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Excess cholesterol in the blood is one of the most recognized cardiovascular risk factors. To avoid that accumulate in the arteries and it may be to clog them a healthy diet is essential. We show you the foods that are effective to keep it under control.

Cholesterol is a lipid that occurs in our liver and, in small quantities, comes from certain foods. It is a fat is essential for the proper functioning of the body that is transported in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins. There are two types of lipoproteins: the HDL for high-density, or "good", that collect excess cholesterol and expelled from the body through the liver, and lipoproteins LDL or "bad", they carry the cholesterol our body, and instead of deleting it, incorporate it into tissues, so it builds up in the walls of arteries, causing them to clog them.

Excess cholesterol in the blood, or hypercholesterolemia, is considered a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. The treatment of this pathology requires a change of lifestyle; reduce alcohol intake, stop smoking, avoid excess weight, physical exercise and above all have a healthy diet, since cholesterol problem is compounded if too much unsaturated fat that the body cannot be ejected were swallowed.


The Mediterranean diet is ideal to keep cholesterol under control because their fat intake comes mostly from fatty acids polyunsaturated and monounsaturated olive and seed oils and fish. Among the foods that are considered effective to help reduce cholesterol include:

-Blue fish: notable for the supply of fatty acids oleic, linoleic (essence, because the body can not synthesize it and gets it through the power) and Omega 3. Experts say that the flesh of the fish has up to 20 or 30 times more content of Omega 3 fatty acids, and between three and five times more vitamin D than white. The varieties of fish include the sardian, tuna, salmon, mackerel, anchovy, swordfish. In addition to reducing LDL, Omega 3 and Omega 6, favour the production of HDL, also controlling the levels of triglycerides.

-Vegetables: Some phytochemicals of legumes are of help for the prevention of the formation of the layer of atheroma which degenerates in cardiovascular disease. Beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils or beans are some vegetables that contain lecithin, fiber and plant sterols that reduce the absorption of cholesterol.

-Nuts: have a cardioprotective effect, especially nuts, which allow an interesting contribution of alpha-linolenic acid, Omega 3 plant, and which also contain phytosterols (aid for the heart: sterols plants, or plant sterols, are natural substances reduce the absorption of LDL cholesterol and eliminate its excess of our body, as beating cholesterol naturally.) The European's food safety authority (EFSA) indicates that blood cholesterol be reduced from 7% to 10.5% by daily consumption of 1.5 to 2.4% grams of phytosterols in three weeks. These exist in foods, such as oils and seeds, but in less than recommended amounts. It is for this reason that the food industry offers different products with added phytosterols, including milk, yoghurts, drinks soy, fruit juices and margarine), both recognized for his role in the reduction of cholesterol. A study published in 2009 in the journal American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who follow a diet rich in nuts to decrease the amount of LDL cholesterol or 'bad' by 9.3%.

-Olive oil: it is basic in the Mediterranean diet and has a cardioprotective effect. In general the vegetable oils rich in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fatty acids result in a decrease in LDL cholesterol, but olive oil, moreover, increases the level of HDL helping the removal of cholesterol from the blood. Extra virgin olive oil has a good number of antioxidants (polyphenols and vitamin E) that provide a protective codes against blood occlusion. It should be consuming it, whenever possible, raw, using a little each day for dressing salads and vegetables, accompany the toasted bread for breakfast, etc.

-Fruits and vegetables: fiber, present in many fruits and vegetables, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. In particular the soluble fiber, since it binds to fats and removes them directly through feces. Avocado and olives bring also, like olive oil, monounsaturated fatty acids. For his part, citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which helps to capture and eliminate the excess of organic cholesterol. Experts recommend eating two dishes of vegetables and three pieces of fruit a day for healthy eating.

-Grains: should not miss on the diet integral products rich in fibres, like cereals, rice or bread, which help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiopathy.


-People with high cholesterol should minimize the consumption of cured meats, egg yolks, fried commercial or industrial pastries.

-At the time of cooking, it is better to reduce fried foods and methods of cooking low-fat: baked, grilled, Grill, microwave or steam cooking.

-Avoid foods that include abundant fat detrimental to the heart in its own composition. For example, dairy integers are replaceable by low-fat products, the butter for olive oil and fatty meats for lean meats, such as rabbit or chicken without skin.

+ Info: on the website of the the Spanish Heart Foundation (

You can download a diet for high cholesterol and

healthy tips to reduce saturated fats.


Source: Health & wellness

(NO. 34)