Diet for high cholesterol: be careful what you bring to the table
Diet for high cholesterol: how does it work and what role does nutrition play in fighting hypercholesterolemia?
This pathology can have a dietary and a genetic component (in some cases both). In fact, it is estimated that in the last 30 years, the average cholesterol values have increased by 5% in both men and women. In addition, the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia increased from 20 to 35% in men and from 24 to 37% in women.
The causes are not only food but must be read in a lifestyle that is certainly more sedentary and less healthy. Nutrition has an influence of 10-15%, with peaks of 30% in some cases, on cholesterolemia. If you do not want to jeopardize your health, therefore, it is important to learn about which foods are allowed and which are forbidden to bring to the table.
The most suitable food programs for this purpose are the Mediterranean diet and its “international” declination, the Dash diet, characterized by high consumption of legumes, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, olive oil and from a low intake of red meats and cheeses, suggests the expert Dr Francesco Macrì.
The importance of diet and food to bring to the table
About 80% of cholesterol is endogenous, that is, it is produced by our body, while 20% is exogenous and comes from the diet. This is why it is essential to check what you eat and what you bring to the table. The first rule to follow at the table is to limit products rich in cholesterol, bearing in mind that a healthy person should not introduce more than 300 milligrams a day of this nutrient.
Diet for high cholesterol: the importance of nutrition.
Nutrition plays a key role in all forms of hypercholesterolemia. In fact, in cases of the strong impact of the diet on blood cholesterol values, correcting the diet becomes the first therapy to follow. Add to this the fact that staying active is just as therapeutic. In fact, playing sports, overcoming a sedentary lifestyle, not consuming alcohol and not smoking guarantee a very important plus, not to be underestimated. Eating well, healthy and balanced, cannot be neglected. In fact, this aspect of lifestyle affects especially the waistline.
What not to bring to the table to combat high cholesterol, No to snacks, snacks and sweets
The most harmful elements of all are saturated trans fats, i.e. those contained in margarine, hydrogenated oils, refined vegetable oils, saturated vegetable oils (palm and rapeseed), nuts and processed foods (such as snacks, sweets, frankfurters, cold cuts, chips, fried, frozen breaded products, soup preparations). In fact, they increase the level of LDL cholesterol, the so-called “bad cholesterol”, which contributes to the formation, inside the blood vessels, of atherosclerotic plaques, which hinder circulation and increase the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, a reduction in the consumption of trans fats is associated with an increase in HDL cholesterol, which is instead “good”, as it transports LDL cholesterol to the liver, where it is eliminated. Because of this,
No to meat and cheese
In fact, we must also pay attention to saturated fats in general, mainly contained in
animal products and, in particular, in red meat, in fatty meat, in offal, in fatty and aged cheeses.
The reason? They contribute to the raising of bad cholesterol, in addition, to causing other damage to health: just think that the intake of 100 g more per day of red meat and 100 g more of processed meat (such as cured meats and sausages) is able to increase the risk of stroke by 10 and 13%. According to the guidelines for a healthy diet, the intake of saturated fatty acids must be less than 10% of the total energy, 7% in case of hypercholesterolemia. Going back to the 2000 calorie diet example, this equates to about 20-22g per day (15g for those with high cholesterol). As for dairy products, it is better to favour skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, yoghurt with a low percentage of fat and fresh and low-fat cheeses, such as ricotta, milk, first salt. These foods are also important for reaching the daily requirement of calcium, equal to 1,000-1,2000 mg, which has a positive role on the health of the skeleton and represents a protective factor against stroke.
Yes to olive oil and fish
Unsaturated fats, on the contrary, are beneficial as they lower the cholesterol level and protect the cardiovascular system. “In detail, in a standard diet, it is good to introduce, based on your energy needs, at least 20-40 g per day, equal to about 2-4 tablespoons, of extra virgin olive oil, better raw, which has an excellent impact on health and at least 2 portions (about 150 g each) a week of fresh fish, rich in omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, beneficial substances on several levels ». Prefer, if possible, blue and fatty fish, therefore, anchovies, anchovies, sardines, skipjack, cod, mackerel, salmon. And the eggs? It is true that they contain cholesterol, but they are also rich in good acids and noble proteins: in principle, those who are healthy can eat 2 to 4 of them a week.