Eating, favourite pastime of everyone in the world, is one of the most natural ways to celebrate the winter months. Often in our desire to relax with relatives and friends we move from one dish to another and lose sight of how much and what exactly we have eaten and drunk during the day. As a result, we overindulge and end up overeating, which more vividly than ever illustrates the fact that the type of foods and drinks we ingest are important to how we feel afterwards. At moments like these, a little care in choosing the right food and drink (if we ignore the quantity for a minute) can help us feel better and avoid the health issues that arise, such as high cholesterol levels, etc.
What is cholesterol and what does it depend on?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid that is produced by the liver and many other cells both in animals and humans and which is extremely important in controlling metabolism, the production of certain hormones (estrogen, testosterone and adrenaline), bile acid (the breakdown of fats and absorption of minerals and other elements) and vitamin D. Cholesterol is produced by the body itself, without the need for us to consume foods that contain it and is transported into the blood by “suppliers” called lipoproteins. There are two transport systems for cholesterol:
- Low density lipoprotein (LDL) – transports most cholesterol to cells. Known as “bad” cholesterol, it affects the cardiovascular system and can clog arteries.
- High density lipoprotein (HDL) – known as “good” cholesterol, helps remove excess cholesterol from cells by sending it to the liver and then excreting it from the body. Low HDL is a prerequisite for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Cholesterol levels are most often affected by several factors: genes (some people have a hereditary predisposition to high cholesterol levels), age (with age, cholesterol rises in the blood and it is even more important to be careful with its levels), gender , diet, physical activity, weight, alcohol and smoking. We have no influence over some of these factors, but over others we do.
What should we eat if we want to move our cholesterol in the right direction?
If you like salads – choose fresh (tomatoes, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, carrots) over mayonnaise (Russian). It is no coincidence that the Mediterranean diet of fish and fresh salads is considered recommended for those who want to live longer.
If there are beans and sausage on the menu, the better option for those with high cholesterol is beans. One of the most traditional foods, beans are ideal for people with high blood sugar and cholesterol because they are low in fat and sugar.
If you have decided to indulge with whiskey and nuts, remember that for good cholesterol levels it is better to focus on the nuts. Nuts contain unsaturated fats (improves overall cholesterol levels), omega 3, fiber (cleansing the body), vitamin E, sterols (against high cholesterol) and l-arginine (for good flexibility of the arteries), which are useful in fighting cholesterol . However, it is worth noting that nuts are high in calories and can affect your weight.
No matter how you decide to celebrate the winter months, remember that quality is most important, not quantity. In reasonable quantities, most foods are, if not healthy, then less harmful!