What is cholesterol
Cholesterol enters the composition of cell membranes and is necessary in hormone synthesis. The liver produces all the cholesterol that the body normally needs, but it accumulates in the body in the case of a diet too rich in fats of animal origin. Although it is vital for the body, in large quantities, cholesterol is harmful because it is deposited on the blood vessels and can cause cardiovascular disease.
High cholesterol has genetic causes, but people suffering from obesity and diabetes are also prone to higher cholesterol levels.
In addition to genetic predisposition, it has been found that, among the causes of the increase in cholesterol, there are also smoking, excessive coffee consumption, stress, some medicines, refined sugar and food additives.
What does “good” cholesterol (HDL) mean
The role of good cholesterol is to attract fat particles that settle on the walls of the arteries, thereby preventing the formation of plaque (guilty of diseases such as poor circulation or arteriosclerosis).
Cholesterol is a “silent disease” because there are no symptoms that show the blockage of the arteries, so the preventive factor is extremely important.
In the case of adults, a good cholesterol level is somewhere between 40 and 60 mg/dl, but also below these limits, which denotes good health.
In addition, good cholesterol prevents cardiovascular problems and prevents the accumulation of fat on the arteries.
Foods that increase “good” cholesterol
Nutrition plays an extremely important role in maintaining a good cholesterol. Thus, a diet far too rich in unhealthy fats increases the level of bad cholesterol, while a balanced diet increases good cholesterol.
So here are the foods that prevent the formation of bad cholesterol and that keep us healthy:
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
These oils are healers par excellence of the heart. With their help, the liver can produce some substances called prostaglandins, which have anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and vasodilator properties.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are found liberally in the following foods: nuts, flax seeds, quinoa, chia seeds, lentils, beans, chickpeas, avocado, broccoli, cabbage and fish (mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon).
To take advantage of the beneficial effects of Omega-3 and Omega-6, keep in mind the following tips:
– Use good quality vegetable oils (cold pressed);
– Consume raw foods (in the case of seeds and oils) or cooked a little steamed, when it comes to vegetables or fish (otherwise, they will lose all their nutritional qualities);
– Eat 2 times a week raw or steamed vegetables and sprinkled with olive oil;
– Add the above mentioned seeds to yoghurts, soups, salads, pies, smoothies or juices.
Antioxidants reduce the level of bad cholesterol and stimulate the production of good cholesterol. Thus, vitamin C and flavonoids such as beta-carotene or lycopene that are found in vegetables and fruits have a particularly important role.
It is recommended to eat daily 5 types of fruits and vegetables such as: artichokes, eggplants, zucchini, cabbage, asparagus, spinach, tangerines, mangoes, fish, potatoes, oranges, khaki, papaya, pineapple, radishes and carrots.