Cholesterol in the human body belongs to the group of lipids, within which we can distinguish two lipoproteins: HDL and LDL. LDL is commonly referred to as "bad cholesterol," while HDL is considered "good" as it decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
It is important to remember that despite many myths surrounding cholesterol in the blood, it is essential for the proper functioning of the body. It is the main component of bile acids produced by the liver and also builds cell membranes and serves as the foundation for hormones and fertility. However, excessive levels of LDL can contribute to the development of many diseases, including coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, and even stroke.
How to prevent this? By following an appropriate diet to lower cholesterol.
Diet for high cholesterol levels:
The formation of atherosclerotic plaques is primarily caused by oxidized fatty acids, especially trans isomers, omega-6, and omega-9. These fatty acids are essential for the body, but their oxidized and processed form can be harmful to health.
Therefore, healthy fats can be found primarily in:
- Plant oils (pumpkin seed oil, grape seed oil, flaxseed oil)
- Olive oil
- Seeds and nuts
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring)
It is important to note that consuming the above products that help fight high cholesterol requires following certain rules. The challenge is oxidation, or the destruction of the fat structure due to the presence of so-called jeno and polyunsaturated bonds in the chains that make up these fats. The above products (especially oils) quickly undergo oxidation as a result of strong heating, so it is important that snacks rich in omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acids are not subjected to thermal processing.
Which products increase cholesterol levels in the blood?
The latest research unequivocally proves that the "cholesterol diet" does not have to eliminate red meat, eggs, or lard – it is not they that are responsible for high LDL cholesterol levels. Factors that contribute to this by enhancing inflammation and burdening the liver are highly processed products with a high glycemic index:
- Flour and its products - e.g. white bread from refined flour
- Fast food
- Sugar, sweets, and pastry products (e.g. donuts)
- Processed fruit juices, energy drinks, sweet fizzy drinks
- Refined vegetable oils
- Too many calories in your diet
It is worth knowing that the above products affect cholesterol by creating inflammatory conditions caused by an excess of glucose proteins in our body. In simplified terms, sugar attaches to amino acids, and protein ceases to perform its functions. This process is called glycation.
Supplements for a healthy cholesterol level:
We have already learned about products that lower cholesterol levels. However, it is not always possible to prevent cholesterol from entering the walls of our vessels through a diet rich in fiber and healthy fats alone.
By following a varied diet, physical activity, and a stress-free lifestyle, it is important to remember about appropriate supplementation, which can support liver function – a well-functioning liver ensures the appropriate concentration of good HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, and an effective way to lower total cholesterol. Before starting supplementation, it is important to consult a doctor and choose a supplement without harmful additives that will not affect the digestive system.
- Choline, lecithin, sulfur compounds - essential elements of proper liver function
- Omega-3 fatty acids - strong anti-inflammatory effect
- Magnesium, zinc, selenium - necessary for proper liver enzyme function
- Vitamin D - responsible for proper homocysteine metabolism
Which fruits can help lower cholesterol? Antioxidants play a very important role in optimal liver function and fighting inflammation. In addition, they help fight free radicals and prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which leads to the formation of so-called oxy-LDL. Therefore, when choosing a fruit that lowers bad cholesterol, we should focus on its antioxidant content and low glycemic index.
Fruits that can help lower cholesterol:
Vegetables to lower high cholesterol A diet rich in vegetables containing high amounts of fiber is one of the home remedies that can help lower cholesterol without medication. However, the level of cholesterol in the body varies from person to person and adding vegetables to the diet may not always protect us from cardiovascular diseases or heart attacks. To protect our arteries, regular exercise such as walking or swimming is important.
Vegetables high in fiber:
It is also worth including in the diet:
- Milk thistle