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Milk to lower cholesterol: Best and Worst Milks to Drink for Your Cholesterol Levels

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Special Diets That Can Help Lower Cholesterol

If you have high cholesterol, you’ve likely heard how important a healthy diet is to help lower it. While you do want to get high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol from your diet, your body actually produces all of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol that it needs all on its own, according to the American Heart Association.

But the typical Western diet is filled with sources of LDL and triglycerides, a fat found in the blood. So if you eat too much of these, it can push your cholesterol into an unhealthy range.

Of course, there are other factors that contribute to high cholesterol, such as genetics. But your diet is in your control, and a nutritious, low-cholesterol diet can make a big difference in your overall health.

“Your diet can have profound importance in managing your risk for heart disease,” explains Megan Porter, RD, LD, a certified diabetes educator based in Portland, Oregon. “It can also assist in lowering high cholesterol or help maintain healthy cholesterol levels throughout your life.”

Diets Proven to Help Lower Cholesterol

The following diets are not “diets” in the sense of restricting your food intake or being hungry all the time, but eating plans that emphasize certain healthy food groups over less-healthy options. Scientific research has also proven that they’re helpful when it comes to lowering cholesterol.

If you’re looking to manage high cholesterol, consider following one of these eating plans.

1. Mediterranean diet

“This diet is abundant in minimally processed, plant-based foods [and] monounsaturated (healthy) fat from olive oil, but lower in saturated fat, meats, and dairy products. It also allows for small amounts of red wine,” says Porter.

A review of Mediterranean diet studies published in February 2019 in the journal Circulation Research stated that the diet can help lower LDL levels and raise HDL levels. “The heart-health benefits are thought to be due mostly to the diet’s anti-inflammatory effects,” notes Porter.

If you’d like to try this diet, focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains, with moderate amounts of seafood, lean protein, and dairy.

2. DASH diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is designed to help lower high blood pressure and can also help lower your cholesterol. It is similar to the Mediterranean diet in its focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts but also emphasizes reducing salt intake to help lower blood pressure.

According to a study published in April 2019 in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, following the DASH diet was associated with a 40 percent lower risk of heart failure.

3. TLC diet

The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet was designed by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program to help lower cholesterol. “This is not only a diet; it’s a comprehensive lifestyle approach that includes specific dietary recommendations, weight management, and increased physical activity,” Porter explains.

The TLC diet focuses on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and limited lean proteins in lieu of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat, such as processed meat, pastries, and butter. “The TLC diet has been shown to have lowering effects on a person’s LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, and weight,” Porter says.

Since the Mediterranean, DASH, and TLC diets are similar, your doctor or a dietitian can help you decide which might be most beneficial for you.

4. Vegetarian diet

A vegetarian diet focuses on whole grains, dairy, eggs, fruits, vegetables, soy products, and nuts, with no meat, poultry, or seafood consumption. “The vegetarian diet, when eaten over a long period, is associated with a large range of health benefits, including reduced weight, lower cholesterol, and low blood pressure,” Porter says.

A study published in November 2017 in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition found that a vegetarian diet reduced cholesterol and lowered the risk of dying from coronary artery disease by 25 percent.

5. Vegan diet

A vegan diet is a vegetarian diet minus all animal-derived products, including eggs, dairy, gelatin, and whey. “The vegan diet has been linked with a weight loss benefit in addition to reduced risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and [early] death,” Porter says.

A study published in December 2018 in the journal PLoS One found that vegans had lower LDL and triglyceride levels than people who ate meat.

If you want to try a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s helpful to work with a dietitian as you get started. They can educate you on the right combinations of foods to eat get sufficient protein, calcium, and iron in your diet.

Following one of these healthy diets is a lifestyle change — one that can help lower your cholesterol and help you feel healthier while staying full and satisfied.

The Real Story on Milk for Cholesterol Control

The saturated fat in milk can affect your cholesterol levels.

Image Credit: VLG/iStock/GettyImages

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that our body creates to help build cells. It’s also important for making hormones and digesting certain foods. All the cholesterol we need is made by the body, but we also get cholesterol from eating animal sources such as egg yolk, meat, cheese and milk.

Good and Bad Cholesterol

Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream on proteins called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are referred to as “bad” cholesterol, explains the CDC.

An elevated amount of LDL in the body can begin to build up on the walls of blood vessels in the form of plaque. This creates a smaller path for blood to flow, with the possibility of blocking blood flow to your heart and other organs. Healthy arteries are usually flexible and elastic but can begin to harden due to the buildup of plaque, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is your “good” cholesterol. These proteins carry cholesterol from other parts of your body and take it back to the liver. From there, the liver removes it completely. When your HDL cholesterol levels are high, they, in turn, lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Yes, cholesterol is necessary for life, but the amount in the bloodstream needs to be monitored. Mayo Clinic states that optimal LDL cholesterol levels are below 70 milligrams per deciliter of blood, with “very high” being above 190. Since HDL cholesterol is beneficial, the higher the level the better. Ideally, your HDL cholesterol should be 60 milligrams per deciliter or above.

Milk and Cholesterol

In the past, dietary cholesterol had a bad reputation and was believed to increase blood cholesterol levels and the risk for cardiovascular disease. Additional research, however, showed that this claim was no longer supported. A June 2018 review published in Nutrients found that eating two eggs per day increased both HDL and LDL cholesterol, which left the LDL/HDL ratio constant.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines removed the previous recommendation of dietary cholesterol restriction. What is still advised is to eat as little saturated fat as possible because it’s this form of fat that can raise blood cholesterol.

When it comes to milk, saturated fat content can vary. According to the USDA, whole milk has a higher amount of saturated fat (about 5 grams per cup) compared with skim or fat-free milk (0.1 grams per cup). Plant-based milk is another option if you’re seeking a low saturated fat milk beverage. Both unsweetened almond milk and non-fat soy milk do not contain saturated fat.

“While no foods need to be avoided, it is recommended to keep saturated fat intake under 10 percent of daily calories,” says Anja Grommons, RDN, a clinical dietitian at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan. “If whole milk or whole milk yogurt are items you love, feel free to enjoy them, but keep all things in moderation.”

Read more: What to Eat to Lower LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Quickly

Foods That Help Cholesterol

Diet can play an important role in helping you lower cholesterol. “If you’ve been diagnosed with elevated cholesterol, it is recommended to opt for foods that are lower in saturated fat and added sugar while choosing foods rich in fiber,” says Grommons. “Think fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.”

Fiber does double duty, reducing the risk of heart disease by stopping the absorption of fats and cholesterol, according to the University of Wisconsin (UW). This reduces LDL cholesterol levels and blood sugar spikes as it slows the absorption of sugar from the intestine.

Eating a total of 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber daily has shown to decrease LDL cholesterol levels by 5 to 10 percent, says UW. It’s important to note that fiber should be slowly increased in your diet to prevent gastrointestinal upset. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day; for men, the daily goal is 38 grams. If your diet has been low in fiber, boost your intake slowly to avoid gas, bloating and constipation, advises the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

And be sure to drink plenty of water with meals, too, because, as ADA explains, fiber needs water to move through the body. According to UW, among the best high-fiber foods that can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels are oats, oatmeal and barley; legumes like beans, lentils and peanuts; flax and chia seeds; and almonds and walnuts.

Read more: The Truth About How Your Diet Affects Your Cholesterol

No link found between milk and increased cholesterol: study

The research was conducted in response to contradictory reports investigating the causal link between higher dairy intake and cardiometabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.

Specifically, recent studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between higher dairy intake and higher body mass index (BMI), but not cardiovascular disease-related outcomes.

An international research team – made up of scientists in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand – undertook the study, which consisted of a meta-analysis of data from up to 1. 9m people.

The three large-scale population-based studies analysed include the 1958 British Birth Cohort, the Health and Retirement Study, UK Biobank.

Findings were recently published in the International Journal of Obesity​.

Identifying genetic variation

The researchers identified participants deemed to consume higher levels of milk via a genetic variation in the lactase gene, which is associated with the digestion of milk sugars.

“We found that among participants with a genetic variation that we associated with higher milk intake, they had high BMI body fat, but importantly had lower levels of good and bad cholesterol,” ​according to study co-author Professor Vimal Karani, Professor of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics at the University of Reading.

Findings also indicated that those with the genetic variation – likely to be those with greater milk intake – had a ‘significantly’ lower risk of coronary heart disease.

“All of this suggests that reducing the intake of milk might not be necessary for preventing cardiovascular diseases,” ​he continued.

An unknown ‘milk factor’?

One of the large population datasets analysed, that of the UK Biobank, showed that those with the lactase genetic variation had an 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Further, an association between higher milk intake and increased risk of diabetes – including related traits such as glucose and inflammatory biomarkers – was not established.

Concerning the lower cholesterol levels in participants with a higher milk consumption, the researchers said they were unable to establish whether the fat content in milk played a role.

“The study certainly shows that milk consumption is not a significant issue for cardiovascular disease risk, even though there was a small rise in BMI and body fat among milk drinkers,” ​noted Professor Karani.

“What we do note in the study is that it remains unclear whether it is the fat content in dairy products that is contributing to the lower cholesterol levels, or if it is due to an unknown ‘milk factor’.

Overall, the data suggest there is no need to limit milk intakes with respect to cardiovascular disease risk.

Source:International Journal of Obesity
‘Evidence for a causal association between milk intake and cardiometabolic disease outcomes using a two-sample Mendelian Randomization analysis in up to 1,904,220 individuals’
Published 24 May 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-021-00841-2
Authors: Karani Santhanakrishnan Vimaleswaran, Ang Zhou, Alana Cavadino, and Elina Hyppönen.

Lower your cholesterol – NHS

Eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood.

Adopting healthy habits, such as eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping active, can also help prevent your cholesterol levels becoming high in the first place.

It’s important to keep your cholesterol in check because high cholesterol levels increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

If you’re concerned about your cholesterol, talk to your GP. If you’re aged 40 to 74, you can get your cholesterol checked as part of an NHS Health Check.

If your GP has advised you to change your diet to reduce your blood cholesterol, you should cut down on saturated fat and eat more fibre, including plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Fats and cholesterol

Saturated and unsaturated fat

There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood.

Most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat.

Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • meat pies
  • sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • butter, ghee and lard
  • cream
  • hard cheeses
  • cakes and biscuits
  • foods containing coconut or palm oil

Eating foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can actually help reduce cholesterol levels.

Try to replace foods containing saturated fats with small amounts of foods high in unsaturated fats, such as:

  • oily fish – such as mackerel and salmon
  • nuts – such as almonds and cashews
  • seeds – such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • avocados
  • vegetable oils and spreads – such as rapeseed or vegetable oil, sunflower, olive, corn and walnut oils

Trans fats

Trans fats can also raise cholesterol levels. Trans fats can be found naturally in small amounts in some foods, such as animal products, including meat, milk and dairy foods.

Artificial trans fats can be found in hydrogenated fat, so some processed foods, such as biscuits and cakes, can contain trans fats.

In the UK, manufacturers and most of the supermarkets have reduced the amount of trans fats in their products.

Most people in the UK do not eat a lot of trans fats, but you should keep checking food labels for hydrogenated fats or oils.

Reducing total fat

Reducing the total amount of fat in your diet can also help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Instead of roasting or frying, consider:

  • grilling
  • steaming
  • poaching
  • boiling
  • microwaving

Choose lean cuts of meat and go for lower-fat varieties of dairy products and spreads, or eat a smaller amount of full-fat varieties.

Find out about the different types of fat.

Fibre and cholesterol

Eating plenty of fibre helps lower your risk of heart disease, and some high-fibre foods can help lower your cholesterol.

Adults should aim for at least 30g of fibre a day.

Your diet should include a mix of sources of fibre, which include:

  • wholemeal bread, bran and wholegrain cereals
  • fruit and vegetables
  • potatoes with their skins on 
  • oats and barley
  • pulses, such as beans, peas and lentils
  • nuts and seeds

Aim to eat at least 5 portions of different fruit and vegetables a day.

Foods containing cholesterol

Some foods naturally contain cholesterol, called dietary cholesterol. Foods such as kidneys, eggs and prawns are higher in dietary cholesterol than other foods.  

Dietary cholesterol has much less of an effect on the level of cholesterol in your blood than the amount of saturated fat you eat does.

If your GP has advised you to change your diet to reduce your blood cholesterol, the most important thing to do is to cut down on saturated fat.

It’s also a good idea to increase your intake of fruit, vegetables and fibre.

Get active

An active lifestyle can also help lower your cholesterol level. Activities can range from walking and cycling to more vigorous exercise, such as running and energetic dancing.

Doing 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week can improve your cholesterol levels.

Moderate aerobic activity means you’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat.

One way to tell whether you’re exercising at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but cannot sing the words to a song.

Read more about getting more active and achieving your recommended activity levels.

Cholesterol-lowering products

If your doctor has told you that you have high cholesterol and you can lower it by changing your diet, there’s no need to buy special products to lower your cholesterol.

These products are not recommended by doctors and are no substitute for a healthy, balanced diet.

There are foods specially designed to lower your cholesterol, such as certain dairy spreads and yoghurts containing added ingredients called plant sterols and stanols.

There’s some evidence these ingredients may help reduce the cholesterol in your blood, but there’s no evidence they also reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

These products are designed for people who already have high cholesterol, but it’s not essential to eat plant sterols or stanols to help manage your cholesterol.

There may be other, simpler and less expensive changes you can make, such as eating a healthy, balanced diet and being more physically active.

There are some groups of people these products are not suitable for, including children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

If you do eat foods designed to lower your cholesterol, read the label carefully. These foods need to be eaten every day and in the right amount, as having too much could be harmful.

Statins

Statins are medicines that can help lower your cholesterol.

They’re usually offered to people who have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease or another cardiovascular disease, or whose personal or family medical history suggests they’re likely to develop it during the next 10 years.

For most other people, the first way to tackle high cholesterol is by making changes to your diet and getting more active.

Over-the-counter statins

If you have high cholesterol, you should talk to your GP about how you can lower it.

People who need statins can be prescribed them, and your GP can also advise you on healthy lifestyle changes.

Some pharmacies sell low-dose statins, which you can buy without a prescription, but they’re no substitute for lowering your cholesterol by eating a healthy, balanced diet and being active.

Speak to your pharmacist if you’re considering over-the-counter statins. If you have high cholesterol and need statins, your GP will prescribe them and monitor how well they’re working.

Community content from HealthUnlocked

Page last reviewed: 17 July 2018
Next review due: 17 July 2021

Study: High Milk Intake Is Not Associated with Elevated Levels of Cholesterol

In a new meta-analysis of previous studies, a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand found that people who regularly drank high amounts of milk had lower levels of both good and bad cholesterol, although their body mass index (BMI) levels were higher than non-milk drinkers; they also found that those who regularly consumed milk had a 14% lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Vimaleswaran et al. provide genetic evidence for the association of milk consumption with higher BMI but lower serum cholesterol levels. Image credit: Imo Flow.

“Obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemias and hyperglycemia are all strong contributors’ to cardio-metabolic diseases, which are the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide,” said Professor Vimal Karani, a researcher at the University of Reading and UCL Institute of Child Health, and his colleagues.

“Diet is a major determinant of cardio-metabolic diseases and several studies have shown associations between dairy and milk consumption and cardio-metabolic risk factors.”

“High fat dairy products can lead to adverse effects on cardiovascular risk by increasing the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol which have been shown to increase blood cholesterol and subsequent risk of cardiovascular diseases.”

“In addition, milk is a major source of calcium and a risk factor for arterial calcification.

“Despite these proposed adverse effects, a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases was reported for consumption of milk and low-fat dairy products in large scale meta-analysis of data from nine studies.”

The researchers took a genetic approach to milk consumption by looking at a variation in the lactase gene (LCT) associated with digestion of milk sugars known as lactose.

They analyzed data from three large-scale population-based studies (1958 British Birth Cohort, Health and Retirement study, and UK Biobank) with up to 417,236 participants and summary statistics data from several large consortia meta-analyses.

They identified that having the genetic variation where people can digest lactose was a good way for identifying people who consumed higher levels of milk.

“We found that among participants with a genetic variation that we associated with higher milk intake, they had higher BMI, body fat, but importantly had lower levels of good and bad cholesterol,” Professor Karani said.

“We also found that those with the genetic variation had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease.”

“All of this suggests that reducing the intake of milk might not be necessary for preventing cardiovascular diseases.”

“The study certainly shows that milk consumption is not a significant issue for cardiovascular disease risk even though there was a small rise in BMI and body fat among milk drinkers,” he added.

“What we do note in the study is that it remains unclear whether it is the fat content in dairy products that is contributing to the lower cholesterol levels or it is due to an unknown ‘milk factor’.”

The findings appear in the International Journal of Obesity.

_____

K.S. Vimaleswaran et al. Evidence for a causal association between milk intake and cardiometabolic disease outcomes using a two-sample Mendelian Randomization analysis in up to 1,904,220 individuals. Int J Obes, published online April 26, 2021; doi: 10. 1038/s41366-021-00841-2

Does Oat Milk Lower Cholesterol?

Oat milk is basically just oats diluted in water but this could be highly beneficial to the body and also a great alternative to dairy milk, it contains fewer calories a lower level of nutrients and this is a sensible milk option for those dietary restrictions.

Oat milk is a  vegan drink that you can decide to buy or have it made yourself and according to nutritionists store-bought oat milk contains similar vitamins and minerals as traditional cow’s milk and one cup of oat milk is fortifies with vitamin B12, calcium and riboflavin.

The is a popular alternative to dairy milk as it is packed with essential nutrients and can be really delicious as well.

Is oat milk good for you? Oat milk is a plant-based beverage that is loved for its creamy texture which has made it a favourite of latte making baristas and it is also gluten-free.

This plan-based milk provides about one-third of your daily recommended intake and compared to almond or rice milk, it has a bit more of fibre and protein.

Oat milk can be a healthy dietary choice but this depends on the brand and variety hence it is crucial to check the label before buying to ensure it contains less sugar and is as nutritious as it should be.

Related read: How Long Does Oat Milk Last In The Fridge?

Does Oat Milk Lower Cholesterol?

Yes, oat milk can help lower cholesterol and ensure a healthier body and way of life, oat milk contains beta-glucans which can help maintain lower cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of other heart diseases.

Studies show that 3 cups of oat milk over 5 weeks can help reduce total blood cholesterol by 3% (1).

To choose the healthy form of oat milk, ensure to check the label and it is recommended to look for varieties that say unsweetened and have a simple ingredient list.

Is Oat Milk Good For IBS?

Yes, oat milk is good a choice if you have Irritable bowel syndrome as it is a great source of soluble fibre and increasing soluble fibre can help IBS.

Oat milk has beneficial effects on your heart and digestive system.

Is Oat Milk Good For Weight Loss?

Yes, oat milk is good for weight loss and you can shed a few pounds if it is taken with care.

This plan-based milk is an ideal solution for anyone with lactose intolerant. Oat milk is a dairy-free and great for those who are calorie-conscious.

In Conclusion

Oat milk is plant-based milk that compares to almond milk and one of the easiest ways to get a portion of oats is to have it included in your breakfast, there are lots of recipes that let you add oat milk to your food such as porridge oats and you can give it a savoury taste by adding an egg or cheese and this is an amazing way to increase protein.

An unsweetened version of oat milk can be used in coffee, tea, cereal or homemade smoothies and it is a healthy alternative in terms of nutritional health and gut benefits.

Read next: Oat Milk vs Coconut Milk: Which One Is Healthier

Does Drinking Milk Increase Your Cholesterol Levels?

Further analysis of other large studies also suggests that those who regularly consumed milk had a 14% lower risk of coronary heart disease.

The team of researchers took a genetic approach to milk consumption by looking at a variation in the lactase gene associated with digestion of milk sugars known as lactose.

The study identified that having the genetic variation where people can digest lactose was a good way for identifying people who consumed higher levels of milk.

Prof Vimal Karani, Professor of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics at the University of Reading said:

“We found that among participants with a genetic variation that we associated with higher milk intake, they had higher BMI, body fat, but importantly had lower levels of good and bad cholesterol. We also found that those with the genetic variation had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease. All of this suggests that reducing the intake of milk might not be necessary for preventing cardiovascular diseases.”

The new research was conducted following several contradictory studies that have previously investigated the causal link between higher dairy intake and cardiometabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. To account for inconsistencies in sampling size, ethnicity and other factors, the team conducted a meta-analysis of data in up to 1.9 million people and used the genetic approach to avoid confounding.

Even though the UK biobank data showed that those with the lactase genetic variation had 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, the study did not suggest that there is any strong evidence for a link between higher milk intake and increased likelihood of diabetes or its related traits such as glucose and inflammatory biomarkers.

Professor Karani said:

“The study certainly shows that milk consumption is not a significant issue for cardiovascular disease risk even though there was a small rise in BMI and body fat among milk drinkers. What we do note in the study is that it remains unclear whether it is the fat content in dairy products that is contributing to the lower cholesterol levels or it is due to an unknown ‘milk factor'”.

Source: Eurekalert

90,000 risk factor or way to prevent cardiovascular disease?

Yu. V. Gavalko, Ph.D. Sciences

State Institution “Institute of Gerontology named after D.F. Chebotarev National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine “, Kiev

Summary. The literature review presents works of recent years devoted to the study of the effect of milk and dairy products on the development of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes mellitus, etc. Most of the works show the positive effect of dairy products and their components on health.Various points of view regarding the mechanisms of action of milk components in preventing obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes mellitus are presented. It has been shown that milk protein, peptides, milk fat, as well as vitamin D, calcium and others can affect body weight control, lower blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, glucose levels, and even increase the sensitivity of cells to insulin. Thus, milk and dairy products are an integral part of a healthy diet and can significantly improve the health of the population.
Key words: milk, dairy products, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus.

Milk and dairy products are a valuable food product that contains many nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Dairy products have been on our table for many centuries and, according to the principles of a healthy diet, are the most important factor in the prevention of many diseases. So, when studying the nutrition of long-livers of Abkhazia by specialists from the Institute of Gerontology, it was revealed that they have a vegetable-milk diet and this contributes to active longevity [1].Recently, however, opponents of dairy products have emerged. Thus, in works devoted to the rational nutrition of patients with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), the need to lower cholesterol is indicated by limiting the consumption of cheese, milk with a fat content of more than 2.5%, sour cream and butter [2]. At the same time, in the world literature, opinions on the influence of milk on the development and course of CVD are contradictory, which may also be associated with different methodological approaches to the study of the problem. Several studies have shown a link between milk consumption and the development of metabolic syndrome (MS). It is also indicated that the consumption of milk fat (butter) can raise blood cholesterol levels, but it is noted that hard cheese (having up to 50% fat content) does not have a negative effect on the lipid profile. At the same time, some fermented milk products even lower cholesterol, and can also normalize blood pressure (BP). After analyzing many works, Tholstrup T.(2006) concluded that there is insufficient evidence of a negative effect of dairy products on the risk of CVD [3]. Moreover, a generalization of large studies has shown that people who consume milk and dairy products have a reduced risk of death not only from CVD, but also from diabetes mellitus (DM) and cancer [4]. Analysis of data from 10,066 women over 45 years old who did not suffer from CVD, cancer, diabetes and have never used contraceptives, showed that the consumption of dairy products and calcium is associated with a lower risk of developing MS in women of both middle and old age [5].

In the work of Beydoun M.A. et al. it is also indicated that the consumption of milk, yogurt, calcium and magnesium reduces the risk of developing MS. At the same time, the development of MS was facilitated by the consumption of cheese, skim milk, and phosphorus [6].

It is also necessary to recall the STANISLAS study, in which 300 women and 299 men, aged 28–60 years, took part. It was shown that the consumption of milk, yogurt and cottage cheese was associated with a decrease in blood glucose, diastolic pressure and an increase in high density lipoprotein (HDL) in the blood over 5 years of follow-up.Calcium intake was associated with less weight gain and less waist circumference. Pre-study nutritional analysis of women found that dairy consumption was associated with greater body weight, waist circumference, increased triglycerides, and decreased blood HDL cholesterol. However, over 5 years of observation, they did not reveal a connection between the consumption of dairy products and changes in these indicators [7].

Among the mechanisms by which dairy products help to lose weight and keep it, there are – inhibition of lipogenesis and stimulation of lipolysis, and calcium, forming with fats soaps, reduces their absorption [8, 9, 10].Calcium also plays a key role in insulin secretion, mediates its effects in the cell, and increases the sensitivity of insulin receptors, ensuring their phosphorylation [9]. The positive effect of vitamin D on the state of the cardiovascular system has also been revealed, but there is an opinion that its effect on plasma lipids is also mediated by calcium [10]. In addition, low calcium intake leads to increased activity of vitamin D, calcium accumulation in cells, activation of lipogenesis, and inhibition of lipolysis in adipocytes [11].

Considering the various constituents of milk, it was noted that many of its constituents can have a positive effect on human health. Thus, medium-chain fatty acids increase insulin sensitivity. Together with protein, amino acids, calcium and other minerals, MCFAs contribute to a decrease in body weight and fat mass. Peptides, calcium and other minerals lower blood pressure. Fermented milk products and the calcium they contain reduce the absorption of cholesterol and fat.Proteins, peptides and bacteria in fermented milk products also lower blood cholesterol. Components such as lactose, proteins and peptides improve control of body weight, blood pressure and plasma lipids. In addition, dairy products improve the absorption of folate and other plant components [12].

Whole milk. Most studies on the relationship between milk consumption and CVD indicate that it has a protective effect on the development of diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, arterial hypertension (AH) and MS in general.However, a study of 4,024 women in Britain showed that those who never drank milk had lower insulin resistance, triglycerides and BMI, higher HDL cholesterol, and were less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank milk. The mechanisms of this phenomenon have not been studied [13]. Naturally, milk is also not recommended for people with allergies to it and lactose intolerance [8].

Despite this, as already mentioned, the overwhelming majority of authors consider milk a useful product. So, in the study by Jaffiol S.(2008) showed that some amino acids in milk contribute to a decrease in insulin resistance, insulin secretion, lower blood pressure, and even cardiovascular mortality [8]. In residents of the Canary Islands, who had the allele of the lactose intolerance gene, MS was found significantly more often (35%) than in normally fermenting lactose (25.6%), especially in women [14]. Among children 10 ± 2.3 years old, milk consumption improved insulin sensitivity and reduced the risk of developing type II diabetes [15].

A study of 2375 men aged 45–59 years showed that those who daily consume milk or dairy products more than 1 pint (~ 568 ml) in terms of milk have a lower risk of developing MS [16]. Similar results were obtained in a study of 4890 Koreans, which showed that milk consumption prevents the development of MS [19].

Today, the scientific discussion continues about the benefits or dangers of milk fat. Thus, it is believed that it is low-fat milk that has the most beneficial effect on health.It prevents impairment of endothelial function and reduces postprandial hyperglycemia, but it increases the activity of lipid peroxidation and decreases the biological effects of NO [18]. It has also been shown that low-fat dairy products have a protective effect on insulin resistance, preventing the development of MS and type II diabetes [19].

The authors explain the positive effects of low-fat milk by the influence of milk proteins. They are able to saturate better than carbohydrates or fats and regulate food intake and metabolic functions due to the action of protein, proteins and amino acids on the gastrointestinal and central regulatory pathways.Milk proteins contribute to the maintenance of normal body weight and control of MS factors through mechanisms of control of food intake and blood glucose levels, and this effect is achieved with the usual amount of dairy products. Eating even a small amount of milk protein helps to reduce postprandial glycemia, and not by increasing insulin, but, possibly, by increasing the sensitivity of cells to it [20].

These works became a prerequisite for the isolation of the active components of milk proteins and their use for medicinal purposes.It has been shown that bioactive peptides isolated from milk proteins play an important role in the prevention and treatment of MS through the regulation of satiety, insulinemia, blood pressure, absorption of free radicals, and regulation of the lipid profile. In the future, these peptides can be introduced into functional products to reduce the risk of obesity, atherosclerosis, hypertension and type II diabetes in the population [21].

Thus, many studies have shown that milk consumption prevents the development of CVD and DM, while the authors explain most of the effects by the presence of calcium and active peptides (which are formed in the process of protein breakdown) in it.

Fermented milk products. As you know, normal human microflora provides a high level of health, and its disorders often lead to inflammatory bowel changes, cancer and systemic diseases such as MS and allergies. It is possible to improve the microflora with various nugrients, specific food ingredients or the use of live microorganisms in the form of medicines [22]. In this aspect, fermented milk products deserve special attention, which, perhaps, can be called the most heroic of all food products.They not only have all the beneficial substances (and, accordingly, properties) of milk, but also due to the presence of microorganisms, they have additional preventive and therapeutic effects on the body. Taking this into account, scientists of the Institute of Gerontology, together with other Research Institutes, have developed a number of fermented milk products that can not only effectively restore intestinal microflora, but also reduce blood cholesterol in people with elevated levels.

In the work of M.Kalergis et al. (2013) noted that it is fermented milk products – yogurt, cottage cheese, fermented milk – that have the greatest effect on the impact on health and, in particular, the components of MS [8]. The results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, which included 197 patients, showed that the consumption of low-fat yogurt enriched with whey protein, 2 times a day, 150 ml for 3 months, leads to a decrease in plasma triglycerides and glucose, blood pressure and weight body, and the effect was more pronounced in those who initially had increased triglycerides and glucose [23].Another study showed that consumption of low-fat yoghurt reduced the risk of type II diabetes by 14%, while fatty dairy products did not have this effect [24].

Thus, fermented milk products are an effective dietary means of influencing health and the prevention of CVD. However, it has been proven to have a protective effect only for low-fat fermented milk products. At the same time, there are many works that show the uniqueness of milk fat and its importance in the prevention of various diseases.

Milk fat. The debate remains open about the need to reduce the fat content of dairy products. Naturally, people with obesity, CVD, diabetes mellitus or MS need to reduce their intake of dairy products with a high fat content (hard cheese, butter), if only because of their high calorie content. However, the widespread obsession with dairy products with reduced or even zero fat content, especially among healthy people, cannot be considered correct. First, with the removal of milk fat, the removal of substances dissolved in it, primarily vitamin D.In addition, reducing the fat content in a dairy product (eg yogurt) from 2.5 to 1% reduces its caloric content by only 67.5 kcal per 500 ml of product. On the other hand, since milk fat contains significant amounts of saturated fatty acids (EFA) and cholesterol, it is natural to assume that it will have a negative effect on health, especially in people with CVD, diabetes mellitus and MS. However, in evidence-based medicine, any assumption requires proof or refutation, so according to Jaffiol S.(2008), statements regarding the effect of milk fat on atherogenesis should be verified [8].

Studies on the effect of fatty dairy products on health have shown that, on the contrary, they contribute to the prevention of type II diabetes [25]. In addition, milk fat has been shown to increase HDL and help lower LDL and TG, which is known to have a cardioprotective effect [10]. Thus, although more than half of milk fat contains saturated fatty acids [10], and some meta-analyzes have shown that reducing saturated fat intake reduces the risk of cardiovascular death, the question of the effect of milk fat remains open [27, 28].

Such results of the above scientific research can be explained if we take into account the unique structure of milk fat molecules. Thus, palmitic and stearic fatty acids (FAs), which make up 44 and 18%, respectively, of all FAs in milk, occupy the second position in triglycerides, in the same place as unsaturated FAs in vegetable oils. Pancreatic lipase cleaves off FAs from positions 1 and 3 and forms free FAs and 2-monoglyceride. It is this unique structure that determines the effect of milk fat on post-prandial metabolism – the prevention of post-prandial increase in cholesterol and TG, and this effect decreases with a decrease in the content of EFA in the product [10].

Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are important components of milk fat, the main of which is oleic acid. It has a protective effect on CVD and, compared with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), was more effective in lowering TG and increasing HDL cholesterol [28]. Epidemiological and clinical studies have shown that MUFA and especially oleic acid do not affect or even lower blood pressure [29]. Oleic acid also improves the glycemic profile and decreases insulin resistance [10].

In a study by Warensju, E et al. (2010), which was attended by 1000 people, showed that the risk of developing a first myocardial infarction decreases with an increase in milk fat intake, especially in women. In particular, this is due to the consumption of hard cheese and fermented milk products [30].

Trans-palmitolic acid has been attributed to the reduction in the risk of diabetes from milk fat intake. According to various sources, it is thanks to her that the reduction in the risk of diabetes when consuming dairy products ranges from 29 to 62% [9].

Thus, despite the significant content of EFA and cholesterol in milk fat, it has a protective effect on CVD and diabetes mellitus, which is due to its unique composition and special structure of TG molecules.

Vitamins and minerals. Milk and dairy products contain a number of vitamins (A, D, group B, etc.) and minerals (Ca, K, Mg, P, etc.). Therefore, many of their effects are associated precisely with the influence of these substances on the human body. The content of vitamin D in milk is 1.2–2.6 mg / l [31], so it cannot serve as the only source of this vitamin.However, as an addition to the dietary regimen, as well as taking into account the almost total vitamin D deficiency among the population of Ukraine [32], this may have an additional positive effect. Unfortunately, to increase profitability, dairy producers skim the dairy products and thereby significantly reduce their vitamin D content.

Along with this, it was found that in people with MS, hypovitaminosis D is present regardless of fat mass and other factors. This confirms the hypothesis that vitamin D deficiency is a powerful and independent factor determining the development of MS, and not simply associated with its deposition in adipose tissue [33].

That is why, despite the low content of vitamin D in dairy products, you should still consider its positive effects on the human body. As various studies show, in addition to antirachitic and antiosteoporetic effects, vitamin D has a number of positive effects on the state of CVD and metabolism. It has been shown that an increase in vitamin D intake together with a healthy diet and physical activity prevents the development of MS [34]. The NHANES-III study showed that people with blood vitamin D levels greater than 92.5 nmol / L had lower TG levels than those with less than 52.5 nmol / L [35].In another randomized study, it was shown that the addition of 3000 IU (83 mg) of vitamin D per day before a low-calorie diet throughout the year led to a greater decrease in TG in the blood compared with the reduction in calorie content itself [36]. At the same time, intake of 400 or 800 U of vitamin D without diet did not affect TG [37].

It has been shown that in premenopausal women without diabetes and hyperparathyroidism, vitamin D deficiency is associated with general and abdominal obesity [38]. At the same time, the results of the study by Fung G.J. et al. (2012), in which 4727 young black and white men and women over 20 years of age were examined, showed that an increase in the content of vitamin D in the diet or additional intake of it in the form of medications was associated with a decrease in the development of MS. A particularly pronounced effect was observed in obese patients with initially elevated glucose levels and low HDL cholesterol [39].

In people with diabetes, a decrease in the level of vitamin D in the blood was found in comparison with the control. A negative correlation of the level of vitamin D in plasma with glycosylated hemoglobin confirms its participation in glycemic control [40].Vitamin D regulates insulin secretion by binding to β-cell receptors, and also affects insulin through the maintenance of a normal extracellular calcium pool [9]. The effect of vitamin D on intracellular calcium content and PTH secretion may also play a role in the regulation of glucose and insulin metabolism, namely, to alter the insulin sensitivity of adipocytes and skeletal muscles. [10]

Vitamin D can also affect blood pressure. By reducing the secretion of parathyroid hormone and the concentration of calcium in the smooth muscles of the vessels, it helps to relax and lower blood pressure [10].Many studies have shown that an increase in blood pressure is associated with a decrease in the content of vitamin D in the blood [10]. However, in the elderly, no relationship was found between the vitamin D content in the blood and blood pressure [41].

Thus, vitamin D has a number of positive effects on human health, in particular, the relationship between its insufficient content in the body and the development of CVD and diabetes mellitus has been shown. Considering this, milk, namely milk fat, must be present in the diet as an additional source of this vitamin.

Also, dairy products are a source of vitamin B 12 , since 1000 ml of milk or 500 ml of yogurt can provide its daily requirement. This is especially true for vegetarians, namely lacto-vegetarians, for whom dairy products are the only source of vitamin B 12 . Scientific studies show that the content of vitamin B 12 in the blood negatively correlated with BMI, while a deficiency of B 12 was observed in obesity and overweight, but did not depend on the presence of insulin resistance and MS [42].

In addition, dairy products provide 50% of calcium and more than 10% of magnesium and potassium in the daily diet [10]. Large randomized controlled trials indicate a positive or neutral effect of calcium on blood lipids [10]. A high-fat diet has been shown to increase TG, LDL, and HDL regardless of calcium intake; however, the addition of high doses of calcium to the diet reduced TG, LDL, but did not increase HDL (which is associated with a decrease in absorption and increased excretion of fat in the feces) in comparison with a low-calcium diet. [43].Interestingly, calcium had a positive effect on blood lipids only at a sufficiently high intake (more than 2 g / day), and with a slight increase in its intake (up to 1.5 g / day), it did not give any effect [10].

In a study of the dietary habits of 827 adults in Tehran, it was found that people who consumed more dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt) had a smaller waist circumference, and were less likely to suffer from hypertension and MS. The authors attribute this effect of dairy products to the presence of calcium in them [44].As you know, the highest calcium content is in cottage cheese and cheese, which may be the reason for the positive effect of these products on health. Thus, the consumption of cheese negatively correlates with the presence of MS and its components separately [45].

Many studies have shown a negative relationship between calcium intake (500–2000 mg / day) and blood pressure, especially systolic [46, 47, 48, 49]. An increase in calcium intake contributes to a decrease in intracellular calcium and a decrease in vascular tone [50, 51].On the other hand, vitamin D contributes to an increase in intracellular calcium and muscle tone, while calcium, by decreasing the level of active vitamin D, affects this and lowers blood pressure [51]. At the same time, L.A. van Mierlo et al. (2006) showed that in men who consumed less than 785 mg / day of calcium for 2 years, diastolic and systolic blood pressure decreased [49].

Analysis of data on 10,066 women over 45 years old who did not suffer from CVD, cancer, diabetes and have never used contraceptives, showed that the consumption of calcium and dairy products is associated with a lower risk of developing MS in women of both middle and old age [5].

Potassium and magnesium are also important components of milk. Calcium, magnesium and potassium reduce sodium retention in the body through many different mechanisms and thereby indirectly reduce the tone of peripheral vessels [50, 51]. Potassium can also lower blood pressure due to a decrease in the amount of proinflammatory agents in smooth muscles, a decrease in platelet aggregation and renal vascular tone [52]. Magnesium, on the other hand, reduces intracellular calcium deposition and thus improves smooth muscle relaxation [53], but the results of clinical trials are different [10].Today, the question remains open about the most optimal ratio of calcium, magnesium and potassium for a positive effect on blood pressure [10]. An open, randomized controlled study of 76 Japanese women, 47.5 ± 4.7 years old, showed that supplementation with 300 mg of calcium, 150 mg of magnesium and 4 g of lactose daily for 12 months contributed to a decrease in fat mass (determined by X-ray absorptiometry). However, the role of magnesium and lactose in this process is not fully understood [54].

You should also remember about vitamin A, which is also found in dairy products.Its effect on CVS is different depending on gender. In the experiment, it was shown that vitamin A (in moderate doses) in females reduces the prothrombotic potential, and in males it increases the content of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Therefore, the use of vitamin A supplements should be strictly gender selective [55].

Thus, vitamins and minerals contained in dairy products have a significant preventive potential in relation to CVD, DM and MS. At the same time, the content of some of them, in particular vitamin D, is insufficient and for a greater effect it needs to fortify dairy products with it.

Functional products. The study of the influence of milk and dairy products on health, in particular the importance of their individual components, became a prerequisite for the isolation of active components of milk proteins and their use for medicinal purposes. It has been shown that bioactive peptides isolated from milk proteins play an important role in the prevention and treatment of MS through the regulation of satiety, insulinemia, blood pressure, absorption of free radicals, and regulation of the lipid profile. It is possible that in the future these peptides can be introduced into functional products to reduce the risk of obesity, atherosclerosis, hypertension and type II diabetes among the population [21].

Attempts were also made to fortify milk with various substances that are not present in it, and thereby enhance the existing or obtain new positive effects on the human body. Thus, daily consumption of 500 ml of milk enriched with omega-3, oleic and folic acids reduced triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL, glucose and homocysteine ​​in patients with MS, while such milk was well tolerated by patients [56]. Adding linoleic acid to milk and consuming it for 12 weeks allowed weight loss in overweight people, but had no effect on obesity.Such milk also did not negatively affect health indicators [57].

In summary, it should be noted that milk and dairy products are an important food for most people. At the same time, despite individual works showing the negative impact of dairy products on health, most authors still consider dairy products useful and necessary in the daily diet of a person. The positive effect of both whole milk and dairy products, as well as its individual components, has been proven in large randomized studies.Considering all this, it can be argued that dairy products must be present in the diet of both healthy people and patients with CVD and metabolic changes.

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23. The whey fermentation product malleable protein matrix decreases TAG concentrations in patients with the metabolic syndrome: a randomized placebo-controlled trial / I. Gouni-Berthold, D.M. Schulte, W. Krone [et al.] // Br. J. Nutr., 2012. – Vol. 107, no. 11, – P.1694-1706.

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25. Kratz M. The relationship between high-fat dairy consumption and obesity, cardiovascular and metabolic disease / M. Kratz, T. Baars, S. Guyenet // Eur. J. Nutr., 2013. – Vol. 52, no. 1. – P. 1–24.

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39. Vitamin D intake is inversely related to risk of developing metabolic syndrome in African American and white men and women over 20 years: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study / G.J. Fung, L.M. Steffen, X.Zhou [etal.] // Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 2012. – Vol. 96, No. 1. – P. 24-29.

40. Vitamin D and glycemic control in diabetes mellitus type 2 / I. Kostoglou-Athanassiou, P. Athanassiou, A. Gkountouvas [et al.] // Ther. Adv. Endocrinol. Metab., 2013. – Vol. 4, no. 4. – P. 122–128.

41. Vitamin D status and parathyroid hormone levels in relation to blood pressure: a population-based study in older men and women / M.B. Snijder, P. Lips, J.C. Seidell [et al.] // J. Intern. Med., 2007.- Vol. 261, No. 6. – P. 558-565.

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43. Lorenzen J.K. Dairy calcium Intake modifies responsiveness of fat metabolism and blood lipids to a high-fat diet / J.K. Lorenzen, A. Astrup // Br. J. Nutr., 2011. – Vol. 105, no. 12. – P.1823-1831.

44. Dairy consumption is inversely associated with the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in Tehranian adults / L. Azadbakht, P. Mirmiran, A. Esmaillzadeh [etal.] // Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 2005. – Vol. 82, No. 3. – P. 523-530.

45. Hiustmark A.T. The Oslo health study: cheese intake was negatively associated with the metabolic syndrome / A.T. Hiustmark, S.E. Tomten // J. Am. Coll. Nutr., 2011. – Vol. 30, No. 3. – P. 182-190.

46. Dietary calcium and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials / P.S. Allender, J.A. Cutler, D. Follmann [et al.] // Ann. Intern. Med., 1996. – Vol. 124, No. 9. – P. 825–831.

47. Effects of dietary calcium supplementation on blood pressure. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials / N.S. Bucher, R.J. Cook, G.H. Guyatt [etal.] // JAMA, 1996. – Vol. 275, no. 13. —P. 1016-1022.

48. The influence of dietary and nondietary calcium supplementation on blood pressure: an updated metaanalysis of randomized controlled trials / L.E. Griffith, G.H. Guyatt, R.J. Cook [et al.] // Am. J. Hypertens. 1999. – Vol. 12, no. 1. – P. 84–92.

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50. Milk products, dietary patterns and blood pressure management / P.M. Kris-Etherton, J.A. Grieger, K.F. Hilpert [et al.] // J. Am. Coll. Nutr., 2009. – Vol. 28, Suppl. one.- S. 103-119.

51. Zemel M.B. Calcium modulation of hypertension and obesity: mechanisms and implications / M.B. Zemel // J. Am. Coll. Nutr., 2001. – Vol. 20, Suppl. 5. – P. 428–435.

52. Young D.B. Potassium’s cardiovascular protective mechanisms / D.B. Young, H. Lin, R.D. McCabe // Am. J. Physiol. 1995. Vol. 268, No. 4. – P. 825–837.

53. Paolisso G. Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and insulin resistance: the role of intracellular magnesium / G. Paolisso, M.Barbagallo // Am. J. Hypertens. 1997 Vol. 10, No. 3. – P. 346–355.

54. Reducing effect of calcium in combination with magnesium and lactulose on body fat mass in middle-aged Japanese women / N. Seki, Y. Asano, H. Ochi [et al.] // Asia Ras. J. Clin. Nutr., 2013. – Vol. 22, No. 4. – P. 557-564.

55. Gushchina L.V. Moderate vitamin A supplementation in obese mice regulates tissue factor and cytokine production in a sex-specific manner / L.V. Gushchina, R. Yasmeen, O. Ziouzenkova // Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 2013.- Vol. 539, no. 2. – P. 239–247.

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57. Effects of milk supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid (isomers cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12) on body composition and metabolic syndrome components / N. Laso, E. Vgidy, J. Vidal [et al.] // Br. J. Nutr. 2007.- Vol. 98, No. 4. – P. 860–867.

I went to the editorial office on 11/25/2014.

How to normalize high cholesterol levels without medication?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in all cells of the body. The body needs cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help digest food. However, excessive accumulation of cholesterol in the blood, in other words high cholesterol , can lead to serious illness.We talk about this in more detail in the article.


Cholesterol is mainly divided into types such as LDL and HDL. Both are lipoproteins, which are compounds made of fat and protein. They are responsible for carrying cholesterol into the bloodstream throughout the body.

LDL is a low density lipoprotein, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol levels lead to a buildup of plaque on the walls of the arteries.

High levels of low-density cholesterol can cause two separate and equally serious problems.First, it can constrict blood vessels, disrupting the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Second, lead to the formation of blood clots, which can escape and block blood flow, causing a heart attack or stroke.

HDL is high density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol. It carries the “bad” cholesterol back to the liver, where it is broken down and eliminated from the body.

VLDL stands for very low density lipoprotein. This type is also called “bad” cholesterol because it also promotes the buildup of plaque in the arteries.But VLDL is not generally tolerated by cholesterol, but by high triglyceride levels.

Causes of high cholesterol levels

Normally, high-density cholesterol should be much more than low. High cholesterol can be caused by a genetic addiction, but more often it is an unhealthy lifestyle.

Causes of high cholesterol levels include:

  • Unhealthy diet: eating a lot of unhealthy fats.One type, saturated fat, is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods. Another type, trans fats, is found in some fried and processed foods. Consuming saturated and trans fats is responsible for high blood cholesterol levels.
  • Lack of physical activity . Lack of exercise, sedentary and sedentary lifestyles all lower HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
  • Smoking . Reduces HDL cholesterol, especially in women, which is why high (bad) cholesterol levels appear.
  • Age. The risk of high cholesterol increases with age.
  • Weight . The causes of high blood cholesterol levels can be associated with being overweight.

Symptoms of high cholesterol

Elevated cholesterol levels usually do not cause any symptoms.In most cases, they are only caused by complications (cardiovascular disease). The most common symptoms of high blood cholesterol levels associated with cardiovascular disease include:

  • angina pectoris, chest pain;
  • nausea;
  • extreme fatigue;
  • shortness of breath;
  • pain in the neck, jaw, upper abdomen, or back;
  • numbness or coldness in the limbs;
  • sudden loss of balance and coordination;
  • dizziness;
  • confusion;
  • Blurred vision or double vision;
  • sudden severe headache.

Important! If you find any of the above signs of high cholesterol levels, be sure to seek the advice of your doctor. A blood test is the only way to tell if you have one.

Diagnostics of the level of cholesterol

To determine the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood (diagnostics of high cholesterol), a blood test is taken for a lipid profile.

Lipidogram includes the determination of the following components:

  • Lipoproteins – play the role of carriers of cholesterol in the body:

low density (“bad” cholesterol) – deposited on the walls of blood vessels.They should be as small as possible – less than 100 mg / dl;

high density (“good” cholesterol) – transports cholesterol to liver cells for processing. Their number should, on the contrary, be higher, high HDL cholesterol levels – 60 mg / dl or higher.

  • Triglycerides – Normally this type of fat is stored in fat cells throughout the body. Their high blood levels are the cause of cardiovascular disease. Our body needs to be as small as possible – less than 150 mg / dl.
  • Total cholesterol – the total amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. This indicator tends to grow with age. But people on a healthy diet don’t see this trend.

What is the highest blood cholesterol level?

Total cholesterol is generally considered “borderline high” if it is between 200 and 239 mg / dL; “High” if it exceeds 240 mg / dL.

Very high LDL cholesterol levels – 130 to 159 mg / dL.What is the highest LDL cholesterol level? – if it exceeds 160 mg / dl.

The level of HDL cholesterol, which should have a high level of good cholesterol, is considered “low” if it is below 40 mg / dL.

Why high blood cholesterol is dangerous

High cholesterol levels can cause a dangerous build-up of cholesterol and other deposits on the walls of the arteries (atherosclerosis). These deposits (plaques) can reduce blood flow through your arteries. Why is high blood cholesterol dangerous for humans? High cholesterol levels can cause effects such as:

  • Ischemic disease. If the arteries that supply the heart with blood (coronary arteries) are affected, the person may experience chest pain (angina) and other symptoms of coronary artery disease.
  • Heart attack. Why is high cholesterol dangerous? If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot may form at the rupture site, blocking blood flow or blocking an artery downstream. If blood flow to a part of the heart stops, the person will have a heart attack.
  • Stroke. Similar to a heart attack, a stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks blood flow to a part of the brain.
  • Peripheral arterial disease. In PAD, fat accumulates along the walls of the arteries and affects blood circulation, mainly in the arteries leading to the legs and feet. The arteries of the kidneys may also be affected.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Why is high blood cholesterol dangerous for the body? Even if blood sugar control is good, people with diabetes tend to have higher triglyceride levels, lower HDL levels, and sometimes higher LDL levels, which increases the likelihood of atherosclerosis.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension) . Why is high blood cholesterol dangerous? When the arteries harden and narrow, the heart has to work much harder to pump blood through them. As a result, blood pressure becomes abnormally high.

High Cholesterol Diet

The best diet option for vascular atherosclerosis is a diet based primarily on plant foods.But this does not mean that you should completely give up meat. By adding whole grains to your diet, you reduce the risk of clogged arteries in atherosclerosis by 30%.

High Cholesterol Diet Principles:

  1. Add one serving of vegetables and / or fruits to each meal (for more appetite, choose colorful dark greens, orange oranges, orange persimmons, blue grapes, assorted berries, etc.).
  2. Replace regular cereals and breads with whole grain products (instead of white rice – brown or wild, instead of white bread – bread from sprouted grains, instead of ready-made breakfast cereals – oats).
  3. Add more legumes to your food (peas, beans, lentils not only taste good, they also perfectly bind cholesterol in the digestive tract).
  4. Include nuts, seeds, oily fish (such as salmon), omega-3 supplements (which can lower blood triglyceride levels by 30%), avocados, and olive oil in your diet. These foods contain healthy fats (unsaturated fats) that help lower bad cholesterol levels.
  5. Reduce the amount of sugar consumed per day (sugar is a source of other equally unhealthy fats – triglycerides; less sugar – less unhealthy fats).

Tips on how to lower high cholesterol

The sooner you start lowering your cholesterol level, the lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

To correct the level of cholesterol, drugs of the statin group are used, as well as other drugs that lower the level of lipids in the blood. Along with their effectiveness, these drugs also have a number of side effects, such as memory impairment, decreased concentration, decreased exercise tolerance, muscle pain and depression.

Despite the fact that such drugs are necessary to correct high cholesterol levels, dietary correction, appropriate exercise and some additional things can be a powerful addition to drug treatment, and in some cases – serve as an alternative.

According to the recommendations of doctors, if the level of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) is in the range of 75-80 mg / dl and you do not have concomitant heart disease, diabetes, etc., you can limit yourself to natural ways to control it.If the amount of LDL cholesterol exceeds 80 mg / dl, it is necessary to include drug treatment in diet and healthy lifestyle.

If you are wondering, “I have high cholesterol, what should I do?” – we have an answer to it.

Stick to a diet

What should not be eaten with high cholesterol levels? If you have high cholesterol levels, the following foods (high cholesterol) should be eliminated from your diet:

  • trans fats : baked goods, cookies, crackers and some types of margarine, popcorn, candy, donuts, fast food;
  • Salt: Foods that contain too much sodium can raise bad cholesterol and blood pressure;
  • Sugar: Too much sugar can cause problems with weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and cholesterol;
  • Dairy products: Milk, butter, full-fat yogurt and cheese are high in saturated fat;
  • red meat: pork, beef, etc.tend to be high in saturated fat and cholesterol;
  • processed meat: bacon, sausage, sausages; It is necessary to limit the amount of processed meat in general due to the high sodium content and low nutrient content;
  • Fried foods: French fries, fried chicken with skin and other deep-fried foods contain high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol from the oil in which they are cooked.

Control the amount of food

How to lower high cholesterol levels? People with high cholesterol levels and those who are at high risk or suffer from cardiovascular disease are advised to limit their cholesterol content to no more than 300 mg per day.

Be active

Cardio workouts are the most effective for atherosclerosis. They help lower high blood cholesterol, total fat and triglycerides in the body, and are also a great stress reliever.

If you don’t have the opportunity to train in the gym, do at least something! Even a 20-minute walk after a meal can help lower triglyceride levels.

Try not to work overtime, lead an active lifestyle, take time for walks, walking, running.Alternate between more intense and less intense workouts.

Follow the weight norm

Why is high cholesterol associated with weight? Overweight and obesity can lead to negative consequences, such as blockage of blood vessels, the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes mellitus and other conditions.

It’s no secret that when the total amount of body fat decreases, the level of “bad” cholesterol also decreases. Therefore, any doctor will recommend that you lose a few pounds.

  1. Eat less fatty, fried, salty and sweet foods.
  2. If you drink sugary drinks, switch to water.
  3. Introduce small snacks such as fruits and nuts into your daily diet. Avoid cookies, popcorn, and other unhealthy snacks.
  4. If you want something sweet, try some sweets with little or no fat, such as marmalade.
  5. Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking more walks.

Stress Avoid

When the body is stressed, numerous physiological reactions occur. One of the reactions is a change in the level and components of hormones in the blood. If you are under constant and prolonged stress, whether at work or at home, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol, hormones that speed up your heart and sharpen your brain. High cortisol levels, as a result of chronic stress, can cause high blood cholesterol levels as well as other risks of heart disease.Therefore, it is very important to maintain psycho-emotional calm, avoid overwork and stressful situations.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol.

What is it?

What foods should be consumed to lower it?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance of animal origin.Cholesterol is a part of organs and tissues, it regulates the permeability of the cell membrane for the penetration of nutrients and for the removal of decay products. Cholesterol takes part in in the formation of bile acids, vitamin D, hormones, nervous tissue. It is the main building material in the human body, which is used to build cell membranes.

In the blood of a healthy person, the level of cholesterol is maintained at a certain level, and its excess is dangerous for the body and can cause diseases such as atherosclerosis, which affects large and middle arteries, develops slowly over decades. In the blood cholesterol is in the form of a complex compound with proteins – lipoproteins.
Lipoproteins are divided into “ good and bad “.

Good lipoproteins perfectly dissolve and do not release cholesterol into a sediment, which protects our vessels from the formation of atherosclerotic plaques.
Bad lipoproteins , unlike good ones, are poorly soluble and tend to precipitate cholesterol.When the level of cholesterol in the blood rises above 5.2 mmol / L, its excess is deposited in the vascular wall, which contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, leading to narrowing and sometimes to complete blockage of the arteries. This causes the development of myocardial infarction or coronary artery disease (coronary heart disease), stroke, transient ischemic attacks, arterial hypertension, aneurysm, peripheral artery disease (lower extremities).

What raises cholesterol levels?

Cholesterol rises due to smoking, overweight or obesity, at moments of overeating, with insufficient physical activity, with an improper diet, as well as with the consumption of foods that are saturated with cholesterol, carbohydrates.In addition, cholesterol may rise due to insufficient intake of vegetable fiber, alcohol abuse and other reasons.

What helps to lower blood cholesterol levels?

Cholesterol decreases with playing sports, with regular physical activity, cholesterol also decreases when smoking cessation, when using “correct” food products.

To find out the level of cholesterol in the blood, you can go to the clinic and undergo the Dispensary or Preventive Medical Examination .

What foods do not raise cholesterol levels?

Cereals:

Anything can be consumed, but whole grains are best because they contain a lot of dietary fiber

Vegetable oils:

– sunflower, corn, soybean, olive

Poultry:

– chicken, turkey, chicken

Drinks:

– non-gas mineral water, teas

– natural juices from vegetables and fruits

Meat:

– beef, lean pork, veal

Seasonings:

-dill-basil, cumin, laurel, tarragon, parsley, red and black pepper, marjoram, thyme

Fruit:

– you should eat at least two servings of fruit a day, and at the same time give preference to fruits with pulp and skin, citrus fruits (lemon, orange, tangerine) must be included in the diet, (if there is no allergy)

Dried fruits

– raisins-prunes

nuts

– forest, peanuts, almonds

Fats

– vegetable margarine – butter

Dairy products (skimmed)

-yogurt, cheese, milk, cottage cheese, kefir

Vegetables:

– you need to eat at least three times a week

Fish (at least 2-3 times a week):

– pollock, herring, salmon, mackerel

If there are no contraindications, include in your diet “superfoods” with pronounced anti-inflammatory properties: garlic, onions, leeks, green onions, chives, shallots, barley, herbs (wheatgrass), sprouts and buckwheat grains, beans and lentils, hot peppers, nuts and seeds, Brussels sprouts, yogurt, kefir.

Saturated Fat – Evil or Normal? Whom to believe?

  • Angela Smith-Welch
  • BBC Future

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Mainstream science claims that consuming too much saturated fat raises cholesterol levels and increases the risk of heart disease. However, why in some diets it is recommended to eat more foods containing such fats?

For decades, in many countries, including the UK, public health authorities have formally recommended that people limit their intake of saturated fat.

But people often ignore this recommendation, preferring to believe that saturated fats (most of them are found in meat and dairy products, butter and ghee, cakes and cakes, coconut and palm oil) do not harm us at all, even in large quantities.

You are almost certainly consuming more saturated fat than recommended if you follow any of the popular low-carb diets such as keto or Paleolithic. Or put a teaspoon of butter in your coffee in the morning, as has become fashionable.

Do you eat more than 100 g of fatty meat, pastries, cheese every day? Then you can easily overcome the limit of these very fats, recommended in Britain – 20 g for women and 30 g for men.

Mainstream nutritional scientists say that consuming too much saturated fat leads to high blood cholesterol levels, which can result in clogged arteries, strokes or heart attacks.

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Caption,

Coconut oil has more saturated fat than butter: just one tablespoon contains more than half of the recommended daily intake for women

Proponents of low-carb, high-fat diets also argue that dietary recommendations the low fat, high carbohydrate diet is wrong, and obesity and diabetes are easier to cope with by consuming fat, including saturated fat, while reducing carbohydrate intake and avoiding snacks.

For the general population, health organizations in many countries recommend limiting the intake of fat, especially saturated fat.

In Britain, for example, it is believed that only up to 35% of calories in our diet should be obtained from fat and about 50% from carbohydrates. (To be fair, it should be noted that such a diet can be called medium-fat and medium-carbohydrate).

When it comes to saturated fat, the attitude is even stricter. The UK recommends that the calories we get from food and drinks should not exceed 11%.US and World Health Organization experts advise even less – 10%.

For women this is about 20 g per day (equivalent to 2.5 tablespoons of butter or four supermarket sausages), and for men 30 g (cheese burger plus four tablespoons of whipped cream).

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Photo Caption,

Two slices of pizza contain about 10 grams of saturated fat, which is half the RDA for women or a third for men.

The American Heart Association goes even further, offering 5-6% …

But since article headlines are often conflicting and confusing, and experts disagree, it’s no wonder people don’t know who to believe when it comes to saturated fat. Where is the truth?

Lynn Garton, dietitian and expert at Heart UK, a diabetic charity, says the current trend towards the importance of saturated fat is alarming – we already consume too much of it.

The average British adult exceeds the RDA, consuming 12.5% ​​of their calories from saturated fat – even when their total fat intake is within the RDA.For Americans this figure is 11%, and for Australians it is 12%.

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Caption,

85 grams of fatty bacon contains about 30 grams of saturated fat (RDA for men)

“There are several factors that increase blood cholesterol,” says Garton. “And diet high in saturated fat is definitely one of them. Research done since the 1950s confirms this. ”

“In addition, despite claims to the contrary, a huge body of evidence-based evidence suggests that cholesterol (including the so-called bad cholesterol, low density lipoprotein, LDL) contributes to the development of heart disease.”

As Garton adds, some people will even benefit from eating even less saturated fat than the standard recommended – especially those with other cardiac risk factors.

How to replace fats

But saturated fats should not be considered an outright poison for the body, as was previously thought. They are just one of several dietary factors that increase the risk of heart disease, and they are all interrelated.

Not to mention, if you cut some of the saturated fat from your diet, you will likely be taking those calories from some other food.

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Photo Caption,

Just one tablespoon of butter contains 7 grams of saturated fat – but if replaced with sugars or flour, the health will be even worse

“Some studies question the direct link between saturated fats and heart disease, but they tend to ignore how those fats are being replaced when the amount is limited, which is very important, ”says Garton.

Many international organizations rely on scientific evidence to recommend reducing the amount of saturated fat in food and replacing it with unsaturated fat.

This recommendation is supported by scientific research. In one, when 5% of calories from saturated fat were replaced with the same amount of calories from polyunsaturated (such as salmon, sunflower oil, nuts, and seeds) or monounsaturated (olive or canola oil), the risk of death decreased by 19%. and 11%, respectively.

Both types of “good fats” have been shown to reduce heart attacks. Replacing saturated fat with whole grain carbohydrates (brown unpolished rice and whole grain bread) worked in the same way.

Photo Credit, Getty Images

Photo Caption,

According to one study, replacing saturated fat with monounsaturated fats (such as olive oil) can reduce deaths by 11%

However, when saturated fats are replaced by sugars and refined starches (such as white flour), the risk of heart attack increases.

“National nutritional guidelines in many countries, including Britain, Australia and the United States, already recognize that replacing some of the saturated fat in the diet with unsaturated fat is beneficial for our heart,” says study co-author Peter Clifton, associate professor at the University South Australia.

“But to this we can add that (…) it is completely wrong to substitute some saturated fats for sugars or refined carbohydrates. It would be better then not to touch saturated fats at all.”

“Unfortunately, when the food industry began to create lower-fat food options (prepared meals, yoghurts, cereals), the sugar percentage often increased as a result, which probably did not reduce the risk of heart disease at all.”

It is worth considering that some types of saturated fatty acids found in saturated fats are less harmful than others.

For example, stearic acid, which makes up about half of all saturated fat in dark chocolate, does not raise blood cholesterol levels.(However, another acid, palmitic, which is also there, increases, so it is better not to eat the whole bar of chocolate at once.)

Photo author, Getty Images

Photo caption,

Most of the fats in yogurt are saturated, but milk foods are less harmful to health than, say, animal fats

Results from another study show how important a food safety table is. For example, cheese and yogurt contain calcium (a mineral that helps maintain normal blood pressure), which may explain why these foods do not raise bad blood cholesterol as much as, say, bacon.

(It is important, however, to approach the results of such studies with some skepticism, as they, like many other studies in the field of nutrition, demonstrate a relationship, not a causal relationship. In other words, people who consume more dairy products may simply a healthier lifestyle in general Also, studies focusing on dairy products tend to focus on milk and yogurt, and much less often on butter and cream.)

Of course, luck and good genes can help, too.“We all know someone whose grandmother lived to be 103, although she always ate a lot of butter, cream and all kinds of sausages,” says Garton. “But at the general population level, all the evidence suggests that the healthiest diet is one that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats such as nuts and fatty fish.”

“Instead of focusing on individual nutrients, we must look at the diet as a whole – the diet must include many heart-healthy foods, “she adds.

In short, Mediterranean-style food is far better for your health than burgers, bacon, butter and coffee.

Legal information. This article is for general information only and should not be construed as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other healthcare professional. The BBC is not responsible for any diagnosis made by the reader based on the materials of the site. The BBC is not responsible for the content of other sites, links to which are present on this page, and also does not recommend commercial products or services mentioned on these sites.If you are concerned about your health condition, see your doctor.

To read the original of this article in English, visit BBC Future .

Why coffee raises cholesterol levels and how to deal with it

Reports of the next study of the beneficial and harmful properties of coffee appear in print so often and at the same time so often contradict each other that everything written below can not be read.Those who prefer other drinks are not very interested in exactly how coffee raises cholesterol. And coffee lovers will still not give up either their favorite drink or their favorite way of making it.

Cafestol in coffee significantly increases blood cholesterol levels by activating receptors in small intestinal cells involved in the transport of bile acids from the liver.

Cafestol is the most potent of all cholesterol-raising substances found in food.The highest level of cafeestol is typical for espresso coffee, coffee made in a french press and boiled Scandinavian brew (it seems that with this method coffee is not brought to a boil, like Turkish coffee, but is boiled). It should also be noted that the removal of caffeine does not in any way affect the content of cafeestol in coffee.

Scientists at Vrije University in Amsterdam have found that drinking five cups of French coffee a day (30 mg of cafeestol) for four weeks increases blood cholesterol levels by 6-8%.

Professor David Moore of Baylor University and his colleagues have devoted their work to the study of the mechanism of action of cafeestol on the liver, until recently remained a mystery. The clue was the identification of the fibroblast growth factor 15 (FGF 15) gene. Experiments on cell cultures and laboratory mice have shown that cafeestol activates the farsenoid receptor X (FXR), which is found on the surface of epithelial cells of the small intestine and reacts to the entry of bile acids into the intestinal lumen.FXR activation stimulates the activity of the FGF 15 gene, which suppresses the function of three genes used by liver cells to regulate blood cholesterol levels.

Thus, the effect of cafeestol disrupts the normal functioning of the internal mechanism that regulates the level of cholesterol in the blood by changing the activity of liver cells and the synthesis of bile acids.

The only practical conclusion that can be drawn from this fundamental study is that of all coffee brewing methods, the least increase in cholesterol levels is coffee made in a coffee maker with a paper filter that removes coffee oils containing cafeestol.


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cbio

Almonds: benefits, harm, calorie content, expert comments :: Health :: RBC Style

Almond trees are considered to be one of the earliest domesticated crops.And if for the first time they, presumably, began to be grown in Jordan, nowadays the USA has become the leader in the supply of almonds [1].

Almonds are eaten raw or roasted as a snack, added to sweet or savory dishes. How it is useful and why it is important to add it to your diet – we will tell you in our article.

The article was commented on:

  • Svetlana Artemova, MD, PhD, Leading Family Doctor, GMS Clinic

  • Anastasia Vizner, dermatovenerologist, medical company BestDoctor

What you need to know

Although almonds are commonly referred to as walnuts, they are actually the edible pits of the fruit of the almond tree.They are covered with a tough skin. Close relatives of almond trees are apricots, which are also grown in warm, dry climates. Their kernels are sometimes confused with almonds due to their physical resemblance. But apricot pits are much softer, the peel is easier to remove, and almonds are usually darker in color.

The almond tree belongs to the Pink family and the Plum genus. There are two varieties of almonds: sweet and bitter. The former is eaten and the latter is used in the production of flavoring extracts for food and liqueurs.Bitter almonds should not be eaten because they contain amygdalin, a toxin that can harm health and even lead to death [2].

Calories and nutritional value of almonds

Almonds contain many useful substances. One 28 gram serving contains [3]:

  • 160 calories;
  • 6 g carbohydrates;
  • 3.5 g fiber;
  • 6 g protein;
  • 6 g protein;
  • 76.3 mg calcium;
  • 1 mg iron;
  • 76 mg of magnesium;
  • 136 mg phosphorus;
  • 208 mg potassium;
  • 0.9 mg zinc;
  • 0.3 mg copper;
  • 0.6 mg manganese;
  • 1.2 mcg selenium;
  • 7.27 mg vitamin E.

Almonds also contain copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and phosphorus. As a plant product, it contains phytic acid. It impairs the absorption of iron, zinc and calcium and may contribute to mineral deficiencies [4].

The benefits of almonds: 8 properties

Almonds are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It has a positive effect on blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. It also helps prevent harmful oxidation of LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, helps in weight management, and reduces hunger.A handful of almonds weighing about 28 grams contains one-eighth of your daily protein requirement.

Almonds are rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress, which can damage molecules in the cells of the body and contribute to inflammation, aging and cancer [5]. In almonds, these substances are contained in the peel [6].

A clinical trial in 60 smokers showed that about 84 grams of almonds per day reduced biomarkers of oxidative stress by 23–34% for four weeks [7].

Almonds contain a lot of vitamin E

Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which contains fat-soluble antioxidants such as tocopherol. One serving (28 g) of seeds contains about 7.27 mg of vitamin E, which is about 37% of the daily value [8].

After several studies, scientists have concluded that if you increase your regular intake of this vitamin, you can reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. But additional data are needed [9].

What you need to know about vitamin E – the most controversial of all

Almonds may help lower sugar levels

Almonds are rich in magnesium, which is involved in many body processes, including blood sugar control [10]. Two servings of almond tree seeds contain approximately 150 mg of this trace element, with a total daily requirement of about 310-420 mg.

25–38% of people with type 2 diabetes are magnesium deficient.And if it is replenished, then the blood sugar level decreases [11]. This indicates that foods high in magnesium, such as almonds, may help prevent type 2 diabetes. In one study, 20 people with type 2 diabetes ate 60 grams of almonds per day for 12 weeks. As a result, a decrease in sugar and lipid levels was observed [12].

Signs of diabetes: how to recognize the disease at an early stage

Almonds can help reduce blood pressure

Magnesium deficiency is associated with high blood pressure, whether or not the person is overweight [13].Studies show that correcting the deficiency of this trace element, including with the help of almonds, can lead to a significant decrease in blood pressure [14].

May lower cholesterol

High blood levels of LDL lipoproteins are a risk factor for heart disease. A 16-week study of 65 people with prediabetes found that a diet containing 20% ​​of calories from almonds reduced LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 12.4 mg / dL [15].

Another experiment showed that consuming 42 grams of almonds per day reduced LDL cholesterol by 5.3 mg / dL while maintaining “good” HDL cholesterol [16].

What You Need to Know About Cholesterol: Scientific Evidence

Prevents harmful oxidation of LDL cholesterol

“Bad” LDL cholesterol can be oxidized, a process that leads to the development of heart disease. Through animal experiments, it was found that almond peel is rich in polyphenolic antioxidants that prevent this process [17]. Another study found that consuming almonds for one month reduced oxidized LDL cholesterol levels in patients by 14% [18].

Reduces hunger

Almonds are low in carbohydrates, but high in protein and fiber, which increase satiety so you feel less hungry. Thus, calorie intake is reduced [19]. One four-week study involving 137 people found that a daily serving of 43 grams of almonds significantly reduced hunger and cravings [20].

Other studies support the role of nuts in fighting hunger [21].

May be effective in normalizing weight

Our body does not absorb about 10-15% of the calories contained in nuts. In addition, there is some evidence that eating nuts may slightly increase metabolism [22]. Due to their satiating properties, nuts can be an excellent addition to a weight loss diet.

In one study, a low-calorie diet that included 84 grams of almonds increased weight loss by 62% compared to a diet rich in complex carbohydrates [23].

Another study in 100 overweight women found that those who ate almonds lost more pounds than those who ate a nut-free diet [24].

Side effects

Almonds are safe in moderation. But people with nut allergies should avoid this product: it increases the risk of adverse reactions up to anaphylactic shock.

Also, due to their size, the seeds of the almond tree can lead to suffocation in young children and the elderly who have difficulty swallowing.

Almonds are not recommended for people with dementia, Parkinson’s disease or limited mobility, as they have a risk of developing aspiration: when liquid or solid substances from the stomach enter the airways when inhaling. This leads to complications, including pneumonia.

Almond oil

To obtain unrefined almond oil, the seeds are pressed with minimal heat. Thus, it is possible to preserve their nutrients and beneficial properties.

To obtain refined almond oil, the seeds are exposed to high temperatures and sometimes chemical additives. This oil is cheaper, but contains fewer useful trace elements.

Almond oil is used in cooking and cosmetology.

It not only soothes and softens the skin, but also improves complexion and tone and helps balance moisture absorption and water loss. Since almond oil has antibacterial properties and contains vitamin A, it can be used to treat acne.It also reduces the effects of sunburn and reduces the signs of aging. The oil also has powerful antifungal properties, strengthens hair and nails.

If you are using unrefined almond oil in your cooking, then it can only be cooked at low temperatures, and can also be used for dressing salads.

Expert commentary

Svetlana Artemova, MD, PhD, Leading Family Doctor, GMS Clinic

Almonds contain phytic acid.How harmful is it for humans and does it affect the absorption of nutrients from foods?

Phytic acid (or inositol hexaphosphate) is actually present in almonds, as in any other grain, legumes, nuts. Phytate is contained in the shell of the above products, and this is the main depot of phosphorus, which the seeds use during their germination. There are many myths about phytic acid that call it an antinutrient. These myths have emerged from the same misconception that comes from the other extreme – superfoods.What is the real harm of this “antinutrient”? It really impairs the absorption of minerals (iron, calcium, zinc), and also inhibits digestive enzymes – trypsin, pepsin, amylase and glucosidase. By the way, inhibition of amylase is not so bad in some cases, as it slows down the breakdown of starch and prevents the rapid rise in blood glucose levels. However, you should be aware that phytic acid reduces the absorption of minerals only when eating foods containing it, and does not affect subsequent meals.For example, if you ate almonds, the absorption of minerals really slowed down, but after 3-4 hours you ate meat or cottage cheese – everything will be perfectly absorbed. Naturally, if the meat is not cooked under the almond crust. And about the absorption of iron. Iron is heme – from animal products and non-heme – from plant products. Phytic acid mainly blocks the absorption of non-heme iron, which is already poorly absorbed, in contrast to heme. And yet, if you want to reduce the phytic acid content of foods, use one of four methods: heat treatment, soaking, sprouting, and fermentation.Vitamin C can be added – it is believed to neutralize phytic acid.

Who Shouldn’t Eat Almonds?

There are two types of almonds, sweet and bitter. Being a useful product, it can cause a number of problems for some people and if used incorrectly. For example, almonds are very high in calories: per 100 g – 600 kcal. It’s greasy, so if you have problems with your pancreas, it’s best to avoid it. May cause allergies. And his overdose – tachycardia, dizziness, headaches.Children under 3 years old are not recommended to eat almonds.

How much can you eat per day?

The daily dose for men – no more than 20-25 nuts per day, for women – 15.

What are the health benefits of almonds?

We can talk endlessly about the benefits of almonds, but let’s dwell on the key points. First, it tastes good. Secondly, it is an excellent source of vitamins, especially of group B, vitamin E (there is even too much of it, so those who take dietary supplements with vitamin E should give up almonds).It is useful for the elderly as a source of plant antioxidants, unsaturated acids and minerals. Improves the condition of the skin and hair. Contains a large amount of folic acid.

Which form is best to use and with what foods to get the most out of it?

Roasted almonds are somewhat better than raw almonds because the heat treatment reduces the phytic acid content. You can make almond milk from almonds, but keep in mind that they are high in calories.Also, almonds can be soaked or consumed with foods containing vitamin C.

Anastasia Vizner, dermatovenerologist, medical company BestDoctor

Why is almond oil useful and how does it affect the skin and hair?

The benefits of almond oil are undeniable: it contains vitamins F, PP, B, E, A, Omega-9, Omega-6, sodium, selenium, copper, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus; carotenoids and bioflavonoids.It strengthens the immune system, helps prevent diseases of the cardiovascular system, normalizes hormonal levels and promotes better absorption of calcium and magnesium, which leads to better sleep quality.

Provides anti-inflammatory, rejuvenating, nourishing, moisturizing, anti-burn, analgesic and softening effect on the skin. Due to the high content of vitamin E, which is a natural antioxidant, it slows down the aging of cells and eliminates inflammation.The high concentration of vitamin F in almond oil normalizes the function of the sebaceous glands and prevents pore enlargement. Gives the skin a healthy, beautiful color. Promotes hair growth, saturating hair follicles with microelements and vitamins, preserves their elasticity and shine.

For whom is cosmetics with almond oil contraindicated?

There are few contraindications for almond oil. Despite its natural origin, it is still a strong allergen and in some cases can cause an allergic reaction.

Women with oily, combination and problem skin should be careful, as in its pure form the oil can be comedogenic, clog pores and lead to inflammation on the face.

Can the consumption of almonds affect the appearance of the skin and hair?

Regular consumption of almonds helps fight skin aging, as well as reduces the appearance of wrinkles, strengthens nails and helps prevent hair loss.

What is the best way to use it so as not to cause allergic rashes?

People with nut allergies should not use almond oil.If you do not know if you have an allergy, it is worth making a test before using the oil: apply it on a small area of ​​the skin, for example, in the wrist area, and wait for a while. If the skin does not turn red and you do not feel itching in the area of ​​application, the test must be repeated after a while. In case the skin remains intact, the oil can be used. It is also possible to use it in a diluted form, in particular with other vegetable oils, or add it to a cosmetic product, for example, to a cream.

Read also:

Your cholesterol is abnormal: Establishing a healthy lifestyle

Meat – visible fat, duck, goose, sausages, sausages, pates, offal, including liver, kidneys;

Any foods fried with animal fat;

Soup-puree and soups with fatty broths;

Dairy products: whole and condensed milk, cheese with a fat content of more than 30%, fatty kefir, cream, cottage cheese, sour cream, butter, ice cream;

Fish: fatty salted, caviar;

Hard margarine, mayonnaise, spicy and fatty sauces;

Pastries, pastries, cakes, cream, sweets;

Strong coffee, chocolate;

Fast food: burgers, french fries, chips;

Coconut and palm oil;

Pies, baked goods (as a rule, the dough contains butter and animal fat).

Meat: lean beef, lamb, pork, ham – no more than 90 g 2 times a week;

Meat soups, meat and fish pates;

Dairy products – whole milk, medium fat cheeses – 2 times a week;

Eggs – 2 per week

Fish: shellfish, fish fried in vegetable oil;

Vegetable fats:

Soft varieties of margarine, sunflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil – up to 20 g per day;

Fried potatoes in vegetable oil – once a week;

Fruit in syrup;

Cereals – white bread, pasta, sweet cereals, muffins;

Sweets – sweet drinks, jam, marmalade, syrup, honey, sugar, candy; fructose – no more than 2 teaspoons per day;

Alcoholic drinks – no more than 70 g of spirits per day, or one glass of wine;

Peanut butter;

Condiments – hot, low-calorie cream and mayonnaise, soy sauce

Meat: chicken, turkey, game, veal, rabbit – up to 2 times a week;

Any dairy products with a fat content of no more than 1.

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