(ORDO NEWS) — We are often given mixed signals about which foods are bad for us. But you have to watch your diet.
Have you ever spit your morning coffee after hearing on the news about which type of coffee increases your risk of heart disease? According to a recent Norwegian study, coffee from a coffee maker and a French press should be avoided because it raises cholesterol more than a drink made in another way, especially with a filter. But wait. Haven’t scientists already concluded that coffee is good for you?
The confusion is not just yours. Today we are told that it is necessary to limit the consumption of eggs, since the yolk has a lot of cholesterol, and the next day we hear that eggs can be eaten without restrictions. The health authorities are saying that saturated fat is the main cause of high cholesterol, and suddenly some scientists are starting to say that this is too simplistic a statement, if not outright wrong.
“There are mixed signals to society about high cholesterol,” agreed Dr. Dermot Neely, who is a trustee of Heart UK, a national cholesterol charity. So, what is the truth about cholesterol, and what foods, if any, increase to the point where it could harm your health?
What is cholesterol?
It is a fatty substance that travels through the bloodstream in proteins called lipoproteins. Some of the cholesterol we get from the foods we eat, but most of it (about 80%) is produced in the liver. We need a certain amount of cholesterol in order for our body to function. For example, it is very important for building cells, producing hormones and vitamin D. There are two major types of cholesterol.
Low density lipoproteins deliver cholesterol to the cells where it is needed. It’s called “bad” cholesterol because when it’s in excess, it sticks to the walls of your arteries, clogging them, and thereby increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. High-density lipoproteins, on the contrary, are “good”, they remove excess cholesterol from blood vessels and tissues, returning them to the liver. And the liver removes it from the body.
Heart UK advises all adults to have their cholesterol levels checked by taking a blood test. But there is no optimal level to which everyone should strive. For many, higher HDL and lower LDL are ideal, but cholesterol isn’t the only factor that determines your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Dr Duane Mellor, a nutritionist and senior lecturer at the Aston University School of Medicine, says there are many pieces to the puzzle. These are triglycerides (another type of fat) in the blood, weight, age, diet, medical history, and whether or not you smoke. Some people have such a heredity that they are especially prone to damage from cholesterol. “If you have high cholesterol, it generally increases your risk of cardiovascular disease,” says Mellor. “But that’s only part of the picture, and there are other factors to consider.”
Saturated fat is the main cause of high cholesterol, according to the official health service. “All the fats we consume in food break down and become a source of energy. However, foods with saturated fats that exceed our energy needs are more easily converted into cholesterol than unsaturated fats,” says Dr. Neely. “There is compelling evidence that reducing intake saturated fats and replacing them with unsaturated fats reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, some scientists argue that not all saturated fats are the same. A number of studies indicate that certain dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, actually protect us from cardiovascular disease, rather than contributing to it. There is one theory that says
One of the main sources of saturated fat in the British diet is baked goods. Pies, cookies, cakes, cakes, biscuits. “They contain saturated fats,” says Dr. Mellor. “You have to watch it because it’s not just fat, it’s also refined carbs, flour, sugar, and salt.” These are highly processed foods and are quickly digested by the body, but there are few nutrients that can limit the damage.
Those foods that many consider healthy, such as protein/energy bars, can also cause high cholesterol. “Foods with high energy content are high in sugar and fat, but low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. And this is harmful, especially if you eat them instead of a healthy and varied meal,” says Dr. Mellor. “Energy bars should be considered an ’emergency ration’ for exceptional circumstances,” adds Dr. Neely.
Be wary of coconut oil, which is touted by many as a healthy alternative to butter. “It contains twice as much saturated fat as lard, and it can really raise cholesterol,” says Dr. Neely. but not as a source of energy.
A lot depends on what you eat it with. Adding coconut milk to curries that contain vegetables and tofu (this soy product lowers “bad” cholesterol levels slightly) can be beneficial.
Excess weight, as well as lack of sleep, contributes to high cholesterol. Research shows that stress is also a risk factor. This is probably due to the fact that, when under pressure, we tend to eat unhealthy foods, and this is fraught with weight gain.
According to another theory, in response to stress, the body releases certain hormones that raise “bad” cholesterol. But there is also good news. Exercise helps raise “good” cholesterol and lower “bad” cholesterol.
New research also shows that “bad” cholesterol rises in menopausal women due to a decrease in the hormone estrogen. This is where hormone replacement therapy can help.
But what about coffee? Recent studies indicate that diterpene, which is contained in coffee, has one feature – it raises cholesterol. But this only happens when we drink coffee in large quantities.
According to Dr. Mellor, there is no evidence that moderate coffee consumption increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. “In fact, studies show that coffee can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.” In other words, we need to think not about coffee, but about cakes and cookies with which we seize it.
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