Cholesterol And Cardiovascular Diseases
While cholesterol plays a role in the bodys metabolic functions, high cholesterol levels in the blood can be harmful and associated with cardiovascular disorders. HDL and LDL are the two lipoproteins mainly responsible for transporting cholesterol in the body.
In simple terms, HDL is called the good cholesterol, whereas LDL is known as the bad cholesterol.
These are called such because HDL takes the unused cholesterol to the liver for further processing, whereas LDL does not.
The extra cholesterol with LDL will stick to the walls of the blood vessels. It has a waxy texture, and when it keeps getting stuck to the blood vessels, it constricts them, blocking proper blood flow.
It leads to fat deposits in these blood vessels causing blockage and many related cardiovascular diseases. The most common one is atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
In some cases, this cholesterol can also collect in the blood vessels making clots that cause a stroke. High LDL levels are dangerous for the body, and researches show a direct connection between high cholesterol and heart diseases.
In addition to cholesterol, there is a chance of rising triglycerides, which are lipids that can get deposited in the blood vessels. Triglycerides are formed from the unused energy in the body, and unlike cholesterol which is a lipoprotein, these are fats.
So, when we talk about LDL and HDL, these include triglycerides as well.
What Are The Risks Linked To High Cholesterol
Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart and blood vessel disease .
The excess LDL cholesterol leads to fatty deposits called plaque forming in the artery walls. Over time, the plaque causes narrowing and hardening of the arteries .
This can lead to:
- Angina when plaque builds up in the major arteries that supply your heart, known as the coronary arteries, they become narrower and are partially blocked, reducing blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart. This may cause shortness of breath and chest pain.
- Heart attack if a plaque in a coronary artery bursts , a clot may form and block the supply of blood to the heart, starving it of oxygen.
- Stroke if the blood vessels that supply the brain become narrower or blocked by plaque, blood supply to the brain can be severely reduced or cut off, causing a stroke. Strokes can also be caused when a clot from another part of the body travels through the blood and lodges in an artery in the brain.
- Peripheral vascular disease this usually affects the arteries that supply the legs and feet, causing leg pain when walking , and even pain when resting, when the circulation is more badly affected
A high level of HDL cholesterol is good because HDL cholesterol helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the blood, taking them back to the liver where they’re removed from the blood and passed out of the body.
Dementia And Other Memory Loss
Since your arteries are so blocked up from your hypertension, that can sometimes restrict the flow of blood to the brain. This puts you at a higher risk of stroke, which could lead to the onset of vascular dementia. Even without stroke, having high blood pressure could cause vascular dementia.
You may notice that you struggle to learn new things, remember, and think, which is also tied to your hypertension even if its not quite dementia.
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Fastings Effects On Obesity Insulin
The present study reviewed 11 meta-analyses summarizing the results from randomized clinical trials involving intermittent fasting. Specifically, these meta-analyses included results from 130 clinical trials examining the impact of the four aforementioned intermittent fasting regimens on metabolic and cardiovascular health.
The researchers also analyzed the impact of bias and inconsistencies on the results of these studies. Accordingly, they graded these results as low, moderate, or high quality.
The researchers found that intermittent fasting has associations with weight loss, lower body mass index , and improvements in blood glucose levels, blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol levels.
The modified alternate fasting diet and 5:2 diet produced a weight loss of more than 5% in people with overweight or obesity. The zero-calorie alternate fasting diet and time-restricted diet did not have the same effect.
The analysis also showed that most of these studies were likely to be of low quality.
However, the researchers found more reliable evidence to support seven associations between intermittent fasting and health outcomes.
This included high- and moderate-quality data showing:
Promotes A Healthy Heart
Fasting lowers the bad cholesterol, regulates blood volume, and normalizes blood pressure. Research on animals has proved to make the heart muscle more efficient and accelerate the growth of blood vessels in the heart.
While there are so many benefits of fasting, it must be approached with caution. People with diabetes, people suffering from high blood pressure, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not fast.
Fasting is known to improve brain function by boosting the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor .
A number of other chemicals that enhance neural health are triggered by BDNF, which activates brain stem cells to form new neurons. Besides protecting your brain cells, this protein also helps prevent Alzheimers and Parkinsons disease.
Fasting can help clear the skin because with digestion temporarily halted, the body can concentrate its regenerative powers on other systems.
Having no food for only one day has been shown to improve the bodys ability to detoxify toxins and keep other organs like the liver, kidneys, and other organs functioning properly.
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Coconut Oil: Not As Good As Olive Or Sunflower Oil
Although some studies have found that coconut oil helps reduce bad LDL and total cholesterol levels, others have shown that it increases them. The jury is still out on coconut oil for lowering high cholesterol. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends using coconut oil less often than olive or sunflower oil, whose heart-health benefits are well-known.
Why Might Changing Timing Help
But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An in-depth review of the science of IF recently published in New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowers blood sugar levels lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function.
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Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
If May Help You Live Longer
In laboratory conditions, fasting has proven to be the most effective strategy to lengthen lifespan. Extensive research on various animals, from fruit flies to rodents to primates, has effectively demonstrated an increase in the average and maximum lifespan of those that fasted. While it will be some time before we know if fasting extends human lifespan, it lowers age-related disorders, hence boosting human health.
Furthermore, data from 19 studies involving a total of 1.5 million persons indicated that being overweight or obese is linked to an increased risk of death from any cause. A BMI of 20.0 to 24.9 was associated with the lowest all-cause mortality. BMI is calculated by dividing a personâs weight by the square of their height. BMI is a simple and inexpensive way to see if you are underweight, healthy, overweight, or obese according to these guidelines.
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How To Lower Your Cholesterol Fast With Food
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. If you have high cholesterol without known heart disease, your doctor will first give you a little time to lower it naturally through lifestyle changes. If your numbers are still high or not improving, your doctor may recommend medication to lower your cholesterol to help reduce your cardiovascular risk
Diet, exercise, and stress management are the three most important lifestyle factors for lowering your bad LDL cholesterol and increasing your good HDL cholesterolas well as lowering your blood sugar, blood pressure, weight, and risk for most diseases.
Section : What Do The Studies Show
Lets start with the effects that intermittent fasting has on weight loss. Weight loss is likely the first thing that comes to someones mind when thinking about which diet plan to choose, and rightfully so. Luckily, numerous studies have shown that intermittent fasting has a positive effect on weight loss. A 10-week long study on alternate-day fasting in 16 obese participants had astounding results. The study consisted of three phases: a 2 week control phase, a 3 week alternate day fasting period with controlled food intake, and a 3 week alternate day fasting period without controlled food intake . The average weight loss after this study was 5.8%, and the average pre- and post-study BMI calculations dropped from 33.7 kg/m2 to 29.9 kg/m2, respectively . Another study that I found was a comparison between a normal calorie restriction diet and an alternate-day fasting regimen. After a 3-month period, the average weight loss found between both diets was similar . However, the intermittent fasting group had a higher fat mass reduction and lesser lean body mass reduction as compared to the normal calorie restriction group . This might be seen as a healthier way to lose weight because you are conserving your lean body mass which is desirable! Furthermore, an 8-week intermittent energy restriction study consisting of 26 obese participants had an average weight loss of 9% .
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Lower Your Cholesterol Whether Youre Eating Breakfast Lunch Dinner Dessert Or Even A Snack
Did you know cholesterol in food only plays a small part in increasing our bodies cholesterol levels? But what we eat has a big role to play in managing our cholesterol and heart health.Consistently poor eating habits, combined with a lack of physical activity can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which can also raise levels of unhealthy cholesterol levels and lower levels of HDL cholesterol which can negatively affect your heart health.
High-density lipoprotein is often called the good cholesterol because it helps to remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream and helps to keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Low-density lipoprotein is often called the bad cholesterol because it is the main source of cholesterol build-up and blockage in the arteries.
Time and time again we hear that balance is the key to health. There are some foods that can improve LDL cholesterol levels and eating these foods in moderate amounts can help keep us fighting fit. Foods containing healthier fats or soluble fibre are great examples of this. So with this in mind, here are some delicious ideas that can help you eat your way to a healthier heart.
Can Eating Less Strengthen Your Heart
Research shows that fasting can help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, control diabetes and reduce weight.
Four of the major risks for heart disease are high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and weight, so theres a secondary impact, Dr. Bruemmer says. If we reduce those, we can reduce the risk of heart disease.
One word of caution, though: Fasting can lead to an electrolyte imbalance. This can make the heart unstable and prone to arrhythmias.
So whenever we prescribe certain diets, including a very low calorie diet and protein-sparing modified fast diet, these require medical supervision. We check blood tests monthly and prescribe potassium supplementation to prevent electrolyte imbalance from occurring, Dr. Bruemmer says.
Some studies also show that fasting may help prevent cancer or increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatment.
However, much of the research on fasting is in preliminary stages. We have a lot more to learn about fasting, he says.
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Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- a medium sized vegetable such as a turnip, parsnip, sweet potato, leek, tomato or carrot
- a medium sized fruit for example, an apple, orange or banana
- 2 small fruits such as plums or satsumas
- a handful of berries or grapes and other small fruits like strawberries and prunes
- a good-sized slice of a larger fruit such as a melon, mango or pineapple
- a tablespoon of dried fruit
- a 150ml glass of fruit juice
- a bowl of salad
Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried. They all count. If you choose tinned, choose options in juice or water, without added sugar or salt.
Potatoes, yams, cassava and plantains are exceptions. They dont count because they count as a starchy food, like rice or pasta.
Unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies count too, but only one portion. More than one doesnt count because the loose sugar and acid in them can damage your teeth.
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Intermittent Fasting: The Positive News Continues
Theres a ton of incredibly promising intermittent fasting research done on fat rats. They lose weight, their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars improve but theyre rats. Studies in humans, almost across the board, have shown that IF is safe and effective, but really no more effective than any other diet. In addition, many people find it difficult to fast.
But a growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make IF a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.
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Fasting And Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol has been traditionally been associated with increased riskof heart disease and atherosclerosis. Those claims are slowly being challengedyet the idea that cholesterol is dangerous to your health remains.
Cholesterol is an organic compound thats found in all animal cells. Itpromotes bile production, tissue repair, and vitamin D synthesis.
There are different types of cholesterol with various properties andparticle sizes. Generally, HDL isconsidered the healthy one and LDL the bad one.
Triglycerides arefatty acid molecules that can be burned for energy or stored in the adiposetissue. When youre burning fat, you break down triglycerides into glycerol andthree fatty acid chains.
Most of the cholesterol in your blood isproduced endogenously by the liver and dietary cholesterol has an insignificanteffect on the cholesterol in the blood. Heart disease is rooted in inflammation and oxidative stress, whichenforces the formation of cholesterol plaques.
Fasting has been shownto be very effective in lowering potentially dangerous cholesterol levels.
May Be Beneficial For Heart Health
Heart disease is currently the worlds biggest killer .
Its known that various health markers are associated with either an increased or decreased risk of heart disease.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including:
- blood sugar levels
The effects of fasting on heart health need to be studied more in-depth in humans before recommendations can be made.
Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and inflammatory markers.
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Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can increase your levels of triglycerides. Along with LDL cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease.
Excess alcohol consumption also increases blood pressure and can lead to obesity both additional risk factors for heart disease.
To reduce the risk of heart disease and other risks from alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.
Could You Benefit From Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool for preventing and reversing disease. Learn how this dietary approach could help you optimize your health.
This is a guest post written by Amy Nett, MD.
In previous podcasts and articles on this site Chris discussed some of the factors to consider when deciding if intermittent fasting is the right approach for you. While the decision to use intermittent fasting as a strategy to improve or optimize health should be considered carefully, it is a powerful tool when used appropriately. In this article, I want to discuss some of the potential benefits offered from intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is a general term used to describe a variety of approaches that change the normal timing of eating throughout a day, with short-term fasts used to improve overall health. In other words, the one consistent theme of intermittent fasting is that individuals periodically fast for a longer duration than the typical overnight fast.
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