Changes in lifestyle, including regular physical exercise and a proper diet to lower cholesterol are important steps in controlling cholesterol levels. In many cases, with simple measures it is possible to reduce and even avoid the use of cholesterol medicines.
Any degree of reduction in cholesterol is welcome, since for every 1% reduction in LDL levels in the blood the risk of cardiovascular diseases is reduced by 2%.
In this text we will make a simple review on the most suitable diet for the control of cholesterol.
It is important to note that in addition to the diet are also essential to control body weight and practice regular physical exercises.
WHO SHOULD DIET FOR CHOLESTEROL?
A healthy diet is indicated for any individual, even those with controlled cholesterol levels. However, the higher the LDL cholesterol value, the more important the changes in lifestyle habits become. A cholesterol-oriented diet is indicated for those with LDL cholesterol above 130 mg / dL. In the case of patients with a personal history of coronary heart disease, the diet should be performed in a way that helps maintain LDL below 100 mg / dL.
The following are general suggestions on foods and supplements in cholesterol control. To optimize the results it is always important to have a consultation with a nutritionist so that he or she can draw up an appropriate strategy for your particular case.
General rule: saturated fats, mainly trans-type polyunsaturated fats, should be avoided. The healthiest fats are unsaturated fats, mainly monounsaturated fats found in foods such as olive oil, canola, avocado, peanut and nuts.
It is not necessary to eliminate meats from the diet, however give preference to fish. Poultry poultry are also an option. Beef or pork only if they are lean cuts. The ideal amount of meat per day is 150-200 g. Should be avoided:
Meat with fatty cuts, pork ribs, viscera and fried meat (even fish).
Sausages, bologna, salami, ham and bacon.
Shrimp, octopus and soothe.
Preference should be given to vegetable protein instead of animal protein. Soy meat is an excellent substitute for meat of animal origin.
Eggs may be eaten, however not more than 4 buds per week in milder cases and no more than 2 buds per week in cases of higher cholesterol or high cardiovascular risk. This account includes foods that carry eggs, such as cakes and pastries. The clear has no cholesterol and can be consumed without problems.
Milk and Derivatives
Milk should always be skimmed. The same goes for cheese and yogurt. Give preference to cottage cheese, the thinnest of all. Fresh light cheese is also a good choice. Avoid gorgonzola, cheddar, and provolone and parmesan cheese.
Contrary to what many people think, buffalo mozzarella is not a lean cheese. In fact, it is greasier than even the common mozzarella.
If you want to use cream of milk in the preparation of a dish, use one that is based on soy, whose taste is very similar. Also be careful with creamy ice cream.
You should not use butter, but margarine. There are margarines with vegetable sterols (phytosterols) that are proven to help lower LDL cholesterol levels. The two most famous brands are Becel pro-activ and Benecol.
Fish Oil (Omega 3)
Omega 3 is a type of fat found in big fish, mainly salmon, in flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybean oil and nuts. Fish oil can also be found in capsules. Regular consumption reduces the incidence of cardiovascular events and helps reduce triglyceride levels. It is suggested to eat at least two meals per week with fish rich in Omega 3.
Soy protein, despite not directly decreasing cholesterol levels, is indicated in patients with high cholesterol because it is a source of protein with low amounts of saturated fat and high amounts of unsaturated fat.
Nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pistachio are good options for reducing LDL cholesterol.
Despite popular belief, there is no evidence that garlic has direct action in reducing LDL cholesterol.
Green tea, proven, lowers LDL levels. It’s a good option.
Regular consumption of high-fiber foods helps reduce LDL levels. Consume, as much as you can, foods with fiber.
Fruits and vegetables
They help reduce LDL cholesterol and should be the basis of diet.
Vegetable oils such as olive oil, soybean, sunflower, canola, corn, cotton and rice do not have saturated fat and are excellent sources of healthy fat (unsaturated fats). But attention should not be boiled, because the high temperatures modify their chemical structure transforming them into saturated fat (bad fat).
While common chocolate often increases cholesterol levels, bitter chocolate is rich in flavonoids, substances that lower LDL.
Whole grain bread and oat, corn or wheat cereals are indicated. Avoid: croissants, breads in which egg, fat and butter are the main ingredients, high fat cookies, cakes, muffins containing whole milk, egg yolks or saturated oils.
It is important to note that diet and exercise achieve lower cholesterol levels by up to 20-30%, often enough to reach adequate levels. Even in those patients who need drugs to control cholesterol, diet is important because it potentiates the action of the drug, so that lower doses are needed, reducing the cost of treatment and the incidence of side effects.