What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance necessary for the body to form membranes, synthesize cortisol and other hormones, as well as vitamin D. Despite the fact that more than 75% of cholesterol is produced directly by the body (mainly in the liver) ¹, many people often mistakenly believe that this substance comes exclusively from food - and try to follow a “healthy” cholesterol-free diet.
Since cholesterol is not able to dissolve in the blood, it moves in the bloodstream with the help of carrier proteins. As a result of accession to such a carrier protein, two types of complexes are formed, conditionally called “bad” and “good” cholesterol². LDL (“bad” cholesterol) forms plaques, narrows the lumen of blood vessels and causes circulatory disturbances, while HDL (“good”) cleans arteries.
Scientific studies suggest that the rejection of fats and the transition to a cholesterol-free diet does not improve health at all, and can even provoke the body to reduce the production of its own “good” cholesterol. Whereas the main reason for the increase in hazardous substances is trans fats contained in convenience foods, margarine and fast food, as well as a sedentary lifestyle.
What increases cholesterol?
In the article about why cholesterol is elevated , Fitseven said that factors are divided into external and internal. The level of a substance in the blood really rises when eating foods that contain large amounts of cholesterol in its pure form. However, on the other hand, its high level is most often due to reasons not related to the content in food.
Smoking and other bad habits change the normal metabolism, accelerating the processes of LDL deposition on the walls of arteries. In addition, high cholesterol is usually associated with impaired production of the hormone golol leptin and high cortisol . Among other things, health risks increase with insufficient fiber intake and an excess of fast carbohydrates in the diet.
Despite the fact that chicken eggs really contain a lot of cholesterol - about 350 mg per egg - scientific studies prove that eating eggs does not harm health. First of all, the role is played by the fact that eggs contain a number of substances that balance the dangerous effects of cholesterol: from omega-3 fats useful for metabolism, to vitamins A, B2, B12, D and lecithin .
That is why there is no definite answer to the question of how many eggs can be eaten per day or week - in most cases it is not just about cholesterol in the eggs, but about a comprehensive assessment of the nutrition and health of a particular person³. There are cases where even with the regular use of dozens of eggs per day, people did not experience problems with bad cholesterol.
The content of nutrients in eggs:
- Selenium (16 mg per egg or 23% of the daily allowance),
- riboflavin (14% of the daily value),
- Vitamin B12 (11% normal)
- phosphorus (10%),
- pantothenic acid (7%),
- Vitamin A (5%)
- iron (5%),
- zinc (4% of the norm).
Do I have to give up eggs?
Nutritionists say that with which food products eggs are of fundamental importance. For example, from a steep egg with butter, it will predominantly turn into “bad" cholesterol. Exactly like fried eggs with sausage, bacon and bacon. But scrambled eggs in vegetable oil or boiled eggs, the concentration of "bad" cholesterol in the blood, most likely, will not increase.
However, despite the absence of any upper limit on the consumption of eggs, children (especially until 6-7 years of age) are not recommended to eat more than 10-15 eggs per week. The reason, again, is that too many chicken eggs make the diet “one-sided”, depriving the child’s body of vitamins and minerals that are simply not found in the eggs.
As we mentioned above, a complete rejection of sources of fats (and cholesterol) in food can harm health more than this substance itself. Remember that a diet without cholesterol should be observed only if your doctor has recommended it, for example, after a stroke or heart attack. For ordinary people, a similar diet is not required.
In addition, it is possible to lower blood cholesterol even without medication - unless, of course, health problems have grown into critical ones. Reducing dangerous LDL cholesterol always starts with an increase in daily physical activity - for example, by counting steps taken during the day. Modern recommendations suggest that a person should perform at least 6,000 steps per day .
Diet to lower cholesterol
A key rule to lowering bad cholesterol is to maximize your rejection of trans fats . Recall that they are molecules that appear in unsaturated (vegetable) oils during repeated high-temperature treatment. During frying and as a result of industrial processing of oils, their share can rise to a significant 20-50%.
Trans fats are found in any vegetable oil that has undergone secondary heating to high temperatures - primarily in deep-frying oils and for repeated frying of foods. In addition, trans fats can form in fatty foods when it is reheated - for example, in a microwave oven. Among other things, trans fats are found in margarine and pastries with its addition.
Cholesterol is an essential component of proper metabolism. The vast majority of cholesterol in the body is produced by the body itself, and no more than 20% comes from food. To reduce high cholesterol, you need to abandon trans fats and exercise regularly, while switching to a cholesterol-free diet and avoiding fats can do more harm than good.
- How it's made: Cholesterol production in your body, source
- What is cholesterol? GBUZ RCMP, link
- Everyone writes that Russians eat too many eggs. What time to eat less ?, link