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Tips to live with cholesterol and ways to confront it

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Tips to live with cholesterol and ways to confront it


Do you suffer from high blood cholesterol? Here are some tips to live with it and lower blood cholesterol

Tips to live with cholesterol and ways to confront it

Should a blood lipid test be done for all people?

A blood lipid test (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides) is recommended for every adult over 20 years of age, and the test is

repeated every 5 years if LDL cholesterol is below 130 mg/dL, and every 1-3 years if LDL cholesterol levels are borderline. (130-160 mg/dL), this is especially important in patients with a history of coronary heart disease.

Is it necessary to check for LDL cholesterol particle size and LP(a) cholesterol levels?

These two tests are expensive, as the LDL particle size test costs about $200-300, and the measurement of LP(a) cholesterol levels costs about $100. These two tests are also not commonly available, and results vary significantly from one laboratory to another (results are not standardized by different laboratories so far).

However, these two tests are performed only in special cases determined by the doctor, for example, the occurrence of coronary heart disease in a young patient without high levels of LDL cholesterol or the presence of other risk factors.

How can atherosclerosis be prevented?

1. Reducing blood cholesterol (see later).

2. Stop smoking.

3. Refrain from consuming alcohol.

4. Treatment of high blood pressure.

5. Lose excess weight (through diet and exercise).

6. Exercise regularly.

7. Lifestyle modification, especially concerning diet (see later).

8. Good control of blood sugar in people with diabetes.

 How can hypercholesterolemia be managed?

There are three main steps in managing high blood lipids in general and cholesterol in particular:

1. Diet food.

2. Doing sports.

3. Pharmacotherapy.

What is the importance of diet in managing high blood cholesterol?

As we mentioned previously, about 20% of blood cholesterol comes through food from various animal sources such as meat, butter, cheese, and eggs... Therefore, reducing the dietary intake of cholesterol is important in managing hypercholesterolemia. In people without coronary heart disease, the daily intake of cholesterol should not exceed 300 mg, and in people with coronary heart disease, the daily amount of cholesterol should not exceed 200 mg. (Read more in our advice on lowering cholesterol ) 

The following table shows the cholesterol content of some foods.

foodWeight (gm)

Amount of cholesterol (mg)

Brain (lamb - cow)

100

2100

fish oil

100850

Chicken liver

100750

scrambled eggs

100500

caviar

100490

Kidneys

100410

yolk

100300

animal ghee

100250

Butter

100225

Prawns

100150

the heart

100150

sausage

100150

Calf's tongue

100140

canned sardines

100120

Lay sheep

100100

Full fat cheese

100100

cream

100100

red meat

10095

hamburger

one meal

75

Chicken

10075

fish meat

10070

Ice cream

10056

French fries

10014

Whole Fresh Milk

10011
 Skimmed milk
1003

Egg whites

-It does not contain cholesterol

Orange juice

-It does not contain cholesterol

Most vegetable oils

-It does not contain cholesterol

What are the foods that patients with high blood cholesterol are allowed to eat?

  • grains:

Wheat - rice - oats - corn - wholemeal bread.

  • vegetables and fruits:

All vegetables and fruits are allowed.

  • the milk:

Low-fat milk, skim milk, and cottage cheese.

  • Oils and greases:

Vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil, and mustard oil.

  • animal products:

Fish - egg white - chicken without the skin.

What foods are not allowed in patients with high blood cholesterol?

  • Cereal products:

Cakes - sweets - fast food.

  • fruits and vegetables:

Fried vegetables - fried potatoes - canned vegetables.

  • Dairy products:

Cheese - butter - cream - sweets - chocolate - ice cream.

  • Oils and greases:

Fried foods - obesity - coconut oil - palm - hydrogenated oils.

  • animal products:

Egg yolk - chicken with skin - all organic meat (liver - medulla - brain - kidney - heart).

  • Miscellaneous:

Biscuits - sauces.

What is the most important nutritional advice for patients with high blood cholesterol?

The first step in managing high blood cholesterol is knowledge, and we mean health education for the patient, who must know everything related to cholesterol from harmful health effects on the body. Of course, this information must be simplified and understood by the patient.

It is necessary to know which fats are beneficial to the body and do not raise the level of cholesterol and which ones are harmful. As we mentioned earlier, saturated fats lead to high blood cholesterol, so they must be avoided. The following table shows examples of foods that contain saturated fats and unsaturated fats.

Fat typefood sources
Saturated fat

Animal sources :
beef, pork and their fats, chicken fat, butter, milk, cheese, and other dairy products.

Plant sources :
Coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter, and tropical oils.

unsaturated fats*

Sunflower oil, sesame oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and olive oil.

*Many unsaturated fats turn into saturated fats when preparing food.

As for other nutritional advice, the most important ones are:

1. The diet should include foods that help reduce cholesterol such as apples, bananas, carrots, fish, beans, olive oil, and garlic (it is believed that onions and garlic help lower blood cholesterol, but in fact, studies are still inconclusive).

2. It is necessary to eat a lot of fiber, especially water-soluble fibers that help lower blood cholesterol. These fibers are found in fruits, barley, beans, rice, and oats.

3. Eat fresh juices such as carrot juice.

4. Limiting the daily intake of cholesterol to 300 mg. In the case of coronary disease, the daily intake should not exceed 200 mg.

5. Use cold-pressed unrefined oils, which are oils that have never been heated to more than 42 degrees Celsius during preparation.

6. Reducing the number of saturated fats in food (animal fats, palm oil, and coconut oil) and increasing unsaturated fats (vegetable oils).

7. Read the contents of foods carefully and check their cholesterol and fat content and the quality of these fats.

8. Do not eat hydrogenated fats, solid fats, and oils such as margarine.

9. Avoid as much as possible fried foods and prefer eating grilled or boiled meat.

10. It is recommended to eat brown bread and rely on starches such as potatoes, wheat, and pasta instead of fat.

11. Stay away from egg yolks, kidneys, brain, and liver, and it is allowed to eat 2-3 eggs per week, while egg whites are allowed.

12. Moderation in eating milk and low-fat yogurt as well as low-fat cheese. Skimmed milk and cheese can be eaten without restrictions.

13. Stay away from the animal and municipal ghee, butter, cream and cream, and it is recommended to use ghee made from corn oil.

14. It is always preferable to use olive oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil in cooking food or preparing salads.

15. Don't eat nuts.

 You should pay attention to the percentage of cholesterol and fat in the different foodstuffs that we buy from the market.

 What is the importance of exercise in lowering blood cholesterol?

Exercise plays an important and effective role in reducing the level of blood cholesterol, as regular exercise leads to raising the levels of good HDL cholesterol and reducing the level of bad LDL cholesterol. To benefit from sports well, some principles must be taken care of, namely:

1. Exercising gradually, as many resorts to strenuous exercises for a long period when exercising (for example, jogging daily for half an hour, doing push-ups, swimming or cycling), most of them do not continue these exercises for long, hardly a week or ten elapse Days without boredom and they stop exercising.

Therefore, the gradual exercise in sports was one of the most important reasons for a person to continue with it, and it is necessary to set a specific goal with light exercises at the beginning and for short periods, then gradually increase it until we reach our goal. For example, we start with a brisk walk for ten minutes every two days, then increase the period to a quarter of an hour and then a third of an hour until we reach about 30-40 minutes every two days.

2. Sports activities are wide and varied. When choosing a specific activity, it must be enjoyable for the person, that is, we ask him to choose the activities he loves, such as swimming, cycling, jogging, dancing or walking...etc.

3. Sports activity must be diversified as much as possible according to the circumstances of the time and place. For example, it is possible to exercise indoors (stretching the muscles or jogging in the place..etc) if it is raining.

4. Regularity: Continuity and regularity in exercising are the most important things that make us benefit from these exercises. Sports must be made part of daily life or weekly routine.

Following the previous principles makes us benefit from exercise well in maintaining the ideal weight and losing weight in case of obesity, in addition to reducing blood cholesterol.

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