Cholesterol and diet

What exactly is cholesterol, what functions does the body perform and what diet should be introduced so as not to worry about the deterioration of health? Familiarize yourself with the following article – cholesterol and diet!

Cholesterol  – what is it?

Cholesterol is a sterol, and therefore one of the complex fats (more about fats you can read here – Fats in the diet). It is a component of cell membranes and occurs in all animal tissues. Cholesterol is not found in plants. From 60 to 80% of cholesterol in the body is synthesized internally, mainly in the liver and small intestine. This amount is completely sufficient for the needs of body systems, theoretically there is no need to provide cholesterol with food. In practice, 20% to 40% of cholesterol is provided by a daily diet. In the blood, cholesterol occurs in two varieties of LDL – “bad cholesterol”, as a result of combination with lipoproteins and HDL – “healthy cholesterol”. This division does not apply to food – the division into HDL and LDL occurs only after metabolism of foods.The optimal ratio of HDL to LDL in the blood should be less than 3.

Cholesterol – functions in the body

Cholesterol has important functions in our body. Here are the key ones:

• is a precursor of steroid hormones in the adrenal cortex and sex hormones

• is the starting compound for the synthesis of bile acids necessary for the digestion of fats

• is necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D3

Threats resulting from elevated LDL cholesterol

First of all, elevated cholesterol is the main factor in the development of atherosclerosis, and also increases the likelihood of ischemic heart disease. On the basis of numerous studies, however, it turned out that the cholesterol level in food has very little effect on the increase in the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood. The biggest changes were noted in people who before the start of the study used a low cholesterol diet. Attempts to show the relationship between developing ischemic heart disease and increasing the supply of cholesterol in food are also not conclusive. As a result of inconclusive tests, however, it is recommended to limit cholesterol in the daily diet. AHA (American Heart Association) and European research groups have identified 300 mg of cholesterol per day as a safe amount.

Cholesterol and eating eggs

It turns out that you can rule out the harmful effects of cholesterol in the product if there is a specific proportion between choline and cholesterol. This correct proportion is represented by equation:

Choline mg / d = 0.724 * cholesterol mg / d + 21.5

Eggs contain 200 to 300 mg of choline, as well as about 200 mg of cholesterol. After using the above formula, we will see that the values ??of choline and cholesterol are similar. There is therefore no reason to limit this product because of its negative effect on LDL.

The level of cholesterol in the blood – what reduces it, and what raises it?

The LDL value is certainly raised by saturated fatty acids and unsaturated trans fats, and therefore hardened vegetable fats. By consuming unsaturated omega 6 and dietary fiber, we will lower LDL.

We increase our HDL levels by consuming products rich in unsaturated fatty acids – omega 6 and omega 3. Monounsaturated fatty acids are also likely to increase the HDL fraction. As with LDL, the HDL value raises hardened vegetable fats.

Cholesterol and diet – conclusions

Limit the consumption of saturated fat (up to 10% of total energy from the diet) and hardened vegetable oils (trans isomers). Do not be afraid of healthy fats! Increase the supply of foods rich in monounsaturated acids and EFAs – essential fatty acids, especially omega – 6. You will find them in grape seed, sunflower seeds, nuts and seeds oil – but eat them only cold! You do not need to significantly reduce the amount of eggs in the menu.

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