Cholesterol, level of cholesterol, cholesterol levels – these terms have certainly been heard more often in recent years. Cholesterol problems are being diagnosed more and more often, especially among the older generation. The influence of cholesterol on health is quite considerable – if the level of cholesterol in the blood is too high, vascular calcification can occur, for example.
Doctors often prescribe medication to lower the level of cholesterol. But the right diet or a long-term change in diet can also contribute a lot to keeping your cholesterol level naturally low. We will now tell you which foods are healthy for you and your cholesterol, how you can avoid falling into a cholesterol trap by eating a healthy breakfast and how you can prevent having to take medication.
What cholesterol levels are “normal”?
Total cholesterol should not be higher than 200mg/dl (milligrams per decilitre). Total cholesterol is divided into HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein). The latter has a vascular-damaging effect and should therefore be kept low. The good HDL cholesterol should always be kept above 40mg/dl – this protects the blood vessels! The bad LDL cholesterol should never settle above 160mg/dl.
What kind of food should you avoid if you have high cholesterol?
Due to the abundance of food available, it is often difficult to find out which of the products you buy are really healthy for your body. However, if you want to watch your level of cholesterol, you should definitely avoid some Foods.
For example, meat that is too fatty is always a danger. In addition, crustaceans and shellfish should be avoided. Sausages with a high fat content can also lead to an increase in the level of cholesterol. Dairy products with high fat content are also a trap, including cheese, butter, milk and cream. Sweet pastries, sweetened drinks and sweets in general are all not always healthy for many reasons – including in relation to cholesterol balance. Fast food and convenience foods are also very high on the “no-no list”.
Does alcohol influence cholesterol levels?
Alcohol is a fixture in our society – many people consume at least a small amount almost every day. Although many studies do not attribute any good properties to alcohol in any quantities, the positive effect of moderate amounts of alcohol on the cardiovascular system cannot be denied. But what about cholesterol?
According to long-term studies at the University of Tampere in Finland, alcohol in small amounts leads to a reduction in LDL cholesterol and an increase in HDL cholesterol. In contrast to HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol is the bad variety! So should one drink alcohol to balance the level of cholesterol? This question is easy to answer: No. In larger quantities (more than 48 g per day, or a small beer) the risks outweigh the benefits. The increase in HDL cholesterol and the associated benefits are also rather marginal. The total cholesterol balance is affected just as much – total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol rise to the same extent.
So which food products lower the level of cholesterol naturally?
Animal products with a high fat content, such as fatty meat, whole milk, cheese or butter, as well as heavily sweetened foods and large amounts of alcohol, increase the level of cholesterol and should therefore be avoided. But which foods have the opposite effect and have a positive impact on your cholesterol levels? We have summarised the top 6 for you here:
1. Wholemeal products support a healthy level of cholesterol
All whole grain products are an important part of a healthy diet – something that has been known for centuries. Wholemeal flakes, mueslis, pasta and dark rice varieties are particularly rich in fibre and therefore very healthy. Already at breakfast you can make sure to do something good for yourself. The best way to start the day is with a healthy wholemeal muesli or wholemeal bread.
2. Legumes for improved cholesterol levels
Pulses, such as chickpeas, bean sprouts, beans or lentils, are a real goldmine when it comes to cholesterol. Not only are they healthy and keep us fit, they are also rich in vegetable protein and dietary fibre, which binds the unhealthy LDL cholesterol. All-rounders, so to speak.
3. Healthy fats from avocados
But now comes the real all-rounder: the avocado! The fat content of almost 30% in the ripe state may seem alarmingly high at first, but this very fat is very healthy! The avocado consists mainly of unsaturated fatty acids, which are good for the body. With its many positive properties, it truly belongs to the “superfood” category.
4. Fruit and vegetables against high levels of cholesterol
It should be clear to everyone by now that fruit and vegetables belong to a balanced and healthy diet like the amen to prayer. Be it the melanzani or the apple, both are very healthy for the human organism. Apples and pears are rich in pectin, which lowers the LDL concentration in the blood. So, for example, you can already refine your breakfast with fruit in the morning. There is also nothing better than starting the day with a Bircher muesli with freshly grated apple:
Bircher muesli recipe
- 50 g oat flakes
- 600 ml milk
- 1 lemon
- 4 apples
- 4 tablespoons grated or chopped hazelnuts
- Put the oat flakes in a bowl and cover them with water
- Place the mixture into the refrigerator and allow the mixture to swell for at least one hour
- Take the muesli out of the fridge in the morning and add the milk
- Grate the apples over the muesli and stir it into it
- Sprinkle the grated or chopped hazelnuts over the muesli
5. Green tea helps against high cholesterol levels
Tea lovers are now pricking up their ears. Green tea contains a lot of antioxidants and is therefore very positive for blood lipid levels. So those who generally like to drink green tea in the morning will be relieved – for everyone else the following applies: warm drinks for breakfast promote circulation and let you start the day more pleasantly. So why not give it a try?
6. Nuts as natural cholesterol reducers
Nuts are already very popular with us anyway. They taste delicious and are very healthy! When eaten in moderation, nuts such as walnuts, almonds or pistachios can lower cholesterol – it’s important not to eat too many at once and to choose the unsalted version. In order not to exceed your daily requirement of nuts, we would recommend topping your morning porridge with a tasty portion of nuts of your choice. This is not only a tasty start to the day, but also does something good for your body!
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