Facts on blood fats

Last week I looked at the importance of the right fats in the diet.  This week I am taking a closer look at cholesterol, the fat in your blood. The good news is that a healthy vegan diet is the best diet for lowering cholesterol levels.   This is partly because cholesterol is only present in animal foods.  
Now cholesterol has a bad press but is important to your wellbeing.  You do not have to get it through your food though, as your body can make it.  It is a structural component of each cell in your body, it is vital to hormone manufacture and plays a part in digestive health in that it is needed for the production of bile.  Without it our metabolism would be unregulated, our sexual functioning would suffer as would our bone and mental health.
So should we be complacent if we follow a vegan diet?   In fact it is possible to be a vegan and have high cholesterol.  How can this be?  Cholesterol consists of three fats, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.  It is LDL cholesterol that is the real villain as it forms plaque on artery walls.  In vegans this tends to be lower as does HDL.  BUT triglceride levels can be higher and this also comes with the risk of cardiovascular disease.   The likely cause of elevated triglyceride levels in vegans is eating transfats which include hydrogenated vegetable oils often found in processed foods.   Also, did you know refined carbohydrates especially sugar can raise cholesterol?  This is not something that many vegans are aware of.    
To maintain healthy levels of blood fats make sure your diet does not include more that the recommended 30-35% of calories from fat and make sure these fats are polyunsaturates (including avocados, walnuts and pumpkin seeds), or monosaturates (coconut oil, olive oil, peanuts, almonds etc).  The vegan diet should include plenty of fibre, both soluble fibre and insoluble.  Soluble fibre in particular is beneficial for reducing cholesterol. (Here is the science if you are interested.  Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance in the gut which absorbs bile.  This stimulates the production of more bile using cholesterol from the blood so lowering cholesterol).  You will find soluble fibre in oats, oat bran, pears, peas, beans, apples, blueberries etc.  Make sure the carbs you eat are wholegrain such as wholegrain bread, wholewheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa etc and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.  Just one last thing to ensure healthy levels of blood fat - exercise regularly.  

Be healthy, be happy
Janet x 

Article Copyright © 2015 40plusandalliswell

1 comment:

  1. 3 Researches PROVE Why Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    This means that you actually get rid of fat by consuming Coconut Fat (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from major medical magazines are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world upside down!


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