The heart pumps blood to all parts of the body carrying food and oxygen; consequently we need to protect it. Certain foods protect the heart while others can harm it. Some of the foods that can harm the heart are those foods that contain cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is carried in the blood as lipoprotein; there are two main types of lipoproteins—High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). The LDL is also referred to as BAD CHOLESTEROL.
Cholesterol is manufactured in the body by the liver, about 85 percent of the total cholesterol required in the body while the balance 15 percent is obtained from animal food (meat, poultry and dairy products).
Cholesterol, being an oily substance cannot mix with blood, just like oil cannot mix with water, so it is seen in the blood as an oily substance and this is more obvious if the quantity of cholesterol in the blood is high. When the level of cholesterol in the blood is higher than normal it can stick to the walls of the blood vessels thus narrowing the blood vessels like grease sticks to the walls of iron or plastic pipes. If this continues without treatment, the inside of the blood vessel becomes narrower and narrower and hardens until it is blocked causing stroke or heart attack depending on the vessel affected.
Blood cholesterol level can be controlled by what we eat, exercise and drugs. Some of the foods which can harm the heart by increasing our blood cholesterol are discussed below.
Eggs are rich in protein, fat and micronutrients. The egg has two parts; the white part and the yolk (yellow part). The yellow part called the yolk is very rich in cholesterol; in adults about two eggs a week will do but as we age this should reduce. Situation is worsened by frying the egg, as some cooking oils also contain cholesterol.
Cholesterol is contained in poultry foods such as chicken, turkey and so on. However, the skin of is most high in cholesterol, consequently, chicken should be skinned (that is, remove the skin) before eating it. This is not easy but we must discipline ourselves because the skin is quite delicious. The writer has stopped eating the skin of chicken- a very big sacrifice.
The liver manufactures about 85 percent of the cholesterol in the body in all animals including man from fats in foods that we eat, while the rest 15 percent comes from the cholesterol in the animal food we eat.
Consequently, the liver of animals contains a lot of cholesterol, as we age, we should avoid eating the liver, it is also very delicious but we ought to have enough when younger.
The kidney also contains a lot of cholesterol, it should also be avoided.
Fast foods such as Hamburgers, Squash egg, Croissant with egg, Muffins, Milkshakes, Cakes and Fried fish all have saturated fat from which the liver in our body can easily manufacture cholesterol. We must avoid them as we age though it is now established that fast foods are responsible in part for the obesity in children.,
Butter and Cheese contain saturated fat from which our liver can manufacture cholesterol.
6. Sea foods
Sea foods such as prawns, shrimps, lobsters and crabs contain a lot of cholesterol, they should be eaten in moderation or avoided.
7.Processed meat/ Red Meat
Processed meat such as sausage, bacon, pork ribs and steak contain saturated fat that can be converted to cholesterol by the liver while some contain cholesterol itself. The same applies to red meat such as cow meat, goat meat, camel meat, ram meat etc.