Cholesterol – gaining control of elevated levels

Cholesterol – gaining control of elevated levels

More than one in three people in the world have high cholesterol, according to the World Health Organization. Medicines such as statins protect you from heart disease, which can cause high cholesterol levels. A proper diet and exercise program can also help raise cholesterol levels.

For a long time, the use of eggs was demonized, because they are very high in cholesterol. But cholesterol isn’t just cholesterol. Medicine distinguishes between healthy HDL cholesterol and unhealthy LDL cholesterol. And eggs are full of healthy HDL cholesterol, which may even protect you from heart disease.

Find out what cholesterol does in the body and why LDL cholesterol can be so bad for your health. We explain how to lower cholesterol levels through diet and exercise during statin therapy. Since statins can raise cholesterol levels, certain foods are also important for heart health!

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is formed in the liver. This fat in the blood stabilizes cell membranes and helps in the digestion of fat. The body produces hormones such as cholesterol such as estrogen, cortisol and vitamin D. We also get cholesterol from food: the more cholesterol we eat, the less cholesterol the liver produces.

What is HDL and LDL cholesterol?

Cholesterol does not pass freely through body fluids, but is packaged in two special proteins: HDL and LDL proteins. HDL proteins absorb cholesterol from the cells of the body and deliver it to the liver, while LDL proteins incorporate cholesterol into cell membranes. High LDL cholesterol levels cause health problems such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases.

Why is LDL cholesterol bad for you?

Regardless of whether the proportion of LDL cholesterol in total cholesterol is too high and HDL cholesterol is too low, more and more proteins are stored in cell membranes. LDL cholesterol gets them there, HDL cholesterol can’t transport them fast enough. Over time, calcifications develop in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. Because blood flow is impaired, vital nutrients cannot enter the cells of the body.

Good to know: 75 percent of the total cholesterol in the body is associated with LDL proteins.

The ratio of LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol matters to your health.

Good to know: 75 percent of the total cholesterol in the body is associated with LDL proteins.

Causes of high cholesterol

Raising LDL cholesterol and lowering HDL cholesterol values ​​are detrimental to heart health. Both lifestyle and genetic predisposition can affect cholesterol levels.

Why do I have high cholesterol?

High cholesterol levels can have many different causes. cholesterol from food is probably not one of them – it affects blood cholesterol levels only to a very small extent. Cholesterol-rich foods may not have earned them a bad reputation. How do cholesterol levels rise if not through diet? On the one hand, genetic disposition affects how high the values ​​are. Other causes of high cholesterol levels are:

  • Gender and age – older men have higher LDL values ​​on average than younger women
  • Menopause. In menopause LDL values ​​increase
  • Smoking and drinking
  • Lack of exercise and being overweight increase LDL and lower HDL
  • Diabetes, kidney, liver and thyroid diseases

Low cholesterol

Drugs such as statins, drugs for high cholesterol, are not prescribed worldwide. Once the cholesterol level is determined, patients can take additional measures to lower the level in addition to statin therapy. The right exercise and the right food help.

How can I lower my cholesterol levels naturally?

A 2017 study published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease explains that aerobic exercise can help lower cholesterol levels in addition to statin therapy. Physical activity plays an important role in raising HDL cholesterol and lowering LDL cholesterol. Aerobic training includes sports such as running, cycling, swimming, or Nordic walking.

What foods should you avoid and eat if you have high cholesterol?

To combat high cholesterol, avoid foods that increase LDL levels. In addition to the good foods listed below, make sure you have enough omega-3s. They can have a supportive effect on statin therapy. You should also pay attention to a diet high in fiber. Dietary fiber can lower your LDL value.

LDL-C boosting foods Foods that lower LDL and raise HDL
Rapeseed oil, coconut oil [9, 10] Olive oil [11]
Deep Fried Chips, Snacks from [12] Dark Chocolate [13]
Sweets [14] Eggs [15, 16]
High Yielding Meat [17] Psyllium husk [18]
Alcohol Salmon [19]
Pasteurized dairy products [20] Turmeric [21]
White flour products, white rice [22] Green Tea [23]

Fats – but healthy fat please!

If your cholesterol levels rise, you should reduce the amount of fat to low saturated fat in your diet. For high cholesterol levels, it is best to eat a maximum of 70 grams of fat per day. Make sure that at least half of the fat comes from olive oil, walnut oil, fish, and eggs. When it comes to cheese and sausage, you can opt for the lean options. But beware, low-fat foods can contain a lot of sugar to add flavor to the food. So take a look at the nutritional information.

It is recommended to cook foods with a small amount of fat, that is, steam, steam or grill. Dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol levels, but for safety reasons, you should consume a maximum of 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. Researchers are still not entirely sure if higher amounts can affect cholesterol levels.

Food Cholesterol in milligrams per 100 grams
Oil 240
Liver sausage 160
Egg (size M) 115
Chicken Breast 60
Gouda 59
Milk (3.5% fat) 13
Margarine 7
Olive oil 1
Egg white 0

Dietary fiber – your heart and intestines will thank you!

Fruits, vegetables and whole grains not only provide us with important vitamins, but also fiber, which can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels.

Dietary fiber is found in the cell walls of plant food and is an indigestible food component. They keep us full and help flush out toxins. Gut bacteria love fiber, so they make an important contribution to gut health. The German Nutrition Society recommends a minimum intake of 30 milligrams of fiber per day. Dietary fiber can also reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Fiber pectin in apples, oranges, pears and berries and beta-glucan from oatmeal help lower cholesterol levels. Pectin stimulates the liver to produce important bile acid from the body’s own cholesterol: LDL values ​​decrease!

Plant Sterols – How Nature Fights Cholesterol

Plant foods contain sterols, which are similar to cholesterol in animal products. But they work differently. Sterols prevent dietary cholesterol from entering the bloodstream. As a result, the body uses more of its own cholesterol, which lowers LDL levels. Sterols are rich in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Meanwhile, margarine, dairy products, and soy milk are also fortified with sterols. However, you should not rely solely on these foods to keep your cholesterol levels low. Sterols can interfere with the absorption of vitamins, so do not consume too much.

The European Food Safety Agency recommends a maximum of 2.4 grams of plant sterols per day. You can already provide 100 grams of fruit with enough sterols.

Making sense of cholesterol tests - Harvard Health

Is niacin a vitamin that improves HDL levels?

Like vitamin B12, niacin belongs to the group of B vitamins. Studies have shown that supplementation with niacin can raise HDL cholesterol levels by up to 30 percent. However, admission should only be done after medical advice. According to the Mayo-Clinic in California, niacin supplementation has little effect on statin therapy.

In a nutshell: Exercise regularly, preferably aerobic exercise, if you have high cholesterol. You also keep omega-3s from fish or flaxseed oil in cold water, fiber from whole grains and fruits, and sterols from fruits to lower cholesterol!

cholesterol test

A cholesterol test gives you a clear indication of your cholesterol levels. This is useful, for example, if you belong to one of the risk groups, for example, if you are an older man or a woman during menopause, if you smoke or are overweight. A family doctor visit or online self-test measures total cholesterol, LDL values, and HDL values. In addition, triglyceride levels are often checked. Triglycerides are fat molecules that you eat. Elevated triglyceride levels, along with elevated cholesterol levels, are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. To obtain a meaningful result, a cholesterol test should always be performed on an empty stomach. It is best not to eat anything twelve hours before the blood draw.

Cerascreen® cholesterol test – measure your cholesterol at home!

The cerascreen® cholesterol test gives you the ability to measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your own home. You take a few drops of blood from your fingertip. Then send the sample to our certified specialized laboratory. After the assessment, you will receive a detailed report of the results with specific recommendations for action.

Cholesterol at a glance

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is formed in the liver and enters the body with food. It serves as the starting material for the formation of vitamin D, estrogen and cortisol. In the blood, cholesterol is bound to the proteins LDL and HDL. LDL cholesterol is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. HDL cholesterol breaks down LDL cholesterol.

What are the risk factors for high cholesterol?

High cholesterol levels are influenced by gender, age, genetic predisposition, alcohol, nicotine, and existing medical conditions such as diabetes.

How is high cholesterol treated?

Doctors prescribe statins, which have been shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol levels. It also helps with proper nutrition through cardiovascular exercise such as jogging. Eat a high fiber diet and eat healthy fats like salmon, walnut, and olive oil to optimize your LDL and HDL levels.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *