What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a sterol, a fat-like molecule necessary for the body to form membranes and synthesize testosterone and other fat-soluble hormones. Even though more than 75% of cholesterol is produced directly by the body (mainly by the liver) ¹, it is common to believe that this substance comes exclusively from food mistakenly. To lower cholesterol, an attempt is made to go on a diet cholesterol-free completely.
Since cholesterol cannot dissolve in the blood, it moves in the bloodstream with the help of transporter proteins. As a result of binding to these proteins, two types of complexes are formed. The two best-known types of cholesterol are “bad” and “good.” LDL (“bad” cholesterol) forms plaques, constricts the lumen of the blood vessels, and causes circulatory disorders, while HDL (“good”) is responsible for cleaning the arteries.
Scientific studies suggest that a diet without cholesterol (where it is eliminated) does not improve health. Negative results such as a decrease in the natural synthesis of good cholesterol have been recorded. (1) The main reasons for the increase in cholesterol are genetics, an excess of trans fats, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Factors that clog the arteries
The factors that increase cholesterol are divided into external and internal. This substance in the blood increases when you eat foods that contain large amounts of cholesterol in their pure form. However, its high level is often due to reasons unrelated to the cholesterol content of foods.
Smoking and other bad habits change the normal metabolism, accelerating the deposition processes of LDL on the walls of the arteries. High cholesterol is generally associated with impaired production of the hormone go lol leptin and elevated cortisol. Other factors that must be considered in the diet are insufficient fiber intake and an excess of simple carbohydrates.
Current studies claim that eating three eggs a day does not significantly impact total cholesterol levels. On the contrary, the external contribution of cholesterol in the diet decreases the natural production in the body (1). A healthy person’s liver produces more cholesterol than the supply of 10 eggs.
Although 30% of the people who participated in these investigations presented an increase in their cholesterol levels, this increase was insignificant (2), (3). They affirm that the contribution of cholesterol from eggs increases good cholesterol levels.
Even though chicken eggs contain cholesterol, approximately 350 mg per egg, scientific studies show that eating an average of eggs is not harmful to health. First of all, eggs have several substances that balance the dangerous effects of cholesterol: from omega-3 oils to vitamins A, B2, B12, D, and lecithin.
It is essential to understand that the body needs cholesterol to ensure the proper functioning of the immune system. As well as for the synthesis of several hormones related to the correct functioning and development of the muscular system. An example is the hormone testosterone.
That is why there is no unequivocal answer to how many eggs can be eaten per day or per week; in most cases, it is not just about the cholesterol in the eggs but a thorough assessment of the nutrition and health of a particular person³. There are cases where even with the regular use of dozens of eggs per day, people did not experience problems with bad cholesterol.
Micronutrient content in eggs:
The micronutrient content in an egg is detailed below; the percentage is the% of said molecule’s daily requirement per day.
Selenium – (23%)
Riboflavin – (14%)
Vitamin B12 – (11%)
Phosphorus – (10%)
Pantothenic acid – (7%),
Vitamin A – (5%)
Iron – (5%),
Zinc – ( 4%).
Do Eggs Raise Cholesterol?
Nutritionists claim that eggs are a high-quality, nutritious food. However, it is essential to know that this may vary depending on the cooking method. An egg fried in poor quality oil is no longer a healthy food and will be a problem for those who want to reduce the fats in the arteries. Not because of the cholesterol inherent in the egg, but because of the excess fat inherent in the oil.
Hard-boiled eggs are the healthiest alternative and do not drastically increase cholesterol levels. A cholesterol-free or cholesterol-lowering diet need not necessarily be extreme. It is recommended not to exceed a maximum of 10 eggs per week.
The reason is not because of cholesterol but because too many chicken eggs make the diet monotonous, depriving the child’s body of vitamins and minerals that are not found in eggs.
Cholesterol Free Diet – Foods Allowed and Forbidden
Foods to avoid on a cholesterol-free diet are:
- Animal fats
- Fatty cheeses
- Sausages and processed meats
- Yogurt is decremented
- Milk cream
- Animal fat based bakery products
- Shrimp and seafood
As we mentioned earlier, a complete rejection of the sources of fat and cholesterol in food can harm health more than the molecule itself. Remember that a cholesterol-free diet should be carried out only if your doctor has recommended it. For example, it can be recommended after a stroke or heart attack. For an average person, a completely cholesterol-free diet is not necessary.
The foods allowed in a diet to lower cholesterol are:
- Wheat bran
- Flax seeds
- Dehydrated fruits
- Whole grains
- Various berries
In addition, it is possible to lower blood cholesterol even without diet or medication. The reduction of bad LDL can be carried out by increasing daily physical activity. Including simple habits, such as counting and increasing the steps you have to walk per day, can solve the problem.
Diet to lower cholesterol
A fundamental rule of thumb in a diet to lower bad cholesterol is the rejection of trans fats. Trans fats can form in fatty foods when reheated, for example, in a microwave. Among other things, trans fats can clog arteries because they are chemically stable molecules.
Although trans fats are not cholesterol in biochemical terms, they are elements that must be eliminated as much as possible in the diet. The recommendation according to the WHO for both people with high cholesterol and low cholesterol is a maximum of 2%. In a diet to lower cholesterol, it is the healthy fats that must be weighed.
Cholesterol is a necessary molecule for the body. The liver produces the most cholesterol in the body, and no more than 20% comes from food. You should give up trans fats, simple carbohydrates and exercise regularly to lower high cholesterol. A cholesterol-free diet and rejecting fats ultimately can be more harmful than positive for health.