Has your blood test just indicated that your LDL cholesterol is above the norm? Do not panic. First of all, you should know that cholesterol (which has long been demonised) is an essential component to our body, not only allowing the proper synthesis of our hormones, but also – conversely to what is commonly believed – protecting us from cardiovascular diseases. You don’t have to be a doctor to realise it definitely shouldn’t be eradicated from our diet!
While two-thirds of your body’s cholesterol is produced by your liver, the remaining third comes directly from food and sometimes, an over consumption of saturated fatty acids. In the case of high cholesterol, you don’t need to worry: an adjustment to your diet, always without deprivation, will generally be sufficient to regulate its level.
What are the sources of cholesterol?
In general, meat, fish, butter and dairy products provide the most significant amounts of cholesterol. In order to keep levels of cholesterol at their right levels, you need to pay attention to the quantities you consume of these food types.
As a source of cholesterol, you probably already know about eggs which are often avoided because of their composition. However, it is also the food that brings you the best quality protein, even better than meat! So do not shy away from them, instead, limit your egg intake to about 7 per week or to 4 per week if your cholesterol exceeds the upper limit.
Foods of plant origin (starchy foods, vegetable oils, fruits and vegetables) do not contain cholesterol.
Which meats should you choose?
Surprising results from a recent American study * showed that white and red meat have a similar effect on the cholesterol levels of healthy individuals. Although red meat is officially limited to 500g per week to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, other meats, like poultry for example, should not be consumed in excessive quantities. To reduce cholesterol levels, it is ultimately more effective to reduce meat consumption in favour of vegetable protein, which can not only be found in starchy foods, pulses and vegetables, but also in soybeans, that of course, comes in many forms!
Finally, what is the best way to keep cholesterol levels at a normal level?
For each meal, make sure you eat fibre : whole starchy foods, cooked or raw vegetables and some form of fruit. These foods will limit the assimilation of cholesterol by forming a protective layer on the walls of your digestive tract, and in general protect you from cardiovascular diseases.
Cook with vegetable oils (olive, flax, rapeseed, nuts) rather than butter. As mentioned before, these oils do not contain cholesterol and moreover, contain good fats and omega 3.
You will also find omega 3 in oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardine, which we recommend to eat at least once a week. A diet rich in Omega 3 helps balance your cholesterol levels, so enjoy oils, nuts and fish!
Remember you should regularly monitor the your blood composition and discuss it with your doctor. Between blood tests, take a look at our program Bikini which helps participants follow a balanced diet. These programs are organised by one of our qualified dietician-nutritionist coaches. Once you have chosen the frequency of the consultations, she will give you constant advice and encouragement which will help you remain motivated and help you reach your objectives. Our consultations can be done on the telephone, therefore, saving you precious time. You also won’t have to worry about what’s on the menu each night as in between consultations, your healthy and delicious menus will be organised for you.
*Bergeron N., Chiu S., Williams P.T. et Al (2019). Effects of red meat, white meat, and nonmeat protein sources on atherogenic lipoprotein measures in the context of low compared with high saturated fat intake: a randomized controlled trial, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition