Discover the causes and symptoms of high cholesterol and learn how to reduce it through dietary changes.
Cholesterol accumulating in the arteries is a threat to the body. This disease, which doctors call “hypercholesterolemia”, is very common nowadays. Therefore, it is important to know in what manifests elevated levels of bad cholesterol and what products contribute to its increase.
Cholesterol in certain amounts is necessary for the body. It is synthesized in the liver, and is also absorbed from certain foods.
This lipid plays an important role in the production of bile acids, in the work of the cardiovascular system and in other processes important for maintaining health.
The problem is that its excessive content in the blood leads to imbalance in the body, to the formation of plaques on the walls of blood vessels, and this increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol,” is a fatty alcohol that easily settles on the walls of arteries, forming plaques.
It is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and therefore it is called one of the “silent killers” of the human body.
A person is diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia when the level of low-density cholesterol in his blood exceeds 130 mg/dL.
An important risk factor is also a decrease in the level of “good cholesterol” (high-density cholesterol) to 35 mg/dL in men and to 40 mg/dL in women.
Elevated cholesterol can manifest itself in different ways. But, as a rule, in the initial stages, there are no pronounced symptoms of this condition.
As hypercholesterolemia develops, such symptoms appear:
A feeling of heaviness in the stomach and indigestion
Constant feeling of fatigue
Tendency to involuntary movements
Inflammation in the extremities
There are different factors for the accumulation of bad cholesterol in the arteries. But most of them are in one way or another associated with excessive consumption of food that contains a lot of this substance.
Therefore, both for the prevention of high cholesterol, and to reduce its level, it is important to limit the consumption of relevant products as much as possible, and instead include in your diet healthier foods. Here is the list of 6 products to avoid if you have high cholesterol:
1. Whole-milk products
Those with high cholesterol should exclude whole milk products from their diet.
They can be replaced with “semi-skimmed” or “skimmed” dairy products, which contain much less of these lipids.
Whole-milk products include:
Butter and margarine
The composition of cheese, including its cholesterol content, varies depending on the type of cheese. Some types of cheese contain minimal amounts of cholesterol, while others are very high in cholesterol.
The greatest amount of saturated fat and bad cholesterol is found in cheeses that are “aged” and those cheeses that can be “spread” (on bread, etc.).
3. Red meat
This product is part of the regular diet of many people around the world, but it is important to keep in mind that red meat contains quite a lot of cholesterol and saturated fat.
Eating too much of it is not recommended. To lower the negative impact you should choose lean meat when shopping and cut off all visible fat when cooking.
By-products contain a lot of B vitamins, vitamins A and D, as well as minerals such as potassium and iron. But the fact is that there is a lot of cholesterol and saturated fat makes them very unhealthy.
Mayonnaise, like many commercially available sauces, is quite high in saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. Inordinate consumption of it can lead to a buildup of bad cholesterol in the arteries.
Buns, cakes, pies, pastries and other baked goods tend to be high in sugar, saturated and hydrogenated fats. So by being too fond of them, we are also putting our arteries at risk.
Do you often include the above foods in your diet? Even if your cholesterol is normal, it is better to reduce their consumption. This is necessary to prevent hypercholesterolemia and related heart and vascular problems.
The diet should contain more foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and dietary fiber. These help keep blood cholesterol levels in check.
Q1: What is hypercholesterolemia?
A1: Hypercholesterolemia is a disease characterized by the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries, posing a threat to the body. It is commonly referred to as high cholesterol.
Q2: What role does cholesterol play in the body?
A2: Cholesterol plays an important role in various bodily processes, including the production of bile acids, the functioning of the cardiovascular system, and other essential functions for maintaining good health.
Q3: What is “bad” cholesterol?
A3: “Bad” cholesterol refers to low-density lipoprotein (LDL), a type of fatty alcohol that easily settles on the walls of arteries, forming plaques. High levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Q4: What are the symptoms of elevated cholesterol levels?
A4: Initially, elevated cholesterol levels may not exhibit pronounced symptoms. However, as hypercholesterolemia progresses, symptoms such as heaviness in the stomach, fatigue, constipation, involuntary movements, bad breath, inflammation in the extremities, dizziness, headache, vision problems, and chest pain may arise.
Q5: Which foods should be limited to reduce bad cholesterol?
A5: To reduce bad cholesterol, it is important to limit the consumption of foods that are high in cholesterol. Some examples include whole-milk products, cheese (especially aged and spreadable varieties), red meat, by-products, mayonnaise, and pastries.
Q6: What are some healthier food alternatives to lower cholesterol levels?
A6: Healthier food alternatives that can help lower cholesterol levels include semi-skimmed or skimmed dairy products instead of whole-milk products, lean meats without visible fat, and incorporating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and dietary fiber into the diet.
Q7: Why is it important to reduce the consumption of cholesterol-rich foods?
A7: Excessive consumption of cholesterol-rich foods can lead to an imbalance in the body and the formation of plaques in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. By reducing the intake of these foods, individuals can lower their cholesterol levels and prevent related health problems.
Q8: What are some dietary considerations for maintaining optimal cholesterol levels?
A8: In addition to reducing the consumption of cholesterol-rich foods, it is recommended to include foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and dietary fiber in the diet. These nutrients can help regulate blood cholesterol levels and promote heart health.
Q9: How can individuals prevent hypercholesterolemia and related health issues?
A9: To prevent hypercholesterolemia and related health issues, individuals should maintain a balanced diet, limit the consumption of cholesterol-rich foods, engage in regular physical activity, and undergo periodic health check-ups to monitor cholesterol levels.
Q10: Is it necessary to make dietary changes even if cholesterol levels are normal?
A10: Yes, it is still beneficial to make dietary changes and reduce the consumption of cholesterol-rich foods, as this helps in preventing the onset of hypercholesterolemia and associated heart and vascular problems. It is always wise to maintain a healthy diet for overall well-being.