Cholesterol – Can and how can we reduce LDL? Part 1
High cholesterol – lower or not?
The statistics are very worrying – 60% of Poles have too high serum cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). This means that every second person in our country has a total cholesterol above 190 mg / dl and LDL (“bad” cholesterol) above 115 mg / dl! This level necessarily requires a change in lifestyle, and some patients already introduce medication, as concomitant diseases affect the cholesterol target. The necessity of pharmacotherapy should be discussed with the doctor during the visit, but each of us can introduce prophylaxis from today. Treatment for hypercholesterolemia can be started by changing your daily diet.
There have been many voices recently denying the need to reduce cholesterol. They put forward the thesis that cholesterol is not harmful, that lowering it does not bring benefits to our health. This is not true – we are born with an LDL concentration of about 30mg / dL. It is estimated that as the body grows, a sufficient level is 50 mg / dL. High LDL levels lead to the development of atherosclerosis. This helps to increase heart attacks and strokes. Lowering LDL by 40 mg / dl reduces the risk of heart attack by 20%. Let’s lower it then!
Can and how can we reduce LDL?
Yes we can!
1. By limiting the proportion of saturated fatty acids in your daily diet
This has the greatest impact on improving our blood lipid profile. 10% of calories from this source are allowed, for people with hypercholesterolemia up to a maximum of 7%. At 2000 kcal per day, this means that NKT can give us 140 kcal – about 9 g. In these acids, products of animal origin are the richest. Dairy products, meat as well as sweets and salty industrially produced snacks (palm oil or shea in composition). The popular wafer (36g) is almost 6 g NKT, candy bar (51g) 4.8 g NKT, chocolate candy (15g) – 3 g NKT. A slice of cheese, a teaspoon of butter, half a glass of milk 3.2% is 3 g NKT.
2. By excluding trans fats
Trans fats have similar effects, which increase LDL concentration, and additionally reduce “good” cholesterol – HDL. They form in the process of hardening vegetable fats. They are used in the production process for industrially produced confectionery products in small quantities, they are also present in products of animal origin.
Yes we can!
3. By increasing the fiber’s diet
It is proved that fiber (article about fiber here) limits the absorption of fatty acids and sugars. In this way, it has an impact on the decrease in LDL and triglycerides (high concentration (TG above 150 mg / dl. Common situation in patients with diabetes and / or obesity – greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke). It is recommended to increase its intake to 25-40 g per day.
4. By normalizing our body weight and increasing physical activity. Read here about physical activity.
The previous recommendations (limiting the amount of sweets and salty snacks and lower supply of animal fat, as well as increasing the fiber content in the diet) will contribute to the easier implementation of the latter, and it’s worth it, because physical activity and weight loss are other important elements in the treatment of lipid disorders . The concept of physical activity should not be confused with gymnastics, which is only its element. Physical activity is a much broader concept – it’s not just sports activities, but also our domestic and professional duties – after all, we also make a move.
5. By quitting smoking
This is not a very difficult task once, but this decisive move will increase HDL levels. It will reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke and improve our lung function. Then it is easier to increase physical activity and lose a few extra kilograms.
How to replace saturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated acids and increase the amount of fiber in your diet?
Simple changes in daily nutrition are sufficient:
– instead of yellow cheese or sausage for a sandwich – we recommend Buda paste (recipe here) or fish paste or legume vegetable paste (with linseed oil / camelina oil, hemp oil, walnut oil and corn oil and pumpkin seed oil) – good sources of plant sterols)
– increase in fish consumption – recommended at least twice a week, with oily fish once – farmed salmon, mackerel and Atlantic herring as well as sprat or sardine.
– we recommend whole grain bread instead of white bread, we recommend including whole grain cereal and bran into your diet
– legume dishes to replace meat (chickpea and beetroot burgers, bean cutlets baked without fat). We recommend treating plant products as a source of protein and fiber at the same time. In this way, we can combine several functions together.
– according to the Pyramid of Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity – use as a snack nuts up to 30 g per day (caloric!) – vegetables with each meal – as a source of fiber, but also antioxidants, B vitamins
1. https//www.mp.pl materiały dla pacjenta
2. Śliż D., Mamcarz A. – “Medycyna stylu życia”
3.https://www.mp.pl/pacjent/cholesterol/aktualnosci/200263,co-drugi-polak-z-hiperlipidemia dostęp 30.01.2020
4. https://www.mp.pl/pacjent/pediatria/zywienie/72288,kwasy-omega-3 dostęp 30.01.2020
5.https://ncez.pl/abc-zywienia-/zasady-zdrowego-zywienia/podstawowe-zasady-zdrowego-zywienia dostęp 30.01.2020
6. 2019 ESC/EAS Guidelines for the management of dyslipidaemias: lipid modification to reduce cardiovascular risk