The word cholesterol is familiar to everyone. High cholesterol may cause a series of hidden health risks such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Of course, if your cholesterol is too high, you can lower it by taking medicine. However, there is a saying in the Chinese: “Medicine is a three-way poison” meaning that every medicine carries side effects.
Good cholesterol and bad cholesterol
First of all, we have to briefly popularize the concept of cholesterol. Cholesterol is present in many organs in our body and plays an important role in the human body. It is a waxy substance present in the blood. Cholesterol is an important compound closely related to life phenomena. It is not only involved in the formation of cell membranes but also the raw material for the synthesis of bile acids, vitamin D, and steroid hormones. There are two main sources of cholesterol in the human body: the human liver is responsible for making the cholesterol needed in the body; at the same time, the human body also obtains some cholesterol from the food it eats, especially animal products and whole fat dairy products.
Cholesterol is also divided into good cholesterol or high-density cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol or low-density cholesterol (LDL).
If bad cholesterol is too high, it can easily form hard plaque on the walls of human arteries, and then block blood vessels, causing angina, stroke, or heart disease.
At the same time, good cholesterol has a protective effect on the heart. It can transport excess cholesterol from the body back to the liver and excrete it from the body. Generally, what people call cholesterol-lowering is to reduce excessively low-density cholesterol.
How to control cholesterol?
While taking lipid-lowering drugs, it is also necessary to cultivate good habits such as a balanced diet and proper exercise. Here are some specific tips to help you control your cholesterol levels.
Learn to eat healthy
According to research by Dr. David Jenkins of the University of Toronto in Canada, it is possible to lower cholesterol by eating certain food combinations. These foods include: oats, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seed foods, beans and soy milk. Because these foods are characterized by high fibre, low saturated fat, and low calories.
Dr. Jenkins’ diet requires people to control their daily calorie intake to 2000 or below. Moreover, it must be low in salt, low in fat and high in fiber, including fruits and vegetables. At the same time, eat the following four food combinations. If you only eat one of them, it can also reduce cholesterol, but if you eat four at the same time, the effect is very significant.
Oats contain various soluble fibers, including ß-glucan. They can adhere to bile acids, which prevents the body from absorbing cholesterol and helps in excreting it. Achievement of this effect requires 3 grams of ß-glucan per day. And 30 grams of oats can provide 0.75 grams of ß-glucan. So, you can calculate the number of oats you need. Foods that are also rich in soluble fiber also include barley, apples, strawberries, and eggplant.
Almonds have been selected as one of the most nutritious ingredients in the world. The monounsaturated fat contained in it can maintain the level of good cholesterol while reducing bad cholesterol. Almonds contain antioxidants that can help prevent cholesterol oxidation. Nuts with similar effects to almonds include peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, etc. Studies have found that eating 45 grams of almonds per day can greatly reduce cholesterol.
Green leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds are rich in plant stanols. They imitate cholesterol and compete with real cholesterol to not allow the stomach to absorb it. This means that the amount of cholesterol and bile acid in your body is decreasing. But in the process of breaking down food fat, your body needs to use more cholesterol to produce bile acids. This achieves the goal of lowering cholesterol in the blood. But the problem is that it is almost impossible for people to get enough sterols and stanols by diet alone. But some yogurts, beverages, and margarine have sterol extracts added. To lower cholesterol, people need about 2 grams of sterols and stanols fortified food every day.
4. Soy Protein
Studies have shown that the protein in soybeans and other beans can help reduce the amount of cholesterol produced by the human liver. Soy protein is low in saturated fat and is an ideal protein substitute for red meat. Eating 25 grams of soy protein per day (equivalent to 300 grams of tofu or 600 milliliters of soy milk) can lower cholesterol by 5-6%. The current recommended amount of vegetable protein is 50 grams per day. Lentils, chickpeas and other beans are the best choices for vegetable protein.
5. Fat and energy
Fat is one of the important sources of human energy. However, medical personnel recommends that fat should not account for one-third of total energy. Specifically, women’s fat intake should not exceed 70 grams per day and men’s maximum 90 grams per day. Among them, it is better not to consume more than 20 grams of saturated fat per day for women and 30 grams for men. Generally speaking, animal foods, such as red meat, dairy products, cakes, chocolates, biscuits, and other foods contain more saturated fat. Some plants also contain some saturated fats, for example, in coconut and palm oil.
People can eat more unsaturated fat foods to get the fat they need. These foods include nuts, seeds, olive oil, salmon, and mackerel.
Note: The above diet can help improve blood pressure, reduce inflammation and risk of a heart attack. Of course, if your cholesterol is too high, and these diets do not apply to you, you should still take the medicine as directed by your doctor. Because Jenkins’ comprehensive diet test does not include those who already take cholesterol-lowering drugs. Therefore, it is impossible to know whether such a diet will have the same cholesterol-lowering effect on them.
Start new day with whole wheat
Instead of fritters and sugared soy milk, try a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast. Carbohydrates and dietary fiber in coarse grains can provide the energy needed to maintain satiety for a longer period of time, thus preventing us from overeating at lunch. Looking at the food ingredients list, brown rice, oats, and barley are the main ingredients of whole wheat food. They can also reduce the level of low-density lipoprotein, which is greatly beneficial for weight loss. In contrast, refined foods such as white bread and pastries should be minimized.
Control the amount of food you eat
Excess diet can lead to obesity and high cholesterol. Teach you a simple way to assess your meal size. For a healthy ordinary elderly, a suitable meal size is approximate: a portion of meat or fish that just fits in the palm of your hand, a large plate of vegetables and a fist-sized portion Fruit, plus a staple that can be picked up with one hand.
Have some healthy snacks
It’s not that I want to eat, it’s just a lonely mouth. Then let’s have some healthy snacks. Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats. Eating about 30 grams of nuts a day can reduce the risk of heart disease. But don’t forget, nuts are also high-fat and high-heat foods. Don’t eat too much, give up sugar-coated and salt-baked ones, and just choose the original ones. Fruits, with water and vitamins, use them to replace oily snacks. Another cup of yogurt, remember the one with less sugar.
Appropriate exercise can help reduce low-density lipoprotein and increase high-density lipoprotein, reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease. Exercise can also effectively control body weight and reduce the risk of arterial embolism. In short, there are many benefits. To know about the exercises you can do at home, check out this article. In addition, don’t sit still, go for a walk, plant flowers, dance, walk the dog, or even do housework, you can try to speed up your heart rate, sweating activities. If you have not exercised for a long time, remember to go step by step.
Tension can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Studies have shown that, for some people, excessive mental pressure can directly raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Relaxation, moderate exercise, and proper medication are all effective ways of decompression. Try this trick, get rid of distracting thoughts, concentrate on breathing, take a deep breath, and then slowly exhale, repeating this process to ease your emotions.
Learn to read tags
To ensure a healthy diet with low cholesterol, it is especially important to learn to check the nutrition labels of foods. The following points need attention:
Total calories: A portion of a whole packaging may seem to contain low fat and cholesterol. But take a look before eating, how many small portions the whole package contains.
Whole wheat: If the label is whole wheat food, then brown rice, oats and barley in the ingredient list must be the main raw materials.
Weight loss is victory
Losing weight is one of the most effective ways to fight cardiovascular disease. Hyperlipidaemia, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes are all accompanied by obesity. These diseases all affect the structure of the blood vessel wall and are prone to form atherosclerotic plaques. Losing weight can improve your body shape, make you more energetic, and lower the level of “bad” cholesterol in your blood. To know about weight losing diet plans, click here.
Listen to the doctor
To emphasize one point, lifestyle adjustment is the basis, but it cannot replace drug treatment. Under the guidance of a doctor, you need to take the medicine correctly and regularly check liver function and blood lipid changes. At the same time of drug treatment, diet control and reasonable exercise can effectively help you lower cholesterol levels and help your cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health.