Posted on Feb 5, 2015 in Nutrition

According to recent statistics from the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) a large percentage of the U.S population, precisely 20% over 18 years, has a level of cholesterol above 250 mg/dl (an excessive value), according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Increased plasma concentrations of cholesterol above normal levels (above 200 mg/dl amount) remains a serious concern.

Contributing factors

Inadequate diet among the population is a determining factor in hypercholesterolemia. And there are many people that include in their daily food plan numerous animal fats, saturated fats, and alcohol, in part because of the energy that our life demands. However, there are other factors that cause increased cholesterol in the body such as liver disease, endocrine, and renal diseases, together with the administration of certain drugs and genetic predisposition to hypercholesterolemia. The latter inherited disease that is expressed from birth, is caused by mutations in the gene encoding the LDL receptor (these receptors are responsible for removing cholesterol from the blood) and causes an increase in blood cholesterol, mainly of low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol).

Solutions

The treatment of this condition requires a change of lifestyle: healthy diet, reducing alcohol intake, quitting smoking, avoiding excess weight and physical exercise are necessary weapons to manage this condition, which in some cases requires the use of drugs. But what is the real key? Definitely a healthy diet.

To achieve our goal, controlling the dreaded cholesterol, we must base our diet on foods like fruits and vegetables, five servings a day; vegetables; whole grains (bread, pasta, rice); nuts (walnuts, almonds) and olive oil; fish (at least three servings a week (tuna, sardine, anchovy, salmon …).

These foods provide us with nutrients that help us reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and increase the so-called “good” cholesterol – HDL because they provide omega-3 fatty acids found in virgin olive oil and blue fish, sterols / stanols (or vegetable oils incorporated into dairy products), antioxidants (in fruits and vegetables).

High cholesterol foods to avoid

On the other hand, we have to avoid those foods that include plenty of cholesterol and bad fats. It’s simple. For example, you can substitute whole milk for skim milk; butter with olive oil and fatty meats with lean meats, such as rabbit or chicken without skin. Egg yolks, commercial and industrial fried pastries you should avoid them. A detailed list of foods to avoid in your diet to lower cholesterol can be found on cholesterolmenu website.

As for how to cook to avoid cholesterol, the recommended methods are cooking with little fat as baked, grilled, grilling, microwaving, grilling or steaming.

To prevent hypercholesterolemia:
– Consume 30-35% fat, mainly in the form of fish and olive oil.
– Saturated fat is recommended to be reduced. It is suggested to get it at less than 10% of your diet.
– Taking about 7% of polyunsaturated fat.
– Getting monounsaturated fat at 15-20% of the diet.
– Consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol, 50-55% healthy carbohydrate and 15% protein.
– Take 20-30g of fiber and just enough calories to maintain a healthy weight.