A lot of people face the problem of high cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a lipid the body needs to function correctly as it is important for energy transfer and provision. However, elevated cholesterol levels are associated with clogging of arteries. If this status is present over a longer period of time heart disease, heart attack or stroke might occur. Thus a high cholesterol level is directly linked to higher mortality.
Cholesterol is divided into HDL – cholesterol (High-density lipoprotein – the “good“) and LDL – cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein – the “bad“) which both have different functions in lipid transport. Bad eating habits, such as a diet rich in meat and dairy products and a lack of exercise are the most common reasons for elevated LDL – cholesterol levels. Here are some strategies which might help lowering your cholesterol levels:
First of all, overall daily fat intake should be below 30 % of the daily calorie intake.
This amount of daily fat intake is recommended by the German Society of Nutrition but many people exceed this amount by far, especially since “low – carbohydrate diets“ are so popular.
A high LDL – Cholesterol can be a sign of a very high meat, fish and dairy consumption as only these foods contain cholesterol, especially products with a high percentage of fats.
Plants can not synthesize cholesterol and are therefore in this context the best food choice. Good plant fat choices are for example nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios), seeds and avocados.
Carbohydrates should make up 50 % of the daily calorie intake.
Good choices are complex carbohydrate foods like potatoes, whole wheat products and oats is essential, try to avoid simple carbohydrate foods (such as refined sugar in cookies, cakes and ice-cream) .
Some studies indicate that the consumption of fiber rich food lowers the LDL – cholesterol level and therefore might help preventing several chronic diseases as obesity, hypertension and coronary heart disease. Extremely rich fiber foods are wheat products and vegetables.
Even with very healthy nutrition regular exercise is very important.
Recommended daily exercise are 30 minutes and fast walking already counts! Find some exercise motivation here.
So in conclusion altering a diet by eating more vegetables and complex carbohydrates and engaging in moderate exercise are key factors in reducing cholesterol levels.