How does diet affect blood cholesterol?
- Diets high in total fat, cholesterol and saturated fats contribute to high blood cholesterol. Both, the amount and the type of fat influence blood cholesterol.
- All fats are composed of either saturated or unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids can be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Food fats generally contain a mix of all these kinds of fatty acids. It is primarily the saturated fats that are linked to higher blood cholesterol levels.
- Dietary cholesterol is the cholesterol found in the food we eat. All animal food products contain some cholesterol.
- Dietary cholesterol seems to contribute to higher blood cholesterol when consumed in large amounts along with saturated fats.
- People differ in their ability to handle cholesterol in the diet because the level at which our body manufactures cholesterol also varies.As we increase our consumption of dietary cholesterol, our body cuts back on its own production.
- For most of us, this works very well. However, some people cannot adjust their internal cholesterol production with their intake of dietary cholesterol. Too much saturated fat in the diet can further compound the effects of dietary cholesterol.
How can blood cholesterol be lowered through diet?
- The most effective way to lower blood cholesterol is to eat less saturated fat and avoid food products rich in cholesterol.
- Replacing saturated fatty acids with monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids and increasing the intake of complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre can lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Choose foods rich in complex carbohydrates and fibre in place of high fat foods.
Hints to make right food choices
- Avoid foods that contain a lot of cholesterol, like meats and egg yellow.
- Eat less fat especially saturated fats, generally obtained from animal sources.
- Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables as salad in your diet.
- Avoid fatty and fried foods such as pakoras, puris, paranthas, samosas and cutlets.
- Maintain a normal body weight.
- Restrict the intake of sweets including sugar, barfi, gulab jamuns, ras gullas, pastries and cakes.
- Avoid colas and other carbonated drinks.
- Stop smoking.
- Restrict alcohol intake.
- Exercise regularly to keep fit. Yoga is good.
- Reduce stress and relax after work.
- Follow-up regularly with the doctor