Vegetarian is a lifestyle that makes herbs and / or processed products as the main menu. Therefore, vegetarians typically do not eat food that comes from living things-such as beef or poultry. Instead, they usually still eat processed animal products-such as eggs, cheese or milk. In the vegetarian family, there is so-called vegan. Adherent vegan does not consume animal products and consume only plant products in daily life.
Many argue that the vegetarian lifestyle lowers disease risk factors from high cholesterol. Is it true? Basically, the plant-like; vegetables and fruits also contain cholesterol – called phytosterols. But unsaturated phytosterols or cholesterol turned out to have a very good effect for the body. This is because of phytosterols has been recognized to function as an antioxidant and reduces levels of bad cholesterol in the body.
Indeed, those who implement lifestyle as a vegetarian to have higher levels of phytosterols in his body. In addition, vegetarians also have high fiber content in their body. This can prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine, because these substances are being along the fiber. Therefore, vegetarians have a lower risk of disease due to high cholesterol compared to people who love to eat animal products. However, that does not mean they are free from the threat of high cholesterol.
Why vegetarian remain at risk of suffering from high cholesterol?
In fact, the daily cholesterol needs about 1,000 mg per day, and about 600-700 mg have been manufactured by the body. The rest, which is equal to 300-400 mg, obtained from food. In the everyday, vegetarian not vegan is still possible to eat animal products -like; milk, eggs and cheese.
Here is the cholesterol contents are often consumed by vegetarians:
Cheese per 10 gr – 140 Mg
Coconut milk per 10 gr – 185 Mg
Full cream milk per 10 gr – 280 Mg
Chocolate per 10 gr – 290 Mg
Butter per 10 gr – 300 Mg
Chicken egg yolk per 10 gr – 500 Mg
Quail egg yolk per 10 gr – 3640 Mg
By eating a source of saturated fat in excess amount, a vegetarian and still remain at risk for having high cholesterol in the body. In addition, the consumption of carbohydrate-like grains and tubers-in excessive amounts is also said to increase levels of bad cholesterol in the body. According to Grundy (1998), a high consumption of carbohydrates tends to raise triglyceride levels and lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
In conclusion, vegetarian does have a lower risk of suffering from diseases caused by high cholesterol levels compared to those who eat meat and poultry. However, the excessive consumption of carbohydrates and other animal products, vegetarians still have the potential to suffer from high cholesterol levels.