These good dietary changes that lower cholesterol levels
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These good dietary changes that lower cholesterol levels

Although foods high in dietary cholesterol are unlikely to have a significant effect on high cholesterol, foods high in saturated fats should be avoided. Cholesterol helps the body perform many important functions, including helping to form hormones and build cells. The liver produces cholesterol that the body uses, but you can also eat foods that contain this substance.

There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). When too much LDL cholesterol builds up in the blood, it can cause plaques to form in the arteries. This can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The diet can be modified to help lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. This article looks at the relationship between dietary cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels. It also looks at how a person can lower cholesterol levels by changing their diet. Finally, it lists foods to eat and avoid to lower cholesterol levels.

Diet cholesterol level and blood cholesterol level

High levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood can increase a person’s risk of heart disease (CVD). Although the liver produces cholesterol for use by the body, individuals can also find cholesterol in the foods they eat. This is called dietary cholesterol.

According to a 2019 article, health experts previously believed that a high intake of dietary cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Until recently, public health guidelines recommended limiting dietary cholesterol to 300 milligrams (mg) per day.

To help lower your blood cholesterol levels, reduce your intake of foods that contain saturated fats. Saturated fats affect how the liver processes cholesterol, which may raise levels of LDL in the blood.

How can you lower your cholesterol level through your diet?

Dietary cholesterol has only a minimal effect on blood cholesterol levels. However, some health organizations still recommend limiting dietary cholesterol to no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. Many foods that are high in dietary cholesterol, such as red meat and other animal foods, tend to be high in saturated fat. This may contribute to the confusion that has existed until now about the effect of dietary cholesterol on cholesterol levels.

However, a good diet includes:

fruits
vegetables
vegetable oils
all grains
Seeds
Lean protein sources
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products
hazelnut

In general, eat more high-fiber foods, such as beans, oats, and vegetables. Also eat foods rich in unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocados, and nuts or seeds.

Foods to avoid

Above all, cut back on foods that are high in saturated fats. Foods that are high in saturated fat include:

Red meat
High-fat dairy products
Bacon, sausage, and other processed meats
Baked goods that contain large amounts of butter, such as cakes
Charcuterie products.

Are there any specific diets one can follow?

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the Mediterranean diet are low in cholesterol.

Dash diet

The DASH diet aims to lower blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol.

To follow this diet, people should strive to eat:

vegetables
all grains
fruits
fish
Poultry
Bean
hazelnut
seeds
vegetable oils
Fat-free or low-fat dairy products

People should also avoid eating

fatty meat
sugary drinks
sweets
sodium
Fatty dairy products.

Mediterranean diet

A 2022 article notes that the Mediterranean diet is the term that describes the traditional eating habits of people living in the Mediterranean region. The Mediterranean diet can help prevent strokes and heart disease. It may also reduce the following risk factors for stroke and heart disease, including:

obesity
high fat
high blood pressure
diabetes

According to a 2019 review, this eating plan may also improve a person’s cardiovascular health.

People who follow the Mediterranean diet should eat:

green leafy vegetables
Variety of legumes
Nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, and almonds
fresh fruit
all grains
olive oil
fish

Are dietary changes enough to lower LDL cholesterol levels?

Some people can use dietary changes to help lower their cholesterol levels. However, diet alone is not always sufficient to lower cholesterol levels. In addition to changing their diet, people should take the following steps to help lower their LDL cholesterol levels:

Avoid or quit smoking, if possible
Perform lipid tests regularly, at least every 5 years
exercise regularly

Some people may also need medication. People who may need cholesterol medication include those who have

diabetic
CVD
Familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition that can lead to high LDL cholesterol.

You can help lower cholesterol levels by changing your diet. However, one may also need to make other changes, such as increasing the amount of physical exercise and quitting smoking, if appropriate. However, some people, such as people with diabetes or cardiovascular disease, may not be able to control their cholesterol levels simply by changing their diet and lifestyle. They may need medication to better manage their condition.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In any case, the information provided cannot replace the advice of a health professional.

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