The very first recommendation that patients with high cholesterol receive is: change your diet. Patients with atherosclerosis are advised to limit or completely exclude animal fats from the diet, which are found in large quantities in fatty meat and lard, milk, butter, cheese and other dairy products, and egg yolk. At the same time, the basis of the diet should be fruits, vegetables and substances rich in useful unsaturated fatty acids omega-3,6. In addition to virgin vegetable oils and nut kernels, these substances are found in fish – a source of protein, healthy fats and trace elements.
Does Fish Contain Cholesterol?
In one way or another, yes. Read the review below about what types of fish can be used by patients with atherosclerosis, and what useful properties of aquatic inhabitants help to reduce cholesterol.
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Useful Properties of Fish
All fish are useful. This statement has been familiar to us since childhood. An unusual habitat and a rich biological composition make fish dishes not only tasty, but also valuable for the body. The most useful fish, traditionally, is sea fish, but inhabitants of freshwater reservoirs also contain many useful amino acids and microelements, while referring to low-fat varieties.
The beneficial substances found in fish include:
Protein. Fish dishes are a source of many essential amino acids (for example, methionine, valine, tryptophan), which are a building material for all cells of the human body, are not synthesized in the body and come exclusively from food. The digestibility of fish fillets is 95-98%, which is 10% higher than the digestibility of beef, while it is completely digested in 1.5-2 hours, which is 3-4 times faster than meat. Thus, fish is an easily digestible dietary product with a protein content that is in no way inferior to meat protein.
Fish Fat. It has been proven that the fat contained in marine life has antiatherogenic activity. This is due to the fact that omega-3 and 6 polyunsaturated VICs increase the synthesis of “useful” lipoproteins in the liver. These lipoproteins move freely with the blood stream and “clean” the vessels from already formed fatty deposits and are designed to reduce the risk of developing a full-fledged cholesterol plaque and complications of atherosclerosis. People who regularly eat sea or river fish are less susceptible to ischemic diseases of the heart and brain.
Micro and macro elements. Fish contains phosphorus and calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, manganese, sulfur, sodium, selenium. Marine species are also rich in iodine, fluorine and bromine. All these substances are actively involved in metabolic processes in the body, being a component of many enzymes and a catalyst for biochemical reactions. Trace elements such as potassium and magnesium have a positive effect on the heart muscle and blood vessels. Regular consumption of fish at least once a week reduces the risk of heart attack by 20% in patients with high cholesterol levels.
Fat-soluble Vitamins A and E. The content of vitamin A ensures the normal functioning of many metabolic processes and preserves vision. Vitamin E is the most powerful antioxidant known and is responsible for youth and longevity. It also has anti-atherosclerotic activity and can lower elevated cholesterol levels.
Vitamin B12 is a key link in normal blood formation.
Thus, fish is a healthy and important food for any diet. Dishes from it saturate the body with a full-fledged easily digestible protein, regulate the activity of the thyroid gland and other organs of internal secretion, positively affect the nervous system, improving mood, memory and sleep, and stabilize metabolism. In patients with high cholesterol levels, fish dishes are able to reduce “harmful” atherogenic lipid fractions in the blood and minimize the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular complications of atherosclerosis.
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How Much Cholesterol Is in Fish?
Fish can be different. If you determine the chemical composition of fillets of the most popular varieties, you get the following picture:
- water – 51-85%;
- protein – 14-22%;
- fats – 0.2-33%;
- mineral and extractive substances – 1.5-6%.
The cholesterol content directly depends on the fat content. There are low-fat varieties – pollock, hake, halibut. The fat content in them does not exceed 2%. Fish of medium fat content (carp, bream) contains from 2% to 8% polyunsaturated fatty acids. Lipid-saturated varieties with a fat content above 8% include Atlantic herring, mackerel, halibut, white fish.
Cholesterol levels in fish vary. Unfortunately, there are no varieties at all without it: any fish has a certain percentage of animal fat, which is mainly represented by cholesterol.
The cholesterol content of common types of fish is shown in the table below.
As can be seen from the table, the cholesterol content in different types of fish varies over a wide range. The amount of cholesterol that should be eaten by a person with atherosclerosis should not exceed 250-300 mg/day.
What Kind of Fish Is Good for People with High Cholesterol?
Interestingly, despite the high cholesterol content, most types of fish can be consumed by patients with atherosclerosis and its vascular complications. It’s all about healthy fatty acids: they are able to reduce the level of endogenous cholesterol produced in the liver, and normalize fat metabolism in general.
As paradoxical as it may sound, the most useful fish for people with high cholesterol levels are fatty varieties of salmon breeds (salmon, salmon, chum salmon). Today, carcass and steaks with tender fillets can be bought in any supermarket, and dishes made from red fish are not only healthy, but also very tasty. It is advisable to buy fish from trusted sellers: not all carcasses arriving on the shelves of trading floors have the first freshness. The most beneficial for the body are chilled salmon or salmon. 100 grams of salmon meat provides the daily requirement for omega-3, which means it actively fights cholesterol plaques.
In addition to red varieties of fish, tuna, trout, halibut, Baltic herring, sardinella and sardine are leaders in the content of unsaturated fat. It is most beneficial to use them boiled or baked, but even in the form of canned food, these varieties can lower cholesterol levels and help you gain health.
And the most budgetary variety of fish, useful for atherosclerosis, is the familiar herring. It is only undesirable to use salted herring for “medicinal” purposes with high cholesterol: it is better if it is fresh or frozen. By the way, the herring will turn out to be very tasty if you bake it with a lemon wedge and spicy herbs.
Low-fat types of fish also deserve special attention. Cod, halibut or pollock are low-fat dietary items and are approved for patients with atherosclerosis. They can also slightly lower blood cholesterol levels.