The cholesterol: nowadays everybody knows what is cholesterol and the risks related to a high level of cholesterol in blood. Journals, books and television programs talk about cholesterol, in this post I’ll try to make clear the big amount of information available everywhere.
Firstly, not all blood cholesterol is “bad”, in fact we can have LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol, or good cholesterol. The former contributes to deposits that can clog arteries and make them less flexible and if a clot blocks an artery, the result could be a heart attack or a stroke. The latter, on the contrary, works as a scavenger and helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries.
Journals and doctors agree: what is really important is the ratio between total cholesterol and good cholesterol and not just total cholesterol. This ratio should have a value below 5 in men and below 4 in women. For this reason, if I have a value of 280 for what concerns total cholesterol but 100 for good cholesterol, my situation is better than that of somebody with total cholesterol 190 but good cholesterol 40, since in the first case the ratio total cholesterol/HDL is 2,8 while in the second case it is 4,75…
The most of the cholesterol in blood is produced but the liver and just a little part comes from food, but right choices in your nutrition and in your lifestyle are able to fight against bad effects of cholesterol and also prevent possible damages.
What do I mean with right choices of nutrition? First of all food that you should avoid in order to limit the food contribution to LDL amount, and last but not least food that you should prefer in order to reduce the ratio total cholesterol /HDL.
In this post I’ll not talk at length about what we had better to avoid, for example smoking or having a sedentary lifestyle, or food that we should not eat, such as sausages, cheeses or sweets, since the topic’s been debated everywhere, on TV or books as well as scientific journals. On the contrary in this post I’ll focus the attention on another important point: what it is useful and necessary to do in order to control the cholesterol.
First of all, keep fit, move, run or walk. Or you can also decide to avoid taking the lift and prefer to take the stairs! These choices help you not only to control your weight but also to increase the levels of good cholesterol in blood. Then, if you can, try to take some time for you, spend this time to relax because stress is able to increase the levels of bad cholesterol.
Now it’s time to talk about nutrition tips against cholesterol. If you have discovered to have too high cholesterol and you think that until now you should only eat only row carrots , ok, have a look at this post and you’ll change your mind. In fact, you’ll read that a healthy nutrition can also be tasty.
What it is important to underline is that the effects of a healthy diet can be observed in a long period of time while when you take an anti-cholesterol drug your level of cholesterol will decrease in a couple of days but… healthy diet does not have collateral effects! For this reason, remember this: change your lifestyle and diet and do not rush, wait and you’ll see the effects. Another consideration about the importance of a healthy diet is that the effects are not only limited to the cholesterol controlling but you can also have benefits for what concerns the control of blood sugar or inflammation in body.
You should prefer food rich in fatty acids omega 3: I’m speaking about bluefish and salmon, flaxseed that you can add to your cup of soy yogurt or of fruit salad, walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds, but I’m speaking also about the wonderful chia seeds.
Chia seeds are very small but rich in calcium. Moreover, they are able to control the level of sugar in blood and, this is very important, can also control the amount of cholesterol because they lower bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol. How is it possible to eat chia seeds? For example, you can add a spoon full of chia to the cup of breakfast soy yogurt or to a slice of bread with a little oil, tomatoes and some leaves of basil. But you can also mix the chia seeds in juices, such as cranberry or pomegranate juices, then you should just wait for a couple of hours and the result is a tasty jelly for breakfast or as a dessert.
An anti-cholesterol diet should not forget soy: soy milk, soy yogurt, tofu or soy beans for soups. All these products are able to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol.
In the first part of the post I’ve written that in case of high cholesterol it would be better to avoid cheeses…but there is an exception. If you love cheese I have a wonderful piece of news: it has been demonstrated that pecorino with conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is able to control cholesterol. This is supported by a scientific research performed by the Department of biomedical science of the University of Cagliari, Asl 8, Brotzu Hospital and University of Pisa in collaboration with Argiolas Cheese Factory. So, if you are hungry and want to have a sneak, why not a piece of special CLA cheese?
Then, do not forget Oolong tea or Pu erh tea, a red tea very important and efficient if you have a cholesterol problem because it can decrease blood cholesterol. Another important drink in case of high cholesterol is represented by green tea. Green tea is supposed to be able to lower total and bad LDL cholesterol, as claimed by a study published on the Journal of the American Dietetic Association by US researches of the Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California.
Then, eat a high daily intake of fresh fruit, row vegetables and whole grains, because they contain a lot of fibers, able to absorb LDL cholesterol. So, eat whole wheat pasta, or whole grain spelt or kamut pasta, whole grains such as oat for breakfast, and all kinds of fruit. In particular, a study performed by the Sao Paulo State University in 2010 has demonstrated that orange juice and more in general orange is able to lower cholesterol.
And if you want to take a supplement, try to take krill oil pearls: krill is an artic shellfish. From krill it is possible to extract an oil, krill oil, rich in omega 3 able to help in case of strong stress or pain, lower the ratio total cholesterol/HDL by increasing the levels of HDL cholesterol in blood.
So, as you have seen, cholesterol can be fought with the help of a healthy diet, by preferring plates that can increase HDL cholesterol and at the same time decrease LDL cholesterol!