El colesterol, riesgo silencioso

It does not show its face through external symptoms, but high cholesterol is one of the most important risks to cardiovascular health. Following a healthy diet, with plenty of Omega-3, that helps regulate your cholesterol levels, is key to protecting you against these dangers. Here is all you need to know about cholesterol.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates in the blood and intervenes in some basic body functions. For instance, in the development of membranes that protect the organs, performs digestive processes, is crucial in synthesising certain hormones and intervenes in the formation of some vitamins, such as Vitamin D. Some cholesterol is generated within the body itself, in the liver; the other part comes through diet.

Circulating cholesterol needs to be transported by special particles known as low density lipoprotein (LDL) or high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

 Is it always harmful?

No, there are two types of cholesterol. “Bad” cholesterol (LDL) is deposited on the walls of the blood vessels, causing heart disease. On the other hand, “good” cholesterol (HDL) performs beneficial functions, which include helping to remove “bad” cholesterol and its effects.

How are they balanced?

Blood tests are need to determine real cholesterol levels. This enables us to evaluate levels of both good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The total figure should not exceed 200 mg/dl, but the balance between LDL and HDL is also very important. Even if the overall total does not exceed this reference figure, if good cholesterol levels are well below those of bad cholesterol, the former will not be able to perform its function well. Good cholesterol levels should, therefore, be as high as possible.

 What happens if the figures are high?

When cholesterol levels of are very high we speak of hypercholesterolaemia. What are its consequences? Cholesterol accumulates in the blood vessels, greatly increasing the risk of a cardiovascular accident, such as heart attack or stroke.

 Why do cholesterol levels rise?

In some cases, there is a hereditary genetic component, but on most occasions cholesterol levels rise due to poor diet including a lot of unhealthy food with too many calories.

 Foods that should be avoided

To protect yourself against the harmful effects of cholesterol it is essential to follow a healthy diet. You need to remember the dangers of saturated fats, the ones that cause the greatest increases in bad cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are present in products of animal origin such as fat cheeses, whole milk, butter, meat with a lot of grease and ice cream, and in some vegetable oils such as coconut and palm oils. The experts recommend that the percentage of saturated fats in the daily diet should not exceed 10% of recommended daily fat intake, and we need to be particularly careful not to eat too much industrially-produced cakes and pastries, fried and battered meals and very fatty foods.

If the diet includes a lot of saturated fats, the liver produces large amounts of LDL lipoprotein and, if there is not enough HDL, cholesterol becomes attached to the walls of blood vessels, and problems like arteriosclerosis may appear, increasing the risk of cardiovascular illnesses.

Is there such a thing as good fat?

Yes, unlike saturated fats, unsaturated fats to help lower blood cholesterol levels. These fats are divided into monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts and avocados; and polyunsaturated fats, such as saffron, sunflower and corn oil, soybeans and fish. Among these, Krill oil stands out clearly due to its beneficial properties to the health. Most diets today include low intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids, and since the human organism cannot synthesise it, a supplement may be advisable.

Cápsulas aceite de krill

Krill is a small crustacean that lives in the cold, clean waters of Antarctica. The oil extracted from it has a high content in Omega-3 acids in the form of phospholipids, so they are water-soluble and more effective, since our body assimilates them much better than Omega-3 from fish oil, which is linked to triglycerides.

Krill oil does not need additives, because it already contains astaxanthin, the pigment that gives krill its reddish colour, acting as a natural antioxidant and giving stability.

Demonstrated: krill oil works better

To evaluate the effectiveness of krill oil, a study was conducted with patients with high risk of cardiovascular disease.
After 8 weeks taking 2 grams per day of Lipokrill brand fish oil, there was a high increase in the Omega-3 index in the blood. This is a key indication that Omega-3 from krill oil works better, because it passes perfectly from the intestine to the bloodstream and into the cells. Current diets are low in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and since the human organism cannot synthesise these, it may be advisable to supplement them.