The Vegan Diet and Cholesterol | How Do They Relate?

Cholesterol is a fat-like sterol that plays an important role in helping our body make cell membranes, aid in the digesting process, make hormones, and essential vitamins like vitamin D. As there are limited Vegan sources of vitamin D, supplements are considered by specialists to be probably the most ideal approaches to get vitamin D. Tablets and chewy candies are bottomless decisions, yet vegan vitamin D supplements is additionally accessible in fluid and capsule structure, which you take sublingually (under the tongue).

The cholesterol in our blood originates from two sources. It comes from the foods we eat and also from our liver. The liver makes and synthesizes all the cholesterol in our body for exporting it to the other cells. Cholesterol and other fats are lipoproteins that are carried as spherical particles in our bloodstreams. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) are the two most common lipoproteins.

Understanding the Difference between HDL and LDL

Difference between HDL and LDL

The LDL or low-density lipoproteins and HDL or high-density lipoprotein are two lipoproteins that are two carriers of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is sometimes known as “bad cholesterol” since it is necessary for limited quantities. The LDL has the ability to deliver cholesterol to the various parts of our body, and therefore high LDL cholesterol levels can drastically increase the risks of coronary diseases and heart attacks. Food items that are high in LDL can lead to clogged arteries or atherosclerosis.

HDL cholesterol or more familiarly known as the “good cholesterol”, can help in clearing the LDL cholesterol from our arteries. Doctore use The total cholesterol level is used as a tool to measure the levels of cholesterol in a person. Then for a more accurate result, they divide the total level by the HDL level. To minimize the risk of heart attacks, a person needs to be having HDL in higher proportions and LDL in lower proportions. Similarly, the total cholesterol level’s overall ratio to the HDL level should be less than 4.

Why is it critical to closely monitor cholesterol levels?

Why is it critical to closely monitor cholesterol levels

Keeping your cholesterol levels within a healthy range is an important part of staying fit and healthy. Increased cholesterol levels have a higher risk for inviting a number of heart diseases and strokes. These two are some of the most leading causes of death in the world. Knowing your cholesterol status can keep you free from diseases. As per the doctor’s recommendation, your overall cholesterol consumption should be no more than 300 milligrams (mg) per day.

If you have heart disease or a heart-related diagnosis, your consumption should be limited to 200 mg per day. A cholesterol test, or a screening, can easily tell LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in your blood. This information can be further analyzed to know if you’re prone to heart disease or not. Another reason to closely monitor cholesterol levels is plaque. Cholesterol deposits give rise to plaque when the LDL levels are higher than 130. This fat has a tendency to build up in the walls of your blood vessels and can clog up your arteries. Clogged arteries are dangerous phenomena since they inhibit the blood from flowing through them. Furthermore, these blocked arteries have the potential risk of causing a heart attack.

Does Cholesterol only come from Animal Products?

There is a myth that vegans don’t need to check or worry about their cholesterol levels since they do not consume dietary cholesterol. Diety cholesterol is mostly found in animal products. But In reality, there are many dietary as well as non-dietary factors that even affect vegans or can be a reason for an increased risk of high cholesterol. These factors include age, family background, and genes. If your family has a history of high cholesterol, you need to be conscious enough to check it regularly.

Limiting animal-based products can somehow push vegans to consume diets high in saturated fat. This comes partly due to the consumption of coconut-based products and heavy usage of saturated fats like coconut, palm, and shea oils in place of another oil and can be a reason for high cholesterol levels.

Instead of being familiarized with these products, you should not opt for plant-based butter and cheese since regular consumption of these products can leave a significant impact on the overall quality of your diet. This is due to the fact that they tend to add a significant amount of saturated fats, sugars, and salts while pushing out healthy nutrients.

Are Vegans Entirely Immune to High Cholesterol?

Even though a vegan diet may contain fewer amounts of saturated fats, they still might be affected by issues relating to cholesterol and overall health. As compared to people who opt for a carnivore diet, vegans do have an inherent advantage of not consuming much amounts of saturated fat since products such as poultry, meat, eggs, and dairy are somewhat known to have a good amount of cholesterol. Since a vegan diet eliminates all products that are animal-based, a significant amount of saturated fat can be eliminated.

As far as scientific studies show, consuming foods with a higher amount of saturated fat can increase the LDL level. Saturated fats are touted as one big contributor to the storage of bad cholesterol in your body. Since vegans avoid animal-based products, they are inherently reducing the risk of high cholesterol in them. Though not consuming these products does not guarantee that a person following a vegan diet will be more healthy.

As far as vegan-based food is concerned, many of them have said to lack in nutrients as compared to the number of calories they provide; factors that may influence cholesterol levels among vegans are the lack of nutrients in their plant-based foods. Deficiencies of vital nutrients such as vitamin b12, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, calcium, and vitamin D should be taken care of.

Vegan Diet and Cholesterol | What You Need to Know?

People who consume or prefer a plant-based vegan diet can eat special cholesterol-lowering foods, which in turn lower their LDL cholesterol. These foods include oats, nuts, fruits, beans, barley, and other foods high in fiber. Some foods, such as soy protein, nuts, wheat germ, wheat bran, brussels sprouts, contain substances called phytosterols. Regular consumption of these products can reduce your LDL levels by nearly 30 percent, and that too in just four weeks’ time.

Inculcating food items that are rich in vitamin b12 can also lower cholesterol levels. Eating these products regularly can significantly affect the overall quality of our diets because they tend to minus saturated fat. Nondietary factors such as smoking and obesity can lower the levels of HDL in a person. Alternatively, working out regularly and doing vigorous exercises in addition to eating foods rich in vitamin C can increase HDL levels. Vegetarians and vegans have an average ratio of total cholesterol to HDL level of about 3 to 1. Therefore, a general comparative verdict predicts that carnivore diets have a higher risk of the subconscious or unnoticed high intake of saturated fats.

Vegan Diet and Cholesterol

Lowering High Cholesterol levels with a Vegan Diet

A well-planned and nutrient balanced vegan diet can help in lowering your high cholesterol levels. Since vegan products are plant-derived products, they are supposedly more heart-friendly qualities and fit well with the guidelines of having LDL cholesterol levels between 70 and 189 mg/dL. You can collaborate with certain vegan diets, which can further reduce your increased cholesterol.

Vegan trends are generally treated as heart-healthy trends since it tends to encourage and enjoy the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, and nuts. You are further encouraged to replace high saturated fats with plant-derived unsaturated fats. These include foods such as peanuts, nuts, seeds, avocados, small quantities of vegetables such as rapeseed. You can also inculcate olive oil in your diet and opt for vegan vegetable spreads and dips.

Vegan diets also make the most room for optimizing plant foods, and through backed-up research, they can help to a certain level for people to be more diet conscious and good well-being. Additionally, Vegans are said to be consuming more fiber and nutrients from plenty of fruit and vegetables in replacement with a high amount of saturated fats.

Summary

In essence, vegans can combat high cholesterol levels through dedicated planning and more nutritious diets. A vegan diet can have high cholesterol if certain foods are taken in larger quantities. Overall, veganism is a healthier choice when it is compared with dairy-based diets and non-vegetarian diets.

Vegans can inculcate foods that are rich in micronutrients and thereby avoid high levels of cholesterol through proper screening and tests. Since certain plant foods also contain cholesterol, it is highly recommended to limit such food items and opt for healthier ones that are discussed above.

Tully Zander

My life literally revolves around optimum health and sustainable living by being a devotional vegan. My mission is to create a community of like minded vegans to go forth in creating a better and brighter world for humans, animals and the planet. Just like Gandhi once said: “The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Gandhi

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