Wednesday, January 26

Healthy weight and high cholesterol

Many of my patients and readers are the right weight for their body and age, and they eat healthy. However, they have high cholesterol and triglycerides. In addition to being puzzled and sometimes frustrated, people wonder why? And what can they do to improve their cholesterol levels?

The answer could be genetic predisposition. There are people who, being thin, have levels of lipids (fats, either cholesterol and / or triglycerides) in the blood above normal.

High blood cholesterol usually does not cause symptoms until complications such as heart attacks develop. However, the body needs a certain amount of cholesterol. It uses it to build cell membranes, as well as to synthesize vitamin D and to make sex hormones, among other functions.

Since cholesterol does not dissolve in water, it travels in the blood in packets called lipoproteins. We have two types of lipoproteins: LDL or low-density lipoproteins, also known as “bad cholesterol,” and HDL or high-density lipoproteins, known as “good cholesterol.”

LDL or “bad cholesterol” sticks to the walls of the arteries, forming plaque, and making them hard and narrow. It can cause heart attacks and strokes.

HDL or “good cholesterol” removes cholesterol from the blood, LDL, and artery walls and carries it back to the liver for elimination. The problem is when total cholesterol and LDL are high and HDL is low.

If you have high total cholesterol and LDL by genetics and low HDL, you can try to improve eating habits, increase physical activity to a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise five to 7 days a week, try to maintain a weight healthy and, if necessary, take medications such as statins. It is important to consult with a doctor.

Regarding diet, it is important to eat a diet low in saturated fat and trans fat. For example: avoid or significantly limit: red meat, liver, bacon, sausage, whole milk, ice cream, breads and cakes, butter, fried foods. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats can be included in moderation, such as: walnuts, olive oil and olives.

A recent study confirmed that different types of nuts, including almonds, help lower blood lipid levels. In other words, they help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And, for the same reason, they are ideal for taking care of the health of the heart.

Regarding the health benefits of walnuts, they contain:

  • protein
  • fiber
  • vitamin E (which is an antioxidant)
  • Unsaturated fats
  • Omega-3 fatty acids

Due to those components, walnuts are great for heart health. A study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine found that walnuts, including almonds and walnut (or tree) nuts, can help lower blood fat (or lipid) levels.

The researchers found that by consuming 67 grams of walnuts each day, what fits in one hand, they reduced:

  • total cholesterol levels by 5.1%
  • low-density cholesterol (LDL, known as “bad” cholesterol) levels by 7.4% and
  • triglyceride levels by 10.2%

These results were much more evident and positive in people who had a high level of LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol and who had a diet that was fairly high in fat.

What does this have to do with thin people? That precisely the study found that walnuts are much more effective in people who do not have a high body mass index (BMI), that is, who are not overweight.

With this in mind, you should consider including walnuts in your daily diet. They are ideal to distract hunger in the middle of the morning or in the middle of the afternoon. They serve as “snacks” or “snacks” in meetings with your friends or your family. In addition, they combine very well with many recipes and are a delicious ingredient in salads.

Of course, their consumption should be moderate as they are high in calories and can cause weight gain. With a bunch (handful) of walnuts a day is more than enough.

-Aliza A. Lifshitz, known for her extensive career in the Hispanic media as Dra. Aliza, is the health expert for the educational television network for the Hispanic community HITN. At HITN, she hosts the daily programming block Life and health, a space in which he shares information and tools for Hispanics to lead healthier lives and better communicate with their doctors.

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