For many years, cholesterol has had an undeserved bad stigma from many health experts, fitness enthusiasts, and the health industry in general. When you hear the word “cholesterol”, you certainly immediately think about high blood pressure and heart conditions. While most of the time this is applicable, cholesterol is not mutually exclusive to heart conditions. So, what is cholesterol and what are its effects on the human body? Can a low cholesterol diet actually help you to become healthier and disease free?
Cholesterol and its effects
As indicated by www.cholesterollevels.net, when you have normal cholesterol levels, cholesterol is not actually bad for you. In a nutshell, cholesterol is an essential part of the human body because it is present in every cell of the body. It is a substance that is produced by the liver, and its consistency is very wax-like. It actually serves a couple of vital functions which includes:
– Production of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is known to help our skin become more healthy and beautiful. Proper production of Vitamin D can definitely prevent various skin diseases as well as maintain the youthful glow of our skin.
– Production of Hormones
Hormones are known to be the human body’s chemical messengers, and proper amounts of cholesterol can definitely make sure that our body’s chemical production is up and running smoothly.
– Maintenance of the cell walls
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance which protects the cell walls from damage.
– Production of fat digestion substances
Bile acids are produced by cholesterol, which helps the body increase its fat digestion. Increased fat digestion means generally healthier body.
Healthy eating and increased physical activities can definitely assist in the proper and correct amounts of cholesterol in the body. An individual’s high blood pressure can certainly be traced back to the amount of cholesterol his or her body produces in excess of the amount that is sufficiently needed. When we eat too much saturated fat, excessive amounts of cholesterol are produced; thereby circulating it in the blood stream which can contribute to the clogging of the blood vessels and become the main cause of heart diseases and conditions.
Overview of Cholesterol levels
Before you begin to apply your low cholesterol diet plan, it is important to note that not all cholesterol is bad (or good) for your body. There are in fact two types of cholesterol:
1. HDL or High-density lipoprotein. This is the type of cholesterol that we want in high levels in the body. This is considered as “good cholesterol”, because this type of cholesterol helps flush out all of the “bad cholesterol” in our blood streams, reducing the risk for our vessels to get clogged. It also reduces the risks of individuals to develop heart diseases.
2. LDL or Low-density lipoprotein. This is what doctors consider as the “bad” cholesterol and that most adults attribute their heart diseases. This is the cholesterol that clogs up the blood vessels when its levels are excessive in the blood, increasing the risk of high blood pressure, therefore raising the possibility of heart disease. To learn more about the normal cholesterol levels, check out the following article.
Purpose of a Cholesterol Lowering Diet
With these types of cholesterol identified, lowering the amount of cholesterol in the body can prove to be very beneficial, especially for individuals suffering from heart diseases and other heart related conditions. A dietary supplement may be helpful in one’s quest to lower their cholesterol levels, but studies show that healthy eating is the fastest and most effective way to get rid of unwanted cholesterol. If you are suffering from very high levels of cholesterol, healthy foods choices incorporated in your daily diet can definitely help you bring down your blood cholesterol levels without medication.
Primary foods to feed on
If you know anything about cholesterol, then you probably know that your food intake is only a part of the equation when it comes to cholesterol levels in the blood, because the liver is the primary source of cholesterol production in the human body. One important thing to note is that the ingestion of saturated fat is a proven cause of the increase of LDL in the blood stream. The general idea of a low cholesterol diet according to www.cholesterolmenu.com is to reduce fat, increase fiber intake as well as essential fatty oils to help eliminate the amount of cholesterol in the blood stream. These foods include the following:
– High-fiber foods
Oatmeal, oat bran and other fiber rich foods are known to be LDL busters which contain soluble fiber known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in your blood stream. 10 grams of soluble fiber everyday is a proven method to effectively reduce your cholesterol levels. These might not be the tastiest food, but they are generally good for your heart.
– Omega-3 from fish
Omega-3 fatty acids effectively reduce cholesterol in an individual, ensuring that risks of sudden heart attacks and sudden death are lowered. Tuna, sardines, mackerel and herring are some of omega 3 rich fish that can definitely do the job.
Nuts are generally high in calories, so make sure that you only eat a handful each day. Also, make sure that you are not eating salted nuts, because your might increase the risk of developing other diseases.
– Olive oil
This is the ultimate LDL eliminator, because it reduces the amount of LDL in your system but leaves out all the helpful HDL in your bloodstream.
Putting the above tips into pratice
Here are some examples of low cholesterol meals that are based on the primary foods above. These are very healthy recipes that can lower your cholesterol and at the same time lower your calorie consumption as well.
* Orange juice or Coffee
This breakfast meal can be a perfect way to start your day, because most of the foods listed above contain almost 0% of saturated fat and can be quite filling. Oatmeal is a proven food that flushes out and lowers cholesterol levels, and Banana and orange juice contain a known ingredient that effectively fights LDL, which is soluble fiber.
For Lunch or Dinner
* Tuna Sandwich with tomato and lettuce
* Low-sodium veggie soup
* Diet soda or juice
This is an easy meal to prepare, and requires very little thought. Tuna also contains Omega-3, which is a great bad cholesterol buster and contains the necessary oils that are essential for a healthy heart. Soup can be used as meal filler, and generally soup can be very healthy to your body as well. A piece of apple balances your palette’s need for sweets, and if you can skip the diet soda and replace it with a fruit juice then you have a perfect filling meal that can be eaten out of a brown bag.