Diet is one of the factors that is in our hands and we can modify to help optimize our cholesterol levels . In general, dietary recommendations are provided in order to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. And in this sense, the Mediterranean diet is a favorable dietary pattern, to include foods such as legumes, olive oil, blue fish and nuts among others. But how does diet influence cholesterol ?
- How to lower cholesterol? Essential nutrients
- How to lower cholesterol? Proposal of menu
How to lower cholesterol? Essential nutrients
- The quantity and quality of the fat that we ingest through the diet has special relevance in the cardiovascular health. In general, it is necessary to control the consumption of total fat , and in particular to reduce the foods in which the saturated fat predominates. It is important to know what type of fats are more or less healthy. We can distinguish three groups:
- Saturated fat
- Promotes the increase of LDL (or bad) cholesterol. We will find it mainly in foods of animal origin such as meats (especially in fatty cuts), sausages, eggs, whole milk products and derivatives (especially fatty cheeses, cream, milk cream and butter), and some vegetable oils such as coconut, palm or peanut.It must be said that the effect of the egg on plasma cholesterol has been studied in recent times, and results have been obtained that have changed the bad reputation of this food. The conclusion is that, in healthy people, the consumption of a daily egg does not modify cholesterol levels significantly, although interpersonal aspects should also be taken into account. For those people who already have a certain cardiovascular risk, a moderate consumption of 3-4 weekly buds is recommended. The egg white contains no fat, so you do not have to limit your intake. Not all foods have visible fat such as serrano ham and steaks. There are many products with a high fraction of hidden fat. That is why it is fundamentalread the labels of packaged foods , to know their contribution in total fat, and of this, how much is saturated. For example, there are many manufactured products that we find in the supermarket that still contain palm oil, rich in saturated fats that, among other effects, favors the increase of cholesterol levels, and, therefore, has negative effects on health cardiovascular. It is used for its low cost and today is still very present in bakery products, pastry, precooked dishes, and many other foods. In addition, many of them also usually contain also important amounts of salt and sugar.
- Trans fat
- They are obtained from oils of vegetable origin, which undergo a process called “hydrogenation” in order to thicken them, and move from a liquid to a more solid state to provide certain consistency to certain processed foods. They can be identified in the labeling under the name hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats . They are not considered healthy fats because their effect is similar to that of saturated ones because their habitual consumption contributes to increase LDL cholesterol levels.These fats are usually present in cookies, microwave popcorn, pastry and industrial bakery, candy, salty snacks (chips, bark, etc …) and sweets, ice cream, sauces, empanadillas, pizzas, lasagna, fried fish, etc., and good part of products included in the fast-food family. Although it must be said that the food industry has contributed a lot in recent years to reduce the presence of this type of fat in processed foods. This type of fat is considered cardiosaludable, since with an adequate consumption it favors the lipid profile in blood. Within this group we find the monounsaturated fats (olive oil, olives, avocado) and polyunsaturated fats(nuts, seed oils, blue fish). It is advisable to take blue fish 2-3 times a week and cook with olive oil.
- The fiber
- It helps reduce cholesterol levels, especially soluble fiber. It is essential to follow a diet that guarantees adequate daily fiber intake. One way to do this is to take 2 servings of vegetables daily (lunch and dinner), 3 servings of fruit (distributed throughout the day), cereals and bread in their wholemeal varieties, add nuts in some meals or snacks, and consume 2 or more times per week of legumes.
- Plant sterols
- They are natural components present in the vegetable world (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, cereals, legumes), with a structure analogous to that of cholesterol. At the intestinal level, they are able to inhibit their absorption, contributing to the reduction of blood cholesterol. For a long time, foods fortified in plant sterols have been commercialized.
- A high intake of simple sugars has been associated with a reduction in HDL or good cholesterol and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Do not forget that sugar is present in a multitude of foods and refreshing beverages. It is worth taking a small look at the labels of the containers, as it may surprise us the amount of sugar contained in many products.
How to lower cholesterol? Proposal of menu
- Toasted bread with tomato and hummus or avocado
- 1 glass of skimmed milk
- 1 piece of fruit
- 20 g of nuts (ex: 3-4 nuts)
- Unique dish: Lentil salad with tuna
- Olive oil
- 1 piece of fruit
- 1 skimmed yogurt with 1 piece of fruit and 1 tablespoon of oat flakes
- Pumpkin puree with leeks and potatoes
- Grilled chicken with lemon
- 1-2 slices of whole grain bread
- Olive oil
- 1 skimmed yogurt
Isabel López – Bachelor of Science and Technology of Food – Diploma in Human Nutrition and Dietetics – Consultant Nutritionist of Advance Medical
At DKV we want to raise awareness about childhood obesity and improve healthy habits since childhood to achieve and maintain an ideal weight among other goals .