Cholesterol: what diet to adopt?
Dietary adjustments are the first step of the treatment, and can lower blood cholesterol by 10 to 15%. More than a diet, it is a new way of eating, always keeping the pleasure of the plate.
Table of contents
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a natural fat, essential to the body, produced by the liver and supplied by the diet. In order to circulate in the blood, cholesterol must bind to “carriers” which may be good or bad cholesterol.
The balance consists in having a lot of good cholesterol and as little bad cholesterol as possible.
- LDL-Cholesterol is the bad cholesterol.
- HDL-Cholesterol is the good cholesterol.
The ideal level of total blood cholesterol is 1.8 to 2.0 g/L.
However, the good cholesterol should be higher than 0.35 g/L and the bad cholesterol lower than 1.6 g/L. It is important to remember that the good cholesterol, added to the bad cholesterol, gives the total cholesterol level.
The metabolic syndrome
It is the association of obesity, an increase in abdominal perimeter which must be 102 cm in men and 88 cm in women, and a biological disturbance.
METABOLIC SYNDROME NUMBERS:
- Fasting blood glucose greater than 1.20 g/L.
- Total cholesterol greater than or equal to 2.30 g/L (2 g/L if associated risk factors).
- HDL cholesterol less than 0.45 g/L in men and 0.55 g/L in women.
- LDL cholesterol greater than 1.30 g/L (if no risk factors).
- Triglycerides above 1.5 g/L
How to limit cholesterol and triglycerides in my diet?
THE RULES FOR CHOLESTEROL AND DIET ARE OFTEN SIMPLE:
Eliminate sugary snacks (sweets, sugar, sweetened beverages), very fatty products (fried foods, breading, doughnuts and cooking oils, cheesy dishes, puff pastries), as well as any alcohol intake.
We limit, without prohibiting, the consumption of red (fatty) meats, fatty dairy products, cold cuts, sauces, and the intake of dietary cholesterol like eggs. Limit the amount of sugar in food. We restrict commercialized ready-made meals, as well as restaurants or fast food outlets.
Favour products that are naturally rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6, such as seasoning oils (sunflower, olive and rapeseed oils) and seafood (fish, shellfish). We enrich our diet with fiber, with certain whole foods (cereals, breads, starchy foods) and especially by clearly increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables at each meal, to reach a minimum of five fruits and vegetables per day. The use of fiber-rich foods limits the absorption of ingested fats, which makes it possible to “limit” without prohibiting the consumption of many products.
We change our way of cooking: we prefer grilling for meat and fish, steaming or pressure cooking for vegetables. This reduces the fat content of foods and allows them to be eaten in moderation (low-fat red meat, for example).
- Fresh or cooked vegetables
- Fiber (fresh vegetables, lentils, beans, dried beans)
- Unflavored water, herbal tea without sugar
- Plain yogurt
Wisely but normally
- Lean and fatty fish (sardines, tuna, salmon, halibut, mackerel), seafood
- Lean meat cooked on the grill
- Starchy foods: rice, pasta, potatoes (without sauce)
- Whole grain cereals with no added sugar
- Wholemeal bread, bran bread, rye bread, country bread or traditional French bread
- Fresh fruits and compotes.
- ½ skimmed milk
- Oils such as olive, walnut, rapeseed…
- Vegetable margarines enriched in Omega 3 and 6
Authorized but limited (caution!)
- Whole milk.
- Hidden or added sugars in cereals, pastries, or other dishes
Exceptionally for special occasions
- Sweetened drinks
- Pastries, sweets
- Alcohol, wine, beer
- Dishes in sauce
- Fried food, breading, cheese dishes, doughnuts (sweet or salty)
- Mayonnaise, various sauces
OUR PRACTICAL ADVICE
- Lightly season your raw vegetables with a tablespoon of oil (per serving of one person).
- Cook without fat (grill, papillote, water, steam, wok)
- For butter lovers, spread lightly in a thin layer.
- Avoid the fatty products mentioned above.
- Favour lean meat and fish.
- Beware of low-fat margarines and butters, which also contain fat, and whose “low-fat” name encourages you to eat more of them.
Be careful! Certain drug treatments (statin-based) commonly prescribed to treat hypercholesterolemia have side effects that predispose to the appearance of tendonitis!
Long live physical activity !!!!
The combination of a balanced diet and a daily physical activity of at least 30 minutes allows to fight against the harmful cardiovascular effects of lipidic disorders and excess cholesterol. Physical activity and sports allow the mobilization of fats, and favors the decrease of bad cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol that protects our arteries. All physical activity has a beneficial effect on blood lipids and contributes effectively to weight regulation and reduces the risk of complications related to overweight and obesity. Moving on a daily basis, practicing physical activity is an essential and indispensable complement to the whole treatment against cholesterol.