Even If You Have Cholesterol, You Can Still Eat Eggs For Breakfast
What we know is that to reduce cardiovascular risk, maintaining our cholesterol levels and the amount of lipoproteins that carry bad cholesterol is to follow a diet based on one simple recommendation: eat fruits and vegetables.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world. Every year, more victims of cardiovascular disease than any other cause. That is why we are afraid when our doctors warn us about having high cholesterol.
Remember when we couldn’t eat more than three eggs a week? Well, forget that. It’s not eggs that cause cholesterol.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat called sterols. They are found in tissues and blood. Although cholesterol has a reputation for being unhealthy, it is essential for life. It is part of our cell membranes and helps control the entry and exit of cells, it is necessary for calcium metabolism because it is a precursor to vitamin D, it is a precursor to sex hormones, etc.
Good and Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol does not dissolve or mix with the blood. It must stay in the blood is by being in capsules called lipoproteins. When these capsules contain more protein than fat, they have a higher density. We use this property to classify them: HDL (high-density lipoproteins) and LDL (low-density lipoproteins). We know that HDL is the good cholesterol and LDL is the bad cholesterol.
In fact, one is good cholesterol and the other is bad cholesterol and is associated with atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is characterized by a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which hardens and then blocks the arteries (leading to ischemia and heart attack). When this plaque is analyzed, only LDL is found. In other words, only LDL enters our arteries and causes cardiovascular problems, which is why it is called bad cholesterol.
Foods That Contain Cholesterol Do Not Raise Cholesterol Levels
With the exception of eggs and cheese, the foods with the most cholesterol in their composition are those with the most saturated fat: butter, cream, certain seafood, meat sauce, liver, etc.
Numerous studies have shown that the cholesterol we consume has little to no effect on our blood cholesterol levels. In fact, the cholesterol we eat is only a minor factor, since our bodies synthesize most of it. If we don’t eat cholesterol, our bodies will produce it on their own.
In addition, most of the cholesterol we eat is not absorbed or metabolized but is excreted directly from the body. In fact, most cholesterol in food is esterified (chemically different from free cholesterol), which affects its bioavailability. We can only absorb free cholesterol, which is difficult to find in food. Therefore, for most people, there is little relationship between cholesterol intake and the amount of cholesterol remaining in the body.
Functional Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Functional foods that are formulated to lower cholesterol contain added sterols and stanols. These two substances are part of the plant and function similarly to our cholesterol. When we consume sterols and stanols, they inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and prevent it from entering the bloodstream.
These substances can be found in fruits, vegetables, vegetable oils, legumes, and nuts. However, these substances are only present in small amounts and do not affect cholesterol levels. Functional foods, however, contain more than ten times the amount of sterols and stanols. They contain an average of 3 grams per 100 grams of the product.
One of the functions of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is to verify the validity of the health claims of advertised foods; EFSA confirms, based on submitted studies that “functional foods containing sterols and stanols help to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels”. Because these products are only intended for people with cholesterol problems, they cannot contain more than 3 grams of sterols or stanols per day and should not be consumed by children under 5 years of age or pregnant women, so it is recommended to take them under the payment of a doctor.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, taking 1.5 to 3 grams of sterols and stanols per day for 2 to 3 weeks can reduce bad cholesterol by 11.3% and 11.4%, respectively. It remains to be seen whether this reduction in bad cholesterol is thought to be related to cardiovascular health.
What Does Science Have To Say About Cholesterol?
What we know about reducing cardiovascular risk and maintaining cholesterol levels and the amount of lipoproteins that carry bad cholesterol is that you should follow a diet based on simple recommendations: eat fruits and vegetables, enough healthy proteins and fats, choose whole grains, and avoid refined flours. It is in order. In addition, foods and pastries with high sugar content should be avoided, especially processed foods with high blood sugar levels such as sugar and syrup.
In addition to following a healthy diet, research confirms that physical activity is essential to control the amount of bad cholesterol and lipoprotein carriers. Most importantly, if you are dealing with cholesterol, the first thing you should do is follow your doctor’s instructions.