Having high blood cholesterol levels seriously endangers one’s health. People with high blood cholesterol levels are exposed to many illnesses, including cardio-vascular disease, gastro-intestinal disorders, kidney failure and even cancer. There are many factors that contribute to the accumulation of cholesterol inside the body: age, gender, genetic heritage, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, inappropriate diet, smoking, and alcohol. Around 20 percent of people in the United States have high blood cholesterol levels and therefore they are at risk of developing heart diseases and other circulatory conditions.
Although you can’t change some factors that enable the accumulation of cholesterol inside the body, by quitting smoking, by avoiding the consumption of alcohol, by following a healthy diet and by exercising regularly, you will be able to reduce blood cholesterol deposits and hence, minimize the risk of heart disease.
There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein, also referred to as “bad cholesterol” and high-density lipoprotein, also called “good cholesterol”. Excessive body accumulation of bad cholesterol is very harmful. Bad cholesterol sticks to the inner walls of arteries, forming plaque and blocking the normal blood flow. If this type of cholesterol clogs the coronary arteries, there is a high risk of heart disease. Good cholesterol collects low-density lipoprotein in the bloodstream and brings it to the liver, where it is broken down into other substances. It is desirable to have high levels of good cholesterol and low levels of bad cholesterol inside the organism, in order to maintain good health.
You can raise the levels of good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol values by following a good diet. Low cholesterol recipes should be preferred over fast food or processed supermarket foods. Low cholesterol recipes should contain small amounts of saturated fat rich foods (meats, dairy products, eggs), as they are very harmful to the body. Low cholesterol recipes should include plenty of vegetables and fruits, as they are rich in fibers, vitamins and minerals. Fresh fruits also contain natural anti-oxidants, which decongest the arteries clogged with cholesterol.
Use low-fat meat in your low cholesterol recipes (lean cuts of poultry and beef) and include more fish and seafood in your diet (mackerel, sardines, salmon, tuna, herring). Fish is rich in omega-3 oils, which can reduce blood cholesterol. Refrigerate meat for a few days before cooking it, in order to remove excess cholesterol and fat.
A good low cholesterol recipe should replace regular cooking oil with olive oil. Also, you should replace butter with vegetal margarine when preparing your low cholesterol recipes. It is best to avoid frying your food and therefore consider boiling, broiling, baking, roasting or steaming it instead. This way you will be able to reduce the intake of cholesterol and fat with your meals. Try to reduce the amount of simple carbohydrates (sweets) in your low cholesterol recipes and include more complex carbohydrate-rich foods in your diet: pasta, whole wheat products, rice, beans, dried peas and sweet potatoes.
You need to consume plenty of fluids in order to help your body eliminate surplus cholesterol and therefore include plenty of vegetable soups in your low cholesterol recipes. Use healthy foods in your low cholesterol recipes and you will be able to maintain your blood cholesterol levels in check.