How can LDL be lowered
People who have been found to have high cholesterol can make a significant contribution to normalizing blood cholesterol by eating a healthy diet. A purely low-cholesterol diet is ineffective; a change to an overall balanced diet is much more necessary. In particular, fresh vegetables, fruits and high-fiber foods such as whole grains should occupy a larger place on the menu. Weight reduction is only necessary if you are overweight in order to counteract increasing hardening of the arteries and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. For every 10 kg of weight loss, a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 8 mg / dl can be expected. We recommend individually tailored nutritional advice, which is increasingly being offered in medical practices. A BMI under 25 and a waist circumference under 94 cm (women under 80 cm) should be aimed for.
Avoid foods that are high in sugar
To avoid or reduce obesity, the intake of too much sugar and simple carbohydrates (e.g. glucose), as found in many supposedly healthy ready-made products such as breakfast cereals and heavily sweetened yogurts, should be reduced. With these and other products, it is worth taking a look at the information on the sugar content.
Avoid too many cold cuts and ready-made products
The proportion of animal fats, for example in sausages and dairy products, should be reduced in favor of vegetable oils. However, increased consumption of hydrogenated vegetable fats, as found in many baked goods and some margarines, is not a sensible alternative to animal fats. These oxidized fats can increase the level of unhealthy oxycholesterol in the blood, which, according to recent studies, leads to increased deposits in the arteries. Oxycholesterol in the form of hydrogenated fats is added to many finished products to improve their consistency, taste or shelf life.
Increase good cholesterol - Mediterranean food is ideal
A balanced diet with vegetable instead of animal fats can - in addition to weight loss and regular exercise - also have a positive effect on the HDL value. Instead of animal fats, vegetable fats and oils with polyunsaturated fatty acids should be preferred. Finally, the HDL ensures that excess cholesterol is transported from the arterial walls back to the liver, where it can be excreted in the bile. A lot of HDL - as opposed to a lot of LDL - can lead to a drop in cholesterol, which also has a certain protective effect against arteriosclerosis and heart attacks. Therefore, the cholesterol bound to HDL is often referred to as “good cholesterol”.
The so-called Mediterranean diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and fish has proven to be particularly beneficial for the cholesterol level. The so-called omega-3 fatty acids and their precursors seem to be of particular importance, with omega-3 fatty acids having less of an effect on the cholesterol level than on the triglycerides. In addition to fish, so-called pasture meat also contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are particularly important. Unfortunately, vegetable sources of omega-3 fat such as flaxseed oil mainly only contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Although this can be converted to EPA and DHA in the human body, this only happens in a tiny amount. Animals, on the other hand, are very good at converting ALA into EPA and DHA. Products from pure pasture husbandry such as pasture meat are therefore rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Already a few weeks after a change in diet combined with a more active lifestyle, a lowering of the cholesterol level in the blood can usually be noticed.
A handful of walnuts every day
In 2017, a study at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich examined the effect of consuming 43 grams (about a handful) of walnuts daily. This easy-to-use diet supplement with natural walnuts has significantly reduced the LDL and triglyceride levels. It didn't matter when the walnuts were eaten. It can be taken with a main meal, but it can also be spread as a snack during the day. The main reason for the positive effect on the cholesterol level is the omega-3 fatty acids contained in walnuts.
How increased triglyceride levels can be reduced
An elevated triglyceride level is particularly problematic in connection with low HDL levels. High triglyceride levels can be effectively reduced by restricting alcohol consumption and the consumption of sugary foods. By the way: If the triglyceride level drops after a change in diet, the total cholesterol also falls and the ratio of HDL to LDL improves. HDL cholesterol can also be increased through increased physical activity.
The triglycerides cannot be influenced by drugs as well as the cholesterol. Fibrates and nicotinic acid are used. Statins can also lower triglycerides. However, they are also used in cases of elevated triglycerides in order to lower the general risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering LDL cholesterol. In justified cases, fibrates and statins can also be prescribed together. However, the active ingredient gemfibrozil must not be taken as the fibrate. Since the risk of muscle disease is significantly increased with the combination of fibrate / statin, this therapy should only be carried out with strict monitoring of the muscle enzymes. We would be happy to advise you in our cholesterol consultation hours.
In the case of an inherited (family-related) lipid metabolism disorder, a change in diet alone is usually not enough to achieve the required LDL target values. A healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet is the basis of a successful therapy for high cholesterol even in these cases.
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