High Cholesterol: How to Reduce it with Foods

Nowadays, there is much talk of cholesterol, saturated and all those fat related conditions. This is certainly due to the fact that the cholesterol topic is quite complex. It is thus important contribute to its vulgarization.

What is cholesterol

Cholesterol is a crystalline substance that belongs to the group of steroids. It is a lipid – fat insoluble in water. It is found naturally in our body, since cholesterol is needed to carry out all our vital functions properly. It is present in the brain, liver, nerves, blood and bile both human and animals. So it has always been said to reduce our cholesterol levels should avoid taking food of animal origin.

The liver produces 80% of the total cholesterol and the other 20% comes from the diet. Cholesterol is involved in metabolic, hormonal, digestive and nervous processes. It is transported from the liver to the cells by proteins called lipoproteins. The cells use what they need and the rest remains in the bloodstream waiting for other lipoproteins to take it back to the liver.

The lipoproteins that transport from the liver to the tissues are LDL (low density lipoprotein), known as “bad cholesterol”. The HDL (high density lipoprotein) or “good cholesterol” is responsible for removing excess cholesterol from the blood and tissues to return it back to the liver. And so it goes fulfilling a cycle that is balanced if it works.
All this balance can be broken when the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream exceeds the amount of HDL to pick it up. So this is where cholesterol sticks to the walls of the arteries forming plaque, clogging and jamming the arterial duct – pathology known as arteriosclerosis, which leads directly to many health problems.

The blood cholesterol level established as normal “safe” is 200 mg/dl (HDL + LDL + 20% Triglycerides), when 200 mg/dl is exceeded there is an increased risk of heart disease. The risk becomes too high when exceeding 240 mg/dl. Within these total cholesterol values, the ​​relationship between HDL/LDL is fundamental. If the level of HDL in blood is less than 35 mg/dl, there is actually increased cardiovascular risk despite having total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl. As HDL levels decrease, the higher the risk of cardiovascular problems. The ideal values ​​of HDL in the blood are between 50 and 60 mg/dl.

Dietary guidelines to reduce high cholesterol

– The consumption of fiber is essential, particularly because soluble fiber binds to fats and removes directly through feces. This type of fiber is found in legumes, oat, barley and fruits such as apples. Oat bran and brown rice are the most recommended to lower cholesterol. Fruit, vegetables and whole grain cereals in general should be consumed daily to reduce cholesterol.
– You must use cold pressed and unrefined vegetable oils, such as olive oil and soybean oil. They are rich in essential fatty acids that reduce levels of LDL and thin the blood. Never heat the olive oil over 190.
– Increase your consumption of blue fish like salmon, sardines and tuna.
– Consider eating raw nuts in moderation.
– Limit alcohol, sugary drinks intake.
– Moderate coffee consumption because it increases the risk of heart disease if consumed excessively.
– Avoid eating sweets, candies and white and sugary chocolates.
– Stop smoking.
– Avoid stressful situations.
– Perform exercises daily and regularly.
– Stay away from drugs alter the ratio of LDL and HDL. Read drugs facts label carefully.
– To limit the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, your diet should not include:
* fatty meats, sausages, pork;
* margarine, lard, mayonnaise and butter because they have hydrogenated fats that clog arteries;
* whole milk: cheeses are especially rich in saturated fats closely related to obesity, overweight, cardiovascular disease, etc…
* nondairy creamers substitutes rich in coconut or palm oils because they are highly saturated.

Foods high in cholesterol that should be avoided

– brains of animals
– caviar
– organ meats: liver, kidney, heart, foie gras
– pastries: croissants, muffins,
– butters, mayonnaise and creams,
– prawns, shrimps and crayfish (in their heads)
– more high cholesterol foods to limit can be found on Cholesterol Menu.

Exercise Improves Cholesterol Levels Even Without Weight Loss

Maintaining adequate levels cholesterol is important for the health of persons and prevent cardiovascular events. Exercise is essential to keep in shape, lose kilos and lower the level of bad cholesterol.

As reported in ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’ a group of doctors from Duke University (UK) recently concluded that heavy exercise has a positive effect in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol (the called LDL cholesterol or low density lipoproteins) [source].

Even Without Weight Loss

This paper explains that, in the case of people who do little exercise (the equivalent of running 20 miles a week) the benefits of the activity are independent of the intensity with which it is done (might as well go the distance in 10 minutes or 20). In any case, some exercise is better than nothing. However,it is clear that more intense exercise has more positive advantages for lowering cholesterol.

Cholesterol adheres to the surface of some proteins to circulate in human blood and nourish the tissue. The new particles are created from the union of cholesterol and protein, are called lipoproteins. In the human body when there is excess lipoproteins, in other words when your cholesterol levels are not normal, there is an increased risk of coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis [reference].

The study explains that cholesterol ‘moves’ through the blood through small and dense LDL particles as well as larger LDL particles. The small and dense ones are more dangerous than the larger particles. The findings of this study show that exercise increases the number and size of the particles ‘transport’ cholesterol through the blood fluid; so that, added “any exercise is better than nothing”.

Anything is Better than Nothing

In fact, among the 84 sedentary and overweight subjects, those who did no physical activity showed a worsening in their cholesterol levels as compared with to those that practiced sport. All those that were doing some kind of activity, regardless of the amount or intensity, had more advantages than passive subjects. They were divided into three groups according to the levels of exercise practiced: plenty of exercise (32 Km) / high intensity, moderate exercise (19.2 Km) / high intensity or little exercise (19.2 Km) performed with moderate / low intensity.

According to the director of the study, Dr. William Kraus, the guidelines recently issued by various US about government agencies (such as the ‘Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’ and their own ‘National Academy of Science’) “are based on opinions and consensus, rather than the actual results of these clinical studies. “

Due to the effects of exercise on the size of said particles, Kraus warns that inactivity lags behind smoking as a major cardiovascular risk factor. It therefore recommends that doctors put the emphasis not so much that patients lose weight and do exercise to reduce their risk.

This is the first work that stands to be gained benefits of exercise in reducing cholesterol and fats is achieved regardless of whether or not losing weight. Physical activity achieves a gradual response in a number of variables that favor the reduction of lipids. It is also important to follow a healthy diet plan in addition to exercising to manage cholesterol. To learn more about how to plan a working low cholesterol diet, I recommend you to read this.

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