Cholesterol is vital, but if we have too much of it in our body it can be harmful. High cholesterol levels increase the risk of arteriosclerosis, which can cause cardiovascular disease, heart attacks or strokes - and who wants that? There are several ways we can lower cholesterol. Here is a closer look at why we even need it.
Do we even need cholesterol?
The short answer is yes. Cholesterol is used for several processes in the body. The body can produce the cholesterol we need in sufficient quantities. This means we do not need to get cholesterol from food, but many of the foods we consume contain the saturated fats that raise cholesterol.
Two forms of cholesterol
Maybe you've heard of good and bad cholesterol before. We do need both types to survive.
LDL and HDL cholesterol are the two types of cholesterol found in our bodies. LDL transports cholesterol from the liver to the individual organs. On the way, it may leave a deposit. HDL transports cholesterol back from the organs to the liver, where it is disposed of. A high HDL and a low LDL level are generally best.
How do you lower your cholesterol?
There are three main factors that influence cholesterol levels:
This means we can all positively influence our own cholesterol levels. A generally healthy lifestyle is perfect for this. Smoking and alcohol have a negative impact on cholesterol.
This factor is by far the most important. To lower your cholesterol, avoid foods that raise cholesterol, and eat more foods that lower it. This doesn't require extreme dietary measures, just make some adjustments.
Saturated fat should be avoided as much as possible. Saturated fatty acids are found mainly in animal products, whole milk products and coconut and palm oil.
Trans fats: These fats are by far the worst fats there are. You absolutely have to avoid them. Transfats can be recognized by the expression "partially hardened" on product labels.
Nuts: these little wonders help to lower LDL, but are also super healthy, they contain vitamins, minerals ...
Fibre: even a high-fibre diet helps to lower LDL cholesterol. You can simply replace conventional flour or white rice with wholegrain flour and brown rice. That's a first, good step.
Fruits & Vegetables: The more colourful, the better. Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of healthy ingredients that also help lower cholesterol.
Green tea: It is now common knowledge that green tea is very healthy. The tannins contained in this tea inhibit the absorption of fats by the body, which is why it also indirectly contributes to cholesterol.
Do not replace fat with sugar: be careful with finished products that are fat-reduced. Fat has often been replaced with sugar in these products, which in turn negatively affects our weight and thus cholesterol levels.
People who are overweight usually also have elevated cholesterol levels. This means its time to lose weight. A normal weight contributes to a healthier heart long term. To lose weight it is important to avoid carbohydrates and sugars as well as ready-to-eat products. In addition, check the nutritional content of your food.
Regular physical activity lowers cholesterol levels. Moderate endurance sports are best. Exercise lowers your blood pressure and is good for the heart and lungs. Thirty minutes of daily activity is important but doesn't have to be through sport. Even gardening or going for a walk already make a positive difference.
There are many ways to lower cholesterol. You just have to do it. Get started today!