Diet & Nutrition
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Diet & Nutrition

Does Dietary Cholesterol Influence Your Blood Cholesterol?

Hello everyone! We all worry about our fat intake, so much that anything that says fat is strictly avoided during a weight loss program. But is fat that bad? Does dietary cholesterol affect our body so much that it leads to some chronic metabolic diseases? This fact was taken into consideration a few decades ago but not now. Recent research has shown that dietary cholesterol has only a small influence on the amount of cholesterol in the body.

Cholesterol is mainly found in animal foods like meat, poultry, and dairy products. Our liver makes all the cholesterol we need for the body to build cells, and make vitamins and other hormones. These animal foods along with tropical oils such as palm oil, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil contain saturated fat and trans fats that can increase bad cholesterol. These saturated and trans fats cause the liver to make more cholesterol than it otherwise would make leading to abnormal blood cholesterol levels. Wondering why these fats are affecting the blood cholesterol levels and are life-threatening? Cholesterol is mainly of two types — Good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL)

It is this bad cholesterol that is a major contributor to increase blood cholesterol levels and some foods that are high in cholesterol can promote the production of LDL and thereby increases the risk of heart diseases.

How to throw away Bad (LDL) cholesterol?

Good cholesterol usually gets cleared from the body through the liver. This may prevent the build-up of plaque, protect your arteries, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases. Mainly HDL function is to carry away all the bad cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where LDL is broken down and eliminated from the body. But only one-third to one-fourth of LDL is carried away by HDL cholesterol. Wondering how to get rid of LDL cholesterol?

  • There is strong evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health.
  • Consider including plant stanols or sterols as they just resemble cholesterol but do not contribute to clogged arteries They reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol
  • Moderate consumption of alcohol is always better. The centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) suggests moderate drinking by consuming only 2 drinks per day for men or 1 drink per day for women.
  • A big no to smoking. The immune cells in smokers are unable to return cholesterol from vessel walls to the blood for transport to the liver. These dysfunctional immune cells may contribute to the faster development of clogged arteries in smokers.
  • Exercise and maintain a healthy weight. Avoid trans fat and include whole plant foods.

Some high-cholesterol foods that must be limited or avoided —

  1. Fire the fried foods: Deep-fried meat, cheese, or anything very high in trans fat that is not required for the body. High intake of fried foods has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
  2. Free yourself from fast foods: Those who frequently eat fast food tend to have higher cholesterol, more belly fat, higher levels of inflammation, and impaired blood sugar levels. Eating fewer processed foods and more home-cooked meals is associated with lower body weight, less body fat, and reductions in heart disease risk factors.
  3. Promise not to take processed foods: Processed foods such as bacon, and hot dogs are highly processed foods that must be avoided.
  4. Ditch the desserts: Cookies, cakes, ****ice-creams, and sweets, tend to be high in cholesterol, added sugars, unhealthy fats, and calories. It is best to avoid these as regular consumption has been linked to negative health effects.

It is always good to include lean protein from animal sources and take a well-balanced diet to reduce the risk of heart diseases. It is possible to reverse cholesterol and improve levels by following a healthy dietary pattern which includes whole grains, nuts, and seeds, vegetables, and fruits, healthy fats from fatty fish and olive oil, etc. Limit the consumption of the above-mentioned foods to see changes in cholesterol levels. Always seek a professional’s help when making such changes. Happy Weekend all! 😃

References:

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/understanding-cholesterol-hdl-vs-ldl-2018041213608

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-lower-cholesterol

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/high-cholesterol-foods

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Nutritionist Vasundhara Agrawal

Nutritionist Vasundhara Agrawal

Lifestyle Trainer & Nutrition Coach | I help you #livehealthy