Hypercholesterolemia, or excess cholesterol in the blood, is a condition that today afflicts more than 20% of the Italian population aged 35 and over. In recent times there has been an exponential increase in obesity on a global level, especially that of children. Italy is not saved from the trend, since according to estimates half of the Italians are in a state of overweight, due not only to the adoption of an improper diet, but also to the increase in the sedentary lifestyle. High cholesterol, however, is not only caused by food consumed: other factors come into play, including genetic abnormalities, thyroid diseases, diabetes, cigarette smoking, and even stress.
Food, although not the only one responsible for high cholesterol, plays a fundamental role in the health of the body, especially in people who are at risk. In fact, those who already suffer from hypercholesterolemia must absolutely avoid introducing cholesterol through the diet and prefer low-fat foods. Even those who are not at risk should keep their diet under control and avoid the consumption of cholesterol-rich foods, to prevent the onset of very serious and debilitating, if not fatal, diseases.
The diet for high cholesterol provides for the elimination of all foods known to be rich in saturated fatty acids, such as red meat, sausages, meats and especially offal. Even the consumption of eggs should be reduced drastically, considering that many industrial products contain this food and contribute to increase the level of cholesterol in the blood. The same goes for milk, especially whole milk, and all its derivatives such as butter, aged cheeses, cream and whole yoghurt.
No food of animal origin is saved from cholesterol: even molluscs and crustaceans are in fact potentially dangerous, as are fatty fish. Better to opt for blue fish, which contains less cholesterol and is rich in Omega 3. Other foods to avoid when you have high cholesterol are refined products, which can increase blood sugar and trigger the so-called metabolic syndrome, especially white bread industrial and table sugar. Absolutely avoid the spirits, which contribute to increase the level of cholesterol in the blood. The wine, however, can be consumed in moderation thanks to its beneficial contribution of antioxidants. Bad news for fried lovers: despite the oils of plant origin are not harmful to health, inadequate frying can cause the formation of free radicals. Without considering that some oils rich in hydrogenated fats, such as palm oil, can alter cholesterol metabolism.
Are you in doubt about which diet to follow for hypercholesterolemia? Here is a gallery that shows you what not to eat in case of high cholesterol!