A hypercholesterolemia diet can refer to one of two things. The first is a diet that causes elevated cholesterol; the second likely definition is a diet that effectively treats those diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia. In either case, there are certain food groups and eating habits that can directly affect a person's ability to maintain a hypercholesterolemia diet.
In order to better understand exactly what hypercholesterolemia is, it's best to break down the word into components. The prefix hyper means elevated or excessive. Cholesterol refers to the actual steroidal compound that the body uses for many functions, such as cellular maintenance. The suffix emia means that things are taking place inside the bloodstream. When thrown together, hypercholesterolemia means high cholesterol present in the bloodstream.
While cholesterol is necessary for life, when experienced in high doses, this steroid can be life threatening. Cholesterol can build up in the blood vessels, forming hard plaques that can either obstruct blood flow or break off and lodge into other tubular structures of the body. In any case, these plaques are destructive in nature and a key ingredient in the recipe for disaster. Understanding which foods contribute to increasing and decreasing cholesterol levels can help a person manage his or her levels accordingly.
If a person is in the rare category of having dangerously low cholesterol, he or she may want to adopt a hypercholesterolemia diet in the sense of the first definition. A patient diagnosed with high levels of the "bad" cholesterol may want to adopt a low cholesterol diet to fight oncoming disease. There are both good and bad types of cholesterol. Understanding the difference and learning to avoid or eat foods with varying cholesterol levels can help anyone manage his or her health accordingly.
The body synthesizes cholesterol in certain levels; however, most cholesterol comes from outside sources. Controlling intake is therefore key. Most fatty foods, including red meats, contain high levels of cholesterol. More lean options of meat, like poultry or fish, can give people the protein they need without the excessive cholesterol. These are all important factors of an appropriate hypercholesterolemia diet.
Additionally, there are foods that can be consumed that act as vacuum cleaners in the body's vessels. Foods high in fiber or containing whole grains can usually bind to excess cholesterol and help flush the body of any unwanted substances. It's important in any diet, let alone a hypercholesterolemia diet, to remain balanced. The body is all about balance, and veering too far toward one end of the spectrum may solve one problem but start numerous others. The best bet is always to consult with a professional before committing to any specific diet.