Cholesterol is used by the body in many important areas, such as protecting the nerves, the composition of cells and the production of certain hormones. The largest proportion of cholesterol, 80%, required to meet the needs of the human body, is produced in the liver. The remaining 20% comes from the diet. It is better to come from the healthy Mediterranean diet.
High concentrations of cholesterol in the blood, especially the bad cholesterol LDL, are detrimental to health. It contributes to the creation and growth of atherosclerosis of the arteries, which is the cause of heart attacks and strokes. The reduction of elevated LDL, bad cholesterol, in the blood, removes substantially the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
The initial recommendation to people with high bad cholesterol LDL, changes in lifestyle and diet. Then, if you do not have the desired effect, the doctor will decide what kind of drugs which lower cholesterol, which will be granted to you. The goal is to reduce LDL cholesterol and prevent serious diseases affecting the heart, brain, arteries and the cardiovascular system in general.
The main non-pharmaceutical measures to be implemented to reduce LDL cholesterol include:
1. Healthy Mediterranean diet low in animal fat and rich in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Saturated fats should be limited to less than 7% of total calories consumed to maintain a normal body weight. Dietary cholesterol should not exceed 200 mg daily. Foods rich in saturated fats are the liver, other viscera, fatty meats, egg yolk and full-fat dairy products
2. Food rich in soluble fibre. These include oats, oranges, pears, Brussels sprouts, carrots, peas, beans and other legumes
3. Foods low in saturated fats prevent the free milk or low (1%) in fat, fish, poultry without skin, meat without fat, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables. All of these are basic components of the Mediterranean diet.
4. Avoid consumption of products containing animal fats. This category of dietary fat is widely used and increases the bad LDL cholesterol in the blood. Instead, preference is given to poor content of margarines in saturated fats and little or better, no animal fats
5. The products are rich in plant sterols and stanols (enriched orange juice, margarine, milk) help to reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood
6. Regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day 3 or better on all days of the week: Exercise increases the good HDL cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol LDL. Let us also not forget that exercise reduces appetite and helps us for better weight control and obesity prevention
7. Reduce or even better quit smoking.
8. Limit or avoid alcohol consumption.
9. Proper management of daily stress. This can be achieved with proper training.
10. Avoid sleep deprivation
11. Maintain normal weight for body height, avoiding obesity
From all the above it can be clearly seen that Mediterranean diet is a must for healthy and cholesterol-free living.