDL is above 130 mg/dl. Having also HDL below 35 mg/dl in men and 40 mg/dl in women poses also heart disease risk. Cholesterol is essential for our body. But high or very high levels can be very dangerous. Having high cholesterol, and not remedy to lower it puts you at risk for arteriosclerosis and eventually cardiovascular disease. In fact, having much bad cholesterol can increase the likelihood of suffering a stroke, heart disease, and other problems.
Also consider that people who are smoking, have high blood pressure, problems with both diabetes and obesity will be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of bad cholesterol.
What would be the consequences?
If after a blood analysis (lipid panel test), you have been diagnosed to have cholesterol above what is considered “normal” and do nothing to lower it, as time passes, consequences for your health can be quite dangerous. Namely:
Arteriosclerosis: due to obstruction of the veins because of cholesterol, restricting proper blood circulation both to our hearts as the rest of the body.
Stroke: due to the lack of blood supply to the brain. It is very dangerous because it can cause death.
Angina: due to lack of blood supply to part of the heart. It occurs especially when carrying out some sort of effort, gradually disappearing when resting.
Coronary heart disease: can result in a heart attack.
What foods are dangerous and need to be restricted? What causes high cholesterol?
There are some high cholesterol foods that are particularly harmful to our body by increasing levels of cholesterol in the blood. Basically, they are:
– Foods rich in saturated fats: red meat, lamb, pork, sausages (ham, bacon), burgers, crustaceans, animal lard.
– Bakery: Cupcakes, cakes, donuts and muffins, sweets, candies, and biscuits…
– Junk food in general: hamburgers.
– Salty snacks: especially chips, fried nuts, crackers …
– Whole milk products: whole milk, mature cheese, milk creams…also avoid butter and margarine.
– Certain sauces: such is the case with mayonnaise.
How to lower cholesterol naturally
Follow a healthy, natural and balanced diet
– Opt for especially for foods low in saturated fat or cholesterol.
– Avoid fried foods. It is better to opt for olive oil or other vegetable oils, such as soybean, sunflower or corn.
– Add to your diet foods rich in fiber, which will help to lower high cholesterol. Among these, there are cereals and whole grains, oats, rice, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
– Use skim milk instead of whole.
– Limit consumption of eggs to 3 or 4 per week.
Practice exercise regularly
Exercise is essential for enjoying good health. It also helps positively in maintaining our levels of blood fats at bay. Practice at least 40 minutes of exercise every day, especially emphasizing aerobic exercise because it slightly increases the heart rate: brisk or fast walking, running, swimming, cycling … Choose from your favorite, you will realize how quickly your LDL cholesterol was reduced significantly (also including triglycerides). Remember, the most important thing is not the intensity but the duration of the exercise.
Did you know that smoking, although it does not increase cholesterol levels, is able to reduce HDL (good cholesterol)? Therefore it is advisable to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke daily until completely eliminate it from your routine.
Are you overweight? Reduce it
When high cholesterol is accompanied by excess weight, a suitable option that helps very positively to reduce levels is to lose weight. We should note that obesity increases LDL cholesterol levels one hand, while on the other tends to reduce HDL cholesterol. A helpful option in reducing your weight is regular physical exercise, following a balanced diet low in calories, and eating fewer quantities of food a day (ie, eat fewer calories than you actually consume according to your daily physical activity).
How to raise good cholesterol HDL?
Opt especially for the following foods:
Oils: choose olive oil and sunflower oil in your diet, but without subjecting them to cooking to avoid losing their virtues and properties.
Nuts: eat each day a handful (3 oz maximum) of certain nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and peanuts (yes, natural and never fried).
Also practice regular exercise, which not only lowers bad LDL cholesterol but is also able to increase good cholesterol levels. As mentioned above, the best exercise is aerobic exercise.