Lower cholesterol: 5 misconceptions and 3 tips – What you can do yourself if your cholesterol level is too high
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Lower cholesterol: 5 misconceptions and 3 tips – What you can do yourself if your cholesterol level is too high

Misconception 1: If you have high cholesterol, you shouldn’t eat fat or eggs

Fortunately, this is not true. There are even fatty foods like nuts that can help lower cholesterol levels. That’s why former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and his wife have nuts on their breakfast table every day!

Other foods – such as toast or pasta – contain hardly any fat, but are converted by the body into triglycerides (the most important blood fats, along with cholesterol), which can clog the arteries or be stored in fatty tissue. So it’s important to take a closer look!

The German Nutrition Society recommends limiting daily fat intake to 60 to 80 grams of fat per day. In fact, Germans consume an average of around 100 to 120 grams. Are you one of them?

This amount is quickly reached when you consider that a bratwurst with chips and mayo already contains 87 grams of fat. A bar of chocolate and 100 grams of chips already cover the recommended daily allowance!

Goodbye, breakfast egg?

Fortunately, we now know that this is not true. Eggs are quite healthy because they contain high-quality protein, fat and few carbohydrates. They also provide us with various vitamins such as A, D and B12 as well as folic acid, sodium, calcium and more.

Simply avoiding foods that contain cholesterol – eggs, for example – hardly changes your cholesterol level. However, it is still important to eat the right amount of protein!

Misconception 2: Cholesterol is bad

Well, cholesterol really does have a really bad image. Surprising for many: Cholesterol is essential for life. The body needs blood fat to build cell walls, to produce vitamin D and to produce hormones, such as the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.

Too much – especially of the “wrong” LDL cholesterol – is still not good. We explain here how you can find out what the situation is for you.

Misconception 3: Only medication can help against high cholesterol levels

Many people who have high blood lipid levels are prescribed medication by their doctor – so-called statins. This sounds reasonable at first, because their effectiveness has been proven by numerous independent studies.

However, more exercise and a change in diet should always come before taking medicationThis can lower the values ​​and may even make it unnecessary to take any tablets at all.

If cholesterol levels are permanently elevated and other risk factors are present, treatment with medication is often necessary. However, it is important to keep in mind that statins increase the risk of diabetes because they can increase blood sugar levels.

Misconception 4: Cholesterol is equal to cholesterol

It is worth taking a look at the differences: Cholesterol is a blood fat that is LDL (low-density lipoproteins) and HDL (high-density lipoproteins). About three quarters are produced by the body, the rest we absorb through food.

LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterolThe value should be low because: Increased LDL cholesterol is deposited in the walls of the blood vessels and leads to arteriosclerosis. As a result, the vessels narrow, less blood passes through and the tissue is not supplied with enough oxygen. The consequences are angina pectoris, heart attack, stroke or dementia.

A sufficiently high HDL value, on the other hand, is beneficial: It transports excess cholesterol from the vessel wall back to the liver to convert it into bile acid and excrete it.

Misconception 5: Slim people have low cholesterol levels

Not always: Contrary to popular belief, there are also overweight people with perfectly normal cholesterol levels and slim people with high cholesterol levels. The most recent example: the very slim wife of former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who had higher cholesterol levels than her husband despite a healthy diet – and has now got this under control with exercise and a targeted diet!

So what could be the reason why a person is slim, eats healthily and yet still has values ​​that are too high? Then the high cholesterol level could be inherited – this is then called hypercholesterolemia.

According to a Danish study, it affects approximately one in 300 people worldwide, but only about 15 percent of those affected are aware of their disease and the associated risks.

Quick and easy tips for everyday life – How to keep cholesterol under control

Tip 1: How to assess your own cholesterol levels

To determine whether you have high cholesterol, it is sufficient to have your cholesterol levels measured in your blood. Total cholesterol, HDL and LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides are examined for the diagnosis.

A cheap option is Total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dl and a LDL cholesterol level below 115 mg/dl.

What is also worthwhile for you: Looking at the ratio of the two types of cholesterol to each other, the so-called LDL/HDL ratio: If there are no other risk factors, this value should be below 4.

Tip 2: With these simple nutritional tips you can keep your cholesterol under control

Good to know: A balanced diet can have a positive effect on blood lipid levels and at the same time reduce other health risks such as high blood pressure, obesity and type 2 diabetes!

Nutrition tips – What you should pay attention to:

  • Reduce simple carbohydrates such as pasta, rice, potatoes, white bread or toast and opt for whole grain products instead, as they keep you full for a long time and are good for your intestines.
  • Make sure you include plenty of vegetables in your daily diet, and low-sugar fruits such as dark berries are also suitable
  • Top tip: Oats, for example as oat flakes or oat bran! They contain the valuable beta-glucan, which can help regulate cholesterol levels.
  • Protein – but properly! 2-3 times a day low-fat dairy products, nuts or pulses, occasionally eggs, fish or meat are a good mix.
  • What is often overlooked: Hidden fats and sugars in ready meals and fast food – pay more attention to them.
  • The right fats even help to lower cholesterol levels: linseed oil, olive oil, rapeseed oil instead of butter or lard.
  • Nuts act like a medicine: 1 small handful daily can lower cholesterol by 10 to 20%.
  • No sweet drinks like lemonades; juices always as spritzers, little alcohol.

In addition to the right diet, small tricks in everyday life can also help to lower cholesterol levels:

  • Remove the pieces of fat from the meat and do not eat them with
  • Buy dairy products with reduced fat and pay attention to sugar in the ingredients
  • It is better to cook food in the oven instead of frying it in a pan – this also saves fat
  • Use coated pans – this way you will need to use less fat
  • Favorite trick: Add the food only after the fat in the pan has heated up – this way the food absorbs less of it.

And don’t forget: exercise works!

You’ve probably already guessed it: nutrition is only one side of the coin – abstinence from alcohol, smoking, regular exercise and weight loss are other pillars on which a low cholesterol level is based.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 2.5 to 5 hours of physical activity per week – such as walking, swimming or cycling!

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