The number of people who are suffering from heart disease as a result of high cholesterol levels is increasing. There are several factors to blame for the build-up of cholesterol inside our body, however the major factor is primarily an unhealthy diet. A high fat diet and bad eating habits can substantially increase the body’s blood cholesterol levels.
Our liver produces cholesterol and it is required by the body for fulfilling vital bodily functions: hormonal synthesis of testosterone and estrogen, cellular protection, fat digestion and vitamin synthesis. The human body requires a small amount of cholesterol to support its normal functions and a high fat diet can quickly increase cholesterol to accumulate in the arteries. Cholesterol can’t be dissolved by the body, and to make matters worse, it is also very difficult to eliminate. Excess cholesterol enters our bloodstream and is deposited into different places inside our body. Cholesterol forms plaque on the artery walls by adhering to the inner lining, causing blockage over time. If cholesterol builds up inside the heart arteries, then heart disease may develop.
A sensible healthy diet and regular exercise are essential in lowering blood cholesterol levels. It is quite important to choose and eat low fat products that are low in cholesterol, as foods high cholesterol can quickly increase blood cholesterol levels. It is recommended that you should eat only low cholesterol foods that contain unsaturated fat. Among the many foods that contain high levels of cholesterol are: eggs, meats, sweets and dairy products. Also, foods that are high in saturated fat can also stimulate the accumulation of cholesterol in our body: pork, organ meats, and poultry.
In an ideal diet, low cholesterol foods should replace foods containing high quantities of cholesterol and saturated fat. Sweets for example, contain simple carbohydrates which increases body fat deposits and accelerates the accumulation of body cholesterol. Consuming less than 300 mg of cholesterol a day is recommended.
Considering that a chicken egg contains around 300 mg of cholesterol, one would think that eating properly can be quite tricky. This is not really the case. The best thing to note is that only animal products contain cholesterol, while plant-based products are cholesterol free. Yes, fruits and vegetables may contain fat, however they actually don’t contain any cholesterol. Low cholesterol foods also have less saturated fat, and therefore are a lot healthier for the body.
Since it is very difficult to be on a diet based only on fruits and vegetables. It would be more manageable to diversify your diet. For example, you can consume low cholesterol foods such as lean meat, egg whites, chicken, and fish. Other low cholesterol foods are low-fat yogurt and skim milk. Avoid eating fried foods, since they are very unhealthy. Boil or bake low cholesterol foods and eat plenty of vegetable soups.
Home-cooked meals should be preferred over restaurant foods. However, if you don’t have time to cook for yourself regularly, there are many low cholesterol food products available in market. Also, it is equally important to understand that processed, low cholesterol foods available in convenience-stores may actually contain high quantities of saturated fat and aren’t a healthy option. Although you may eat these food products every now and then, your diet should be mainly on healthy, cholesterol free or low cholesterol foods.