cholesterol

How to lower cholesterol? Our advice!

Raised cholesterol in the blood is called hypercholesterolaemia. Hypercholesterolaemia is not a disease state, because it belongs to the group of metabolic disorders and increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Elevated cholesterol is “not painful” so it may not be symptomatic for a long time. Most often we find out about its increased concentration accidentally, during preventive examinations, or when we come to the hospital due to the consequences of its high concentration. How to lower cholesterol and what is worth knowing about it?

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is distributed throughout all cells in the body, especially the nervous system. Takes part, among others in the synthesis of steroid hormones (adrenal cortex hormones, sex hormones) and bile acids. It is present in the skin and is transformed into vitamin D3 under the influence of ultraviolet rays contained in sunlight. 2/3 of cholesterol is synthesized in our body in the liver and intestine. In addition, it is found in the brain (it is an important building block in the nervous system), adrenal glands, nerve fiber sheaths, skin, cell membranes, plasma lipoproteins and bile.

What tests should be performed to find out about the amount of cholesterol in the body?

Lipidogram – This is a laboratory test that measures the levels of lipids (fatty substances) in the blood. The lipidogram consists of:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL cholesterol
  • HDL cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

What exactly are LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides?

“GOOD CHOLESTEROL” – CHOLESTEROL OF THE HDL FACTION

High-density lipoproteins HDL carry about 20% of the cholesterol in the blood. The lecithin contained in them (in phospholipids) acts as a detergent – it dissolves cholesterol in the artery wall, transporting it to the liver and preventing the development of atherosclerosis. Bile acids are synthesized from cholesterol in the liver. The higher the concentration of HDL lipoproteins in the blood plasma, the lower the risk of developing atherosclerosis.

“BAD CHOLESTEROL” – LDL CHOLESTEROL

It’s a colloquial term that stands for low-density lipoproteins. 65% of the task of LDL lipoproteins is to transport cholesterol contained in the blood. The LDL cholesterol fraction, when combined with other substances, accumulates in the walls of the arteries in the form of atherosclerotic plaques, leading to their narrowing. Numerous studies have shown that LDL cholesterol is associated with the development of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, we should try to keep the “bad” cholesterol levels low.

Triglycerides – what is it?

Triglycerides are lipids (fats) in the body that come from food and endogenous synthesis. They are synthesized mainly in the liver, subcutaneous fat, small intestine mucosa, and the mammary gland. Triglycerides can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. High levels of triglycerides are common in people with diabetes, who are overweight, and who consume large amounts of alcohol and simple sugars. Usually, people with high triglycerides have abnormal levels of the previously discussed lipids, i.e. low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol.

Desired values of lipid parameters

  • Total cholesterol (mg / dl) – <190
  • LDL cholesterol (mg / dl)

◦ very high risk group – <55

◦ high-risk group – <70

◦ moderate risk group – <100

◦ low-risk group – <116

  • HDL cholesterol (mg / dl)

◦ MEN – ≥ 40

◦ WOMEN – ≥ 50

  • Triglycerides (mg / dl) – <150

How to lower cholesterol?

It has been proven that the concentration of cholesterol in the blood is largely dependent on the lifestyle, and therefore the prophylactic procedure should begin with its modification.

Diet and lifestyle

  • The following should be excluded from the diet: butter, hard margarines, lard, lard, sausages, cream, full-fat milk, mayonnaise, confectionery.
  • Pay attention to the cooking method, exclude fried foods.
  • The consumption of trans fatty acids should be <1% of the energy value of the diet. Trans isomers of fatty acids can be found in solid vegetable fats obtained in the process of hardening natural vegetable fats, such as: margarines, bars, cookies, donuts, powdered soups, fast food products.
  • Animal fats should be replaced by fats of vegetable origin (olive oil, linseed oil, rapeseed oil, almonds, nuts).
  • The supply of fiber should be at least 25 g / day, taking into account the water-soluble fraction. The β-glucans contained in this fraction reduce intestinal cholesterol uptake, increase the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids and inhibit their reabsorption (reabsorption). The recommended sources of dietary fiber are whole grains (especially oats and barley), dry legumes, vegetables and fruit.
  • Whole grain bread, groats, oatmeal and brown rice are recommended for cereal products. Not recommended from this group include: French bread, croissants, buttery rolls.
  • You should also avoid drinks sweetened with sugar and fructose.
  • Salt should be limited – below 5 grams / day (1 small teaspoon). Remember about “hidden” salt, which is commonly found in foods.
  • The preferred foods are lean and oily fish 1-2 times a week and skinless poultry.
  • Increasing your daily physical activity to a minimum of 30 minutes a day 7 days a week, at least 150 minutes a week.
  • The final point on how to lower your cholesterol has to do with stimulants. Alcohol consumption should be reduced and smoking should be stopped.

What helps lower blood cholesterol?

    • Use of dietary supplements with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.
    • Monacoline and red rice

Red fermented rice (rice fermented with red yeast Monascus purpureus; RYR) is a source of pigment that has been used for centuries in China as a food color and flavor enhancer. During fermentation, yeast enriches rice with a complex of substances with significant lipid-lowering effects, including polyketides such as monacolines. It should not be confused with red food rice, which does not have cholesterol-lowering properties.

  • Berberine

In the last meta-analysis, its influence on the plasma lipid concentration in humans was assessed. Comparing berberine with a lifestyle intervention or placebo showed that the plasma levels of LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides decreased more in the berberine group than in the control group.

  • Probiotics and prebiotics

The main mechanism of action of probiotics is the activation of the enzyme responsible for the deconization of bile acids (fat absorption disorders), which results in lipid-lowering effects.

  • Soy products

Lipid-lowering properties can also be found in soy products, which are the source of isoflavones.

  • Plant sterols and stanols

The use of functional food, which has additional functions besides nutritional, due to the addition of new ingredients to it – plant sterols, may have an impact on lowering the concentration of total cholesterol and LDL fraction. According to some researchers, consuming 2 g of sterols may exhibit this effect. Most often, the addition of plant sterols is found in margarines, oils or yoghurts. Natural sources of these ingredients include: vegetable oils, vegetables, fruits, legume seeds.

How to lower cholesterol? Herbs for lowering cholesterol:

  • Basil – reduces LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol
  • Dandelion – reduction of triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL fraction, increase of HDL cholesterol
  • Dill – decrease in serum triglycerides
  • Fenugreek – reduction of total cholesterol, LDL fraction and triglycerides
  • Ginseng – reduction of total cholesterol, LDL fraction and triglycerides
  • Green tea – affects the metabolism of lipids (fats)
  • Black seed – decrease in triglycerides and increase in HDL concentration
  • Evening primrose oil – to reduce triglycerides and total cholesterol
  • Artichoke – reduces the level of total cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood serum

Raised cholesterol levels are at great risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as, but not limited to, ischemic heart disease, including heart attack, arterial disease in the brain that leads to stroke, peripheral arterial disease, including aortic aneurysm, and many other diseases . Primary prevention of hypercholesterolaemia is based mainly on a properly balanced diet and physical activity. Lifestyle modification may sometimes be the only sufficient therapy. So if you’re wondering how to lower your cholesterol, try our advice slowly and keep an eye on your health!