The guide to lowering cholesterol includes measures aimed at adopting a healthy lifestyle, which means above all a correct diet, regular exercise and quitting smoking. Anyone can have high cholesterol, but we can all reduce it with the right habits.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is mainly produced by the liver and is essential for life. The so-called “bad cholesterol” is deposited in the tissues, including the arteries. The “good cholesterol” collects bad cholesterol and carries it to the liver so that it is excreted.
It is therefore important to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels. This protects us from cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the Western world. How can this be done? Let’s find out in the following lines.
The guide to lowering cholesterol
A healthy diet is one of the key factors in regulating cholesterol levels. It is important to avoid excess weight, which is why you need to reduce your calorie intake. To define dietary guidelines, it must be taken into account that foods are divided into three groups:
- Healthy food. Low in saturated fat and high in carbohydrates and vegetable fiber. They are the foods that should be consumed regularly. They include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, and olive oil.
- To be consumed in moderation. They are not recommended for daily consumption, as they contain a lot of unsaturated fat or low or medium levels of saturated fat. Lean meat and seed oil belong to this group.
- Foods to avoid. They should only be consumed occasionally, as they contain a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol. These include dairy products and their derivatives, fatty meats, sausages, frying and industrial pastry products.
The daily meal plan
Once you’ve identified the recommended and not-recommended foods, it’s time to plan a guide to lowering cholesterol. This focuses on controlling the volume of saturated fat consumed daily. The following equivalence scheme is useful in this regard:
- If 1200 calories are consumed per day, then one should not eat more than 10 grams of saturated fat.
- When consuming 1500 calories per day, you shouldn’t eat more than 13 grams of saturated fat.
- In case you are consuming 1800 calories per day, you shouldn’t eat more than 16 grams of saturated fat.
- When consuming 2000 calories a day, you shouldn’t eat more than 18 grams of saturated fat.
- Out of a total of 2500 calories per day, no more than 22 grams of saturated fat should be consumed.
When it comes to carbohydrates, there are two types: simple and complex. The simple ones are high in calories and low in nutrients. They include sugars and sweets. The complex ones are low in calories and high in fiber; they include cereals, pasta, rice, vegetables and fruits.
The idea is to consume mostly complex carbohydrates. Likewise, include fiber in your daily diet. Eating 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day reduces bad cholesterol by up to 5%.
It is best to take it gradually. Fiber is found in whole grains, fruit, beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
Other aspects to consider in a guide to lowering cholesterol
Some vegetables contain sterols and stanols. Several studies confirm that the daily ingestion of just two grams of these nutrients reduces bad cholesterol by between 10 and 15%.
On the other hand, it is good to reduce the amount of salt consumed each day. There are products and spices that can be used so that the food does not lose flavor. Among these we find:
- Onion and garlic
Alcohol should be eliminated or limited to a minimum. It is preferable to cook food on the grill, oven and steam. It is advisable to always avoid fried foods.
Exercise is crucial
The second major factor affecting cholesterol management is regular physical activity. Staying physically active is essential to prevent cardiovascular problems, keep weight under control and thus reduce the levels of “bad cholesterol”.
The habit of exercise should be implemented gradually and with the help of the doctor, especially in case of health problems or if you are over 40 years old. Under normal conditions, 30 minutes of exercise a day is enough to keep cholesterol under control.
Finally, it is highly recommended to avoid tobacco in all its forms. This is associated with 30% of cardiovascular disease. Giving up this bad habit is sure to make a great contribution to your health and well-being.