Fish, avocado, walnuts, granola, and low-fat yogurt help prevent cardiovascular disease, lower cholesterol levels, and soothe the body.
The high level of cholesterol in the blood is the first risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the main cause of death in the US and in the world. The second factor is high blood pressure. And in both cases, a balanced diet and balanced nutrition are key. So here are some questions arises that what foods to eat to lower cholesterol level? And what are the worst foods for high cholesterol? In this article, we give the answers to these frequently asked questions and a list of low cholesterol diet recipes. Keep reading and know the top five junk food replacements to lower your cholesterol level.
Nutritionists point out that it is important to work preventively on modifiable risk factors of high cholesterol such as for overweight, obesity, and poor diet, with a high content of saturated fat, sugars and sodium, and low fiber intake. They also recommend increasing physical activity and reducing smoking.
“With an adequate and balanced diet, we can reduce up to 20 percent of blood cholesterol. The other 80 percent is not dependent on what we eat but domestic production, which our liver generates” Nutritionist explained.
Improving the selection of foods consumed daily and the “eating pattern” can contribute to the prevention of all chronic non-communicable diseases.
Regularly practicing physical activity, avoiding tobacco consumption, reducing the consumption of sodium, sugars, and trans fats, moderating alcohol consumption, and controlling tension levels arterial and plasma cholesterol. With these measures, cardiovascular disease could be prevented, and you could achieve healthy body weight.
Nutritionist proposes replacing foods that contain less healthy fats with others with better fat quality. Here are the five junk food replacements to lower cholesterol.
1. Fish instead of the red meat
The red meat contains a high percentage of long-chain saturated fats where palmitic acid predominates. The increased consumption of these fats has an atherogenic effect, which means that it can increase the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries.
The fish have very healthy fats body polyunsaturated mainly omega-three as DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) of potent effects on cardiovascular health.
Diet guides recommend consuming fish no less than twice a week. The healthiest are those with the highest content of these good fats. Which are? Sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel, horse mackerel, trout or herring.
Another alternative is to replace beef with pork, as it contains a better fat profile. Regarding poultry such as chicken, the amount of fat will depend on the cut that is chosen. It is recommended to opt for the breast because it has very little fat. If possible, do not consume the skin, legs, or wings.
2. Stewed avocado, better than butter
The butter contains saturated fats and although they are not as harmful as the fat of the red meat, it is recommended to reduce their consumption. Butyric acid is the main type of fat in butter and it could be seen that moderate consumption is not dangerous. Eating up to 15 grams of butter a day is not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
A good replacement to eat with bread or toast, with more “good” fats, is avocado since it has a high proportion of monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid, also known as omega nine. The oleic acid also can be found in the olive oil (typical of the Mediterranean diet), canola oil, and dried fruit.
3. Dried fruits, better than French fries
The products like chips are ultra-processed food and contain a high amount of salt, fat, and carbohydrates rapidly absorbed. The oil has polyunsaturated fats that are considered good fats, but when the heat is applied at high temperatures such as frying, the fatty acids in the oil can undergo chemical modifications such as hydrolysis, peroxidation and the formation of trans acids. These are the most damaging since in addition to increasing total blood cholesterol, they raise bad cholesterol (LDL), reduce good cholesterol (HDL), and stimulate the inflammatory response at the level of the vessels.
A good replacement is dried fruits since they provide the body with good “fats”. The nuts are the ones we provide a higher content of omega-three in the form of linolenic acid, which is considered an essential fatty acid for our body. The rest of the dried fruits, such as almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and peanuts, contain a large number of monounsaturated fats that are of very good quality.
It is recommended to consume 30 grams a day of dried fruits, the equivalent of a handful. Do not take more because they have high energy content. Every 100 grams contain between 500 and 700 calories. Another good option is roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds, green or black olives. They have a lot of monounsaturated fats, just like olive oil.
The objective is to improve the quality of the fats that we contribute to the diet.
4. Granola, as a morning or mid-afternoon snack
The “classic” cereal flakes, those that are obtained industrially in supermarket shelves are not healthy due to a large amount of sugar they contain. Even those without added sugar are processed foods with fast-absorbing starches and high sodium content.
They can be replaced by granola, which is a mix that contains: rolled oats, dried fruits, raisins, and other dehydrated fruits. The Oatmeal is a highly nutritious cereal containing a high content of soluble fiber, such as beta-glucan, which helps reduce plasma cholesterol values.
Also, those cereals with a fiber of wheat or oat bran are good alternatives to continue adding fiber to the diet. Added of course to the fiber contribution that fresh fruits and vegetables contain.
5. Low-fat yogurt, for a healthier intestine
This type of food, within the dairy group, is very healthy due to its contribution to probiotics, microorganisms (bacteria) that provide healthy effects to the body, and contribute to the achievement of a healthy intestinal microbiota.
It is recommended to consume skim yogurt because the whole ones have a higher amount of sugar. In any case, what is recommended is the consumption of yogurt without sugar.
Those are the best five junk food replacements for lower cholesterol levels. Take low cholesterol and a balanced diet and prevent yourself from cardiovascular disease.