Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced by the liver. This substance has many important roles inside the body and in small amounts it is very important in helping the activity of the organism. In the presence of cholesterol, the body is able to synthesize vitamin D and hormones (testosterone and estrogen). The liver also uses cholesterol in producing bile, a substance used for the digestion of fat. Cholesterol covers the exterior membrane of blood cells and protects them from damage.
Although in normal amounts cholesterol is benefic for the organism, excessive amounts of this substance inside the body can lead to serious illnesses. High blood cholesterol levels are the main factor of risk in cardio-vascular diseases and can even cause heart failure. The surplus of cholesterol inside the body enters the bloodstream and deposits in different places of the body: arteries, soft tissues, organs. When cholesterol adheres to the inner walls of arteries, it obstructs the normal blood flow and prevents the oxygenation of the body organs.
Age, gender and internal dysfunctions are all considered to be factors that enable the accumulation of cholesterol inside the body. However, inappropriate diet also has a great contribution to blood cholesterol build up. A low cholesterol diet can help the body eliminate excess cholesterol and can prevent the accumulation of the substance in the bloodstream. A low cholesterol diet can also help you lose extra weight and improve your overall physical condition.
There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated fat. Saturated fat facilitates the accumulation of cholesterol inside the body, while unsaturated fat reduces blood cholesterol levels and therefore minimizes the chances of developing cardio-vascular diseases. A low cholesterol diet should exclude foods that are rich in saturated fat and include more foods that contain unsaturated fat. Simple carbohydrates contained by sweets should also be excluded from your low cholesterol diet. In order to improve your digestion, you should increase natural fiber and complex carbohydrate intake.
A low cholesterol diet should minimize the intake of animal products. Fatty meats (pork, lamb), organ meats (liver, heart, kidneys) and some dairy products (fat-rich milk, cheese, butter) should be excluded from your low-cholesterol diet. Animal products not only contain a lot of cholesterol, they are also very rich in saturated fat! Eggs, bacon, salami, sausages are rich in saturated fat and they should also be excluded from your diet too. Replace fatty meats wish fish, as it is low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Your low cholesterol diet can include some dairy products, if they contain small amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat: skim-milk, light yogurts.
Your low cholesterol diet should contain plenty of vegetables and fruits, as they are cholesterol free and a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Consume plenty of green vegetables, soy, carrots, cabbage, beans, dried peas and potatoes and fresh fruits like apples, pears, oranges, nectarines, lemons.
The best thing to do is cook your own meals. A low cholesterol diet should include plenty of home-cooked meals like vegetable soups, mashed potatoes and salads. Avoid fried meals and consider grilling or boiling your food. Also, make sure that you drink enough water, as it helps in the elimination of body cholesterol.