Cholesterol is the main cause of diseases that claim the most lives in the world. We are talking about cardiovascular diseases. They account for more than half of all deaths.
FOOD CAN BE A MEDICINE
Any disease is easier to prevent than to cure, and it is in our power to prolong our life and maintain health by following some simple rules. The main risk of heart disease is high levels of so-called bad cholesterol in the blood. It settles on the walls of blood vessels, forming plaques that impede blood flow. You can lower the level of this substance in the blood by changing your dietary habits. For example, lovers of meat, cheeseburgers, and sausages eat fewer meat products, and when consuming meat itself, you need to choose healthier fats. Reducing consumption of saturated fats (found in meat and dairy products) and especially so-called trans fats has been shown in many studies to lower blood cholesterol by 5-10 percent or more.
TO WHAT LEVEL DO YOU NEED TO REDUCE BLOOD CHOLESTEROL?
For adults, the normal level of total cholesterol in the blood is not higher than 5.18 mmol l, for children not higher than 4.4 mmol l. It is believed that this level does not contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. But according to experts, there are many important details in the cholesterol problem. First of all, you need to understand that there are two cholesterol “bad” and “good”. The so-called low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) is referred to as “bad”. It is they that settle on the walls of blood vessels, forming cholesterol plaques and causing atherosclerosis. Triglycerides (fats) have the same effect. The “good” cholesterol is found in HDL high-density lipoprotein. They transfer this substance from plaque in blood vessels to the liver, where cholesterol is processed. Thus, HDL has a preventive or even curative effect. Another important detail is that there is no the same rate of cholesterol in the blood for everyone. This is associated with a different risk of developing heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases caused by atherosclerosis. The more likely they are to develop, the more you need to lower blood cholesterol levels.
FOUR EASY WAYS TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL WITH DIET
Choose so-called unsaturated fatty acids and avoid saturated and trans fats. Keep in mind: Unsaturated fats are usually found in vegetable oil and are good for the heart. Fish, nuts, seeds, kidney, beans, and some vegetables like avocados are also good sources of healthy fats. You need to cut back on foods rich in saturated fat. These are meat and dairy products. Trans fats are extremely harmful, it is better to refuse them completely. To do this, when buying products, pay attention to the composition: if it contains “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils”, then this is trans fat.
Eat more foods with soluble fiber. Their main sources are oatmeal and fruit. When combined with healthy unsaturated fat, these fibers can lower cholesterol levels.
Include plant foods with sterols and stanols in your diet. The level of cholesterol in the blood is reduced by 6-15 percent if the daily intake is 2-3 grams of plant stanols. These natural components of plant foods are antipodes to cholesterol. They lower the amount of cholesterol absorbed in the intestines, improving digestive health. Plant sterols and stanols are found in a variety of products, including spreads (in the form of additives), juices, and yogurts.
It is more correct to choose a diet, and not some kind of diet. We often “fall for” fashionable diets and follow them, as a rule, without consulting a doctor. This is a property of our psyche and consciousness.
But the fact is that diets are designed to solve some urgent problems and do not bring a stable result. They can even be harmful to health. The only surefire way to use food as medicine is to choose a varied, balanced diet that contains healthy foods, rather than jumping from one trendy diet to another. The diet must contain healthy fats, fiber, whole grains. The ideal option, combining fish and seafood, as well as olive oil as sources of unsaturated fatty acids, greens, and vegetables containing fiber, is the so-called Mediterranean diet. Thanks to it, the countries of this region have some of the lowest rates of cardiovascular disease in the world. To stick to it in Russia, you should not spend money on expensive products, just replace olive oil with rapeseed or vegetable spread with sterols, choose minimally processed cereals, and buy fish that is found in our northern seas it contains more omega-3 fatty acids The right diet plays a huge role in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It allows you to reduce many manifestations of diseases and, if not completely stop taking medications, then at least reduce their dosages.