Add Plant Stanols To Your Daily Diet
Plant stanols are naturally found in small amounts in plant foods such as wholegrains, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils and vegetable oils. But theyre also added to some foods in larger amounts, such as yogurt drinks, yogurts, spreads and cereal bars. Benecol products, for example, contain added plant stanols.
The reason plant stanols are so important for cholesterol lowering is thanks to their ability to partially block cholesterol from being absorbed into the blood stream from the gut. Normally, about 50% of cholesterol is absorbed from the digestive tract into the blood stream, but when plant stanols are taken, it drops to just 20% . This lowers cholesterol in people suffering with raised blood cholesterol. High cholesterol is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.
Plant stanols have been rigorously researched and tested and more than 80 independent clinical studies show theyre effective at lowering cholesterol . No surprise then that guidelines around the world recommend people with high blood cholesterol include plant stanols as part of an overall eating plan that will help to reduce cholesterol .
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.
How Does Exercise Improve Cholesterol Levels
Exercise works to eliminate the dangerous, fatty LDL cholesterol by increasing HDL cholesterol. Losing weight also increases HDL.
So, by natural deduction, its easy to see why exercise would be the no-brainer solution to improving cholesterol levels.
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Try The Mediterranean Diet
One of the best ways to decrease levels of LDL cholesterol is through your diet! A common diet that is recommended when trying to lower LDL cholesterol is the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet that is high in fat due to the lower consumption of sugar and meat.
Foods like nuts, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables are at their highest levels when eating a Mediterranean diet which means youre less likely to have an increased cholesterol level.
People who eat this way also tend to lose weight over time because they are not consuming as many calories from sugars or fats since they get most of those essential nutrients through foods rich in protein and fiber.
Eating more healthy fats by including avocados with every meal will lower your risk for heart disease along with lowering LDL cholesterol levels! Avocado lovers can rejoice knowing that guacamole isnt just tasty, but its good for them too!
Mediterranean diets are commonly consumed in some of the healthiest places in the world called the Blue Zones.
Here is the typical Mediterranean diet pyramid:
How Can I Lower Cholesterol With Diet
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include a diet to lower your cholesterol. The DASH eating plan is one example. Another is the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, which recommends that you
Choose healthier fats.You should limit both total fat and saturated fat. No more than 25 to 35% of your daily calories should come from dietary fats, and less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Depending upon how many calories you eat per day, here are the maximum amounts of fats that you should eat:
|Calories per Day
Saturated fat is a bad fat because it raises your LDL level more than anything else in your diet. It is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
Trans fat is another bad fat it can raise your LDL and lower you HDL . Trans fat is mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine, crackers, and french fries.
Instead of these bad fats, try healthier fats, such as lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola, olive, and safflower oils.
Limit foods with cholesterol. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you should have less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. Cholesterol is in foods of animal origin, such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products.
Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. These foods include:
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Try Taking Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring compound that helps lower LDL cholesterol in the body.
This is because they help reduce inflammation and blood pressure which can lower your risk for heart disease over time.
Studies show that taking Coenzyme Q-CoQ pills may lower LDL cholesterol levels by up to 15%. The best part about this supplement is it does not have any side effects unless you are allergic to seafood!
This is one of many supplements created from natural sources as well, so be sure to speak with a doctor before beginning any new medication or supplementation regimen.
How To Lower Your Cholesterol In One Month
The first thing that people need to do on this thirty-day journey is to read more about lowering LDL cholesterol through the use of therapeutic lifestyle changes.
Once people have a more solid background related to the causes of this condition and what they can do to prevent it, it’s going to be that much easier for them to start working on themselves and take any necessary steps.
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Use Polyunsaturated Fats Especially Omega
Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds that make them behave differently in the body than saturated fats. Research shows that polyunsaturated fats reduce LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
For example, one study replaced saturated fats in 115 adults diets with polyunsaturated fats for 8 weeks. By the end of the study, total and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by about 10% .
Polyunsaturated fats also may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Another study changed the diets of 4,220 adults, replacing 5% of their calories from carbohydrates with polyunsaturated fats. Their blood glucose and fasting insulin levels decreased, indicating a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes .
Omega-3 fatty acids are an especially heart-healthy type of polyunsaturated fat. Theyre found in seafood and fish oil supplements. Especially high amounts occur in fatty fish like:
- deep sea tuna like bluefin or albacore
- shellfish , including shrimp
Other sources of omega-3s include seeds and tree nuts, but not peanuts.
All polyunsaturated fats are heart-healthy and may reduce the risk of diabetes. Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat with extra heart benefits.
Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified by a process called hydrogenation. This is done to make the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils more stable.
The resulting trans fats are not fully saturated and are called partially hydrogenated oils .
The Best Morning Foods For Improving Healthy Cholesterol Levels Are:
Good breakfast choices benefit you with improved health in general.
Oatmeal is made of ground oats that have properties to break down into various foods including porridges, cookies, and snacks. Oatmeal improves heart health and contains a rich source of water-soluble dietary fiber, beta-glucan.
Various research studies have found that oatmeal is beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels. The U.S Food and Drug Administration is convinced of the health benefits of oatmeal. A bowl of oatmeal serves 5 grams of dietary fiber. Oatmeals are rich in soluble fiber which accompanies LDL cholesterol in the digestive tract and eliminates it from the body.
Organize oatmeal with a sliced apple, strawberry, or raspberry to add more fiber. Avoid sugar in oatmeal and adding a banana or berries can boost the fiber content in cereal.
Almond milk contains no cholesterol or saturated fats. It is plant-based milk that contains the same amount of vitamin D as cow milk. Almond milk is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which may lower LDL cholesterol and reduces inflammation.
Almond milk contains rich amounts of healthy fats, magnesium, and vitamins. According to Harvard Health Publishing consuming 2 ounces of Almond nuts regularly can reduce LDL cholesterol by 5%. Almond milk without adding sugar maintains healthy heart functions.
You can consume it by adding it with milk or can be added along with oatmeal.
Egg White Scramble With Spinach
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What Foods Will Make My High Cholesterol Worse
If you have high cholesterol, its most important to eat less saturated fat. Foods that are high in saturated fats are things like fatty and processed meat, pies and pastry, butter, cream, and coconut oil.
Some foods contain dietary cholesterol but surprisingly they dont make a big difference to the cholesterol in your blood. These are foods like eggs, some shellfish like prawns and crab and offal such as liver, liver pate and kidney. They are low in saturated fat and so are fine to eat as part of a healthy diet.
Find out more about cholesterol and eggs
Increase Your Consumption Of Dietary Fiber
Ideally, you should be getting 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day, says Dr. Cho. Fiber binds to cholesterol and eliminates it from your body.
To increase your fiber intake, eat more whole grains, legumes like beans and lentils, vegetables and fruits. You should be getting a good mix of both soluble fibers, which are more beneficial for cholesterol, and insoluble fibers, which are better for your gut health.
Lower cholesterol isnt the only benefit of getting enough fiber. Other benefits include reducing your risk of diseases, preventing constipation and keeping you full longer.
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Consume More Fruits And Vegetables
Including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet can maintain lower cholesterol levels in long term.
Vegetables are the natural source of fiber and besides increasing the quantity of soluble fiber in your system, they contain plenty of plant sterols which benefit in lowering cholesterol levels.
How Can I Get This Amount
Even though plant stanols occur naturally in a variety of plant foods, theyre only found in small amounts, so even a healthy diet that includes plenty of these foods wont provide enough plant stanols to lower cholesterol a normal diet has been shown to contain just 20-30mg plant stanols each day . The only way to get enough plant stanols to actively reduce cholesterol is to enjoy foods that have plant stanols added to them in large enough doses. Benecol products include yogurts, yogurt and soya drinks, spreads and fruit and nut/oat bars, all of which have plant stanol ester added to them to help you achieve the 1.5-3g of plant stanols each day the amount needed to see a reduction in cholesterol. Plus, they taste delicious!
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You Can Begin Lowering Cholesterol Naturally Today
Sound like a lot to take on? Dont be intimidated. Bringing down your high cholesterol doesnt have to mean changing your life completely. Rather, start with changing your mindset. Instead of moving away from things, youre moving toward new habits that will help you create a healthier and more enjoyable future.
Now is always the right time to start taking care of your heart health. If you need a little support, lean on friends and family. And dont forget: Your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
Misconception: You Should Wait For Your Doctor To Mention Cholesterol
You need to take charge of your health. Starting at age 20, ask your doctor to test your cholesterol, assess your factors and estimate your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
If youre between 20 and 39, your doctor can assess your lifetime risk. If youre between 40 and 75, they will assess your 10-year risk.
Once you know your risk, you can take action to lower it. Your doctor may recommend diet and lifestyle changes and possibly medication. Follow all of your doctors instructions and have your cholesterol and other risk factors checked every four to six years as long as your risk remains low.
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Cut Back On Animal Fats
Forgo fatty, processed meats such as bologna, salami, pepperoni and hot dogs, as well as fatty red meats like ribs and prime cuts of beef, pork, veal or lamb. Also, skip skin-on chicken or turkey. Avoid full-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, cream cheese and butter. These foods contain saturated fat as well as cholesterol, which are both associated with higher blood cholesterol and plaque buildup.
Is Diet The Only Way To Improve My Cholesterol Levels
While diet is one of the best ways to improve cholesterol levels, there are other lifestyle modifications that can also help!
- Weight loss: If you are above a healthy weight, losing 5-10% of your body weight can reduce total and LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol.
- Exercise: Aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity on most days can improve your cholesterol levels. Try starting off with improving your daily step count!
- Quitting smoking: Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol. Quitting smoking is important to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, especially if you have high cholesterol.
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Cook Fresh Vegetables The Heart
Try cooking vegetables in a tiny bit of vegetable oil and add a little water during cooking, if needed. Just one or two teaspoons of oil is enough for a package of plain frozen vegetables that serves four. Place the vegetables in a skillet with a tight cover and cook them over very low heat until done.
Add herbs and spices to make vegetables even tastier. For example, these combinations add subtle and surprising flavors:
- Rosemary with peas, cauliflower and squash
- Oregano with zucchini
- Basil with tomatoes
Start with a small quantity of herbs and spices , then let your familys feedback be your guide. Chopped parsley and chives, sprinkled on just before serving, can also enhance the flavor of many vegetables.
Ask About Cholesterol Medication
Cholesterol medications such as statins may be the fastest way to lower cholesterol for some people usually within 6 to 8 weeks. This allows a person to quickly reduce their heart disease risk while cultivating a healthy lifestyle. During this period, a person can focus on lowering cholesterol over time with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Because high cholesterol is a risk factor for serious heart health issues, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend statins for many groups of people with high LDL cholesterol.
If LDL cholesterol does not drop enough with diet and lifestyle changes and statins, a person might need additional medications.
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Health Conditions Related To Triglycerides And Cholesterol
High blood lipid levels may increase your risk for plaques to develop in your arteries or thicken the walls of your arteries .
Other health conditions related to high triglycerides or cholesterol include:
- High blood sugar levels or diabetes
- Metabolic syndromea cluster of conditions that increase your risk for heart disease
- Genetic conditions
Eat More Soluble Fiber With Whole Grains
One way to lower your LDL Cholesterol is by eating more soluble fiber with whole grains. There can be both good and bad types of dietary fibers-soluble or insoluble.
Good sources for this kind of fiber include Oatmeal, Green peas, lentils, beans, barley, and blackberries!
Insoluble fibers are the opposite because they do not dissolve in water these come from broccoli and cauliflower, which lower blood sugar levels over time like soluble fibers.
Soluble fiber is especially important for lowering LDL cholesterol levels because soluble fibers lower the amount of bad cholesterol that you absorb in your intestines.
Soluble fiber also helps lower blood sugar and insulin levels this is important for those who are diabetic so they can control their disease better with diet changes!
Its best to consume a mix of both types of fiber to get all the benefits needed from them without any drawbacks!
Here are some food sources: Oatmeal, beans, peas, lentils, and barley. These foods contain more than just good vitamins but they will help lower bad cholesterol as well.
Both kinds help lower LDL cholesterol by slowing down digestion to remain exposed to high amounts of bile acids for too long.
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