Cholesterol is a natural fatty substance present in the cells of the body, which is necessary for the correct operation of this Its functions are, according to the Spanish Heart Foundation (FEC), intervene in the formation of bile acids and form certain hormones such as sexual and thyroid. In addition, the sun’s rays transform it into vitamin D. Most cholesterol is made in the liver, but it is also obtained from some foods.
However, not all cholesterol is beneficial, there are two types: cholesterol low density or bad (LDL) and the one of high density or good (HDL). The former is the main cause of plaque buildup in the arteries and therefore blockages; and, the second, helps eliminate LDL cholesterol.
normal cholesterol levels
The FEC establishes which are the levels What to have for each type of cholesterol:
• Normal: less than 200 mg/dl
• Normal-high: between 200 and 240 mg/dl. Hypercholesterolemia is considered to be total cholesterol levels greater than 200 mg/dl
• High: above 240 mg/dl
• Normal: less than 100 mg/dl
• Normal-high: from 100 to 160 mg/dl
• High: above 160 mg/dl
• Normal: greater than 35 mg/dl in men and 40 mg/dl in women
Some high levels of LDL cholesterol produce hypercholesterolemiawhich increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. Thus, diet is key so that this does not happen, in fact, a study carried out by Harvard University highlights that legumes They are a key food that should be added to any diet to avoid this problem, always accompanied by a diet that includes other foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits and oily fish.
Legumes, the great ally to combat cholesterol
According to the Harvard study, a diet rich in lentils, chickpeas, beans and other legumes is associated with a lower risk of developing pathologies related to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks. This is due to its important content in ffiber, protein and mineralsthat help reduce this substance present in the blood.
In particular, the soluble viscose fiber It is a nutrient that slows down absorption in the small intestine and binds to certain molecules necessary for the subsequent formation of cholesterol. Also, the glycemic index of legumes is very low, thus, they reduce blood sugar levels and insulin production.
Other benefits of legumes
- prevent anemia. Thanks to their high iron content, they can prevent iron deficiency anemia, especially when combined with foods containing vitamin C to improve its absorption.
- Promote weight loss. It is a very satiating food thanks to its high protein content, so those who consume it do not overeat or binge eat, which means a positive effect on the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Ideal for people who have diabetes. As mentioned above, its low glycemic index, low fat content and high fiber content are ideal for stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- They improve bone health. Proteins also improve bone health and prevent diseases such as osteoporosis.
This information does not replace in any case the diagnosis or prescription by a doctor. It is important to go to a specialist when symptoms appear in case of illness and never self-medicate.