Bad Cholesterol: Tips To Lower It
There are some foods that raise cholesterol and some that lower it, which contain a certain amount of “good” cholesterol, which can replace other cholesterol in the blood and help reduce artery-clogging.
Cholesterol is fifties gobbledygook; this reminds us that we need to be careful, age-wise if we don’t want to join the more or less high-risk group of people who don’t make it to their eighties or even seventies because it is in these two age groups that we have the highest incidence of heart problems.
By cholesterol, we mean all the fats that circulate in our blood. There is “good” cholesterol, which is soluble fat, and “bad” cholesterol, which is insoluble cholesterol. The latter can block arteries because it tends to settle and deposit in veins and arteries, forming a buildup that closes the diameter of the arteries.
If this happens, we can have a stroke that can leave us partially paralyzed, or worse: it can leave our brain without oxygen and thus die. In addition, without blocking the arteries, cholesterol restricts the blood flow and forces the heart to work harder. As a result, it triggers the possibility of the heart collapsing during exertion (heart attack).
Thus, it is clear that the buildup of “bad” cholesterol is not at all good. But where does this cholesterol come from and where does it come from? Mainly from food, especially from the consumption of saturated fats of animal and industrial origin. By saturated fats, I mean that their atoms are all strongly linked and therefore can be badly linked to other compounds in the blood environment: they dissolve little and badly, like sand in a river, forming dams.
Therefore, if we want to have safe levels of “bad” cholesterol – even a moderate percentage is necessary – we must be careful what we can eat and what foods we should avoid or at least moderate. Just as some foods raise cholesterol, other foods can lower it by containing a certain amount of “good” cholesterol, which can replace other cholesterol in the blood and help reduce clogged arteries.
Good Foods That Lower “Bad” Cholesterol
- Garden products. Vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, garlic, onions, eggplant or green peppers help lower “bad” cholesterol. They can be eaten cooked, roasted, in salads, or even raw. Their strong point is that they provide plant fiber and nourish intestinal flora. This promotes the absorption of cholesterol in the “good” intestine.
- Vegetable oils. The compression of plant seeds such as sunflower, rapeseed or canola produces oils that promote the intestinal absorption of “good” cholesterol against “bad” cholesterol, thanks to their monounsaturated fatty acids. But above all, olive oil contains oleic acid and phytosterols, which, in addition to being a natural complement to most vegetables, have a very effective cardiovascular protective effect. There are diets that limit it due to doubts about calories. However, when it is raw, it is highly recommended to include it in all meals.
- Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, beans, pinto beans, green beans or legumes are prized for their fiber and high protein content. They are essential in a balanced diet and are the basis for lowering “bad” cholesterol through components such as lecithin, saponins and isoflavones. Saponins capture “bad” cholesterol from food and “kidnap” it so that it cannot be absorbed by the intestines and enter the bloodstream. Isoflavones prevent cholesterol from oxidizing and precipitating in the blood, while lecithin makes cholesterol more soluble, although this has been discussed more recently.
- Fatty fish. Sardines, tuna, mackerel, bonito, salmon and many other fatty fish should be regularly in our diet because their omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids protect us from bad cholesterol as they are arterial vasodilators. It is recommended to eat fresh, fatty fish two to three times a week.
- Nuts. Walnuts in particular, but also hazelnuts or almonds are rich in omega-3 acids, as is fatty fish. They can be included in salads or homemade cakes.
- Fruit juices do not count, eat them with their flesh. Apples, grapes, strawberries and citrus fruits are characterized by a high content of vegetable fiber, which absorbs water, slows the passage of bile and mixes well with it. As a result, less “bad” cholesterol enters the bloodstream from the intestines. Bananas and avocados belong to this category and, as carriers of plant fats, they promote the production of “good” cholesterol.