Milk: Whole Is Better Than Skim For Higher Good Cholesterol
A six-week, randomized and controlled study on the effects of whole milk and skim milk on cholesterol levels found that drinking a half-liter of whole milk per day significantly increased good HDL cholesterol, while skim milk had little effect. Additionally, neither whole nor skim milk has a statistically significant impact on bad LDL cholesterol or triglycerides.
Tuesday: Take A Walk During Your Lunch Break
Its not only what you eat that affects your cholesterol. What you do counts, too. Our bodies simply werent meant to sit all day we were made to move. Being active helps you achieve healthy cholesterol levels in two ways. First, it promotes weight loss, which is a tremendous aid if you want to lower cholesterol fast. And second, physical activity raises levels of HDL cholesterol, which is thought of as your bodys good cholesterol.
Working out at the right intensity can spark the production of HDL. The American Heart Association says 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity three or four times a week can help improve your cholesterol levels. Even walking helps: I always recommend an hour walk a day, but you can just start with a brisk 15-minute walk and work up from there, notes Dr. Crandall.
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 .
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Eat More Plant Sources Of Protein
Excellent plant proteins include beans all beans, like lentils, red beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. Rather than raising blood cholesterol levels, as animal sources of protein do, beans actually help lower cholesterol.
Beans also help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and may even lower cancer risk.
Good Vs Bad Cholesterol
The human body needs cholesterol to produce vitamin D and certain hormones, build cell membranes and support bile production. This waxy substance is an integral component of the cell plasma membrane and plays a key role in cellular functions. It’s synthesized in the liver and transported to your cells through the blood.
Read more:What Is the Function of Cholesterol in the Body?
Not all cholesterol is created equal, though. HDL cholesterol removes excess plaque and cholesterol from your system, leading to a lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular problems. The LDL version builds up on the artery walls and narrows the blood vessels. Therefore, HDL is considered the “good” cholesterol, while LDL is referred to as the “bad” cholesterol.
As MedlinePlus notes, LDL cholesterol should not exceed 100 milligrams per deciliter. HDL cholesterol levels should be at least 50 milligrams per deciliter in women and 40 milligrams per deciliter or higher in men. Total cholesterol levels of between 125 and 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered normal for healthy adults.
Read more:Normal Cholesterol Levels by Age
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Focus On Fruits Vegetables Whole Grains And Beans
Our typical American diet is now abbreviated as SAD by scientists nationwide because its full of foods that do sad things to both hearts and waistlines. Hyperprocessed foods like potato chips and French fries. Sugar-saturated drinks. And fatty, artery-clogging meats and full-fat dairy foods like cheese.
We dont have to become complete vegetarians to get our cholesterol levels into healthy ranges, studies on the Pritikin Program have found, but clearly, the more vegetables, fruits, potatoes, and other naturally-fiber-rich plant foods we eat, the healthier well be.
Plant foods high in soluble fiber are especially beneficial in lowering total and LDL bad cholesterol levels. Good sources include beans , yams, oats , barley, and berries.
For simple tips on bringing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans into your life, here is a 5-day sample healthy meal plan from the doctors and dietitians at Pritikin Longevity Center.
Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Without Medication
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your blood and is also found in certain foods. Ideally, your total cholesterol levels will fall under 200 milligrams per deciliter . Your LDL, or bad cholesterol, levels should fall under 100 mg/dL. And your HDL, or good cholesterol, should stay at 40 mg/dL or higher. If you have high cholesterol levels, changing your lifestyle can go a long way.
Dr. Javier Sosa and our team at Woodlands Primary Healthcare provide blood tests to help identify cholesterol-related risk factors. We can also make lifestyle recommendations that suit your specific needs.
Here are nine ways you can lower your cholesterol levels without medication:
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Measuring Blood Cholesterol Levels
When measuring cholesterol levels, doctors will assess four markers in a persons blood:
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: The bad cholesterol. A lower LDL number may be a good indicator of health and lower risk of disease.
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol: The beneficial cholesterol. Low HDL cholesterol may be a risk factor for other issues, and a higher HDL number may indicate health.
- Blood triglycerides: A common type of fat in the blood. Higher levels may mean that a person has an increased risk of some issues, especially when they also have other risk factors, such as low HDL cholesterol.
- Total cholesterol: This number takes into account the levels of blood triglycerides and LDL and HDL cholesterol.
Doctors will use all of these numbers within the context of a persons overall health and other risk factors to determine their risk of heart disease and stroke.
What’s Bad And What’s Good About Cholesterol
If your doctor has told you that your cholesterol levels are high, you should take a good look at your diet and lifestyle and see what aspects could be improved.
Cholesterol is a unique type of fat with quite a complicated structure that is, contrary to popular belief, vital for our survival. Our body uses cholesterol to make bile acids vitamin D hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and aldosterone and in the formation of new cells. However, too much cholesterol has been linked to atherosclerosis which increases our risk of a heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
If your doctor tells you your “cholesterol” levels are high, they mean that the levels of a range of different fat-like substances in your body are not within the normal range. Cholesterol tests measure:
- Total “cholesterol”
- Low Density Lipoproteins
- High Density Lipoproteins
Although there is often a genetic reason for your cholesterol levels being high, watching what you eat and exercising can make a difference to your LDL and HDL levels. Let’s look at ten different ways to do just that!
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Tips For Healthier Eating With Ease:
- Institute Meatless Mondays, Fish Fridays, and Salmon Sundays to cut down your meat consumption.
- Help combat sugar cravings with sweet fruits like oranges, grapes , strawberries, and bananas.
- Look in the specialty or health food aisles at your grocery store for healthier swaps.
- Eat the colors of the rainbow when consuming fruits and vegetables to get as many different nutrients as possible.
- Rethink old beliefs about food, such as If theres no meat, its not dinner or You cant have a side vegetable and a salad but no starch!
- To help battle cravings for candy, chips, and other unhealthy snacks, go for a walk. Or distract yourselfcall a friend, run an errand, scrub the bathtub. Cravings usually last around 15 minutes and then subside.
- Stay motivated with a food tracking app that will keep track of your intake of nutrients, including fiber, sugar, and fat, and show you your daily results and progress over time.
- Make fewer trips to the grocery store. Dont shop hungry and shop the perimetermost of the processed stuff is in the aisles.
Dangers Of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves and hormones.
Although your body needs cholesterol, excess cholesterol can build up and form a fatty plaque on the walls of the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of the body. If plaque continues to build long-term, it can significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
So what causes high cholesterol? Believe it or not, the answer goes way beyond a high cholesterol diet.
While cholesterol is normally kept in balance, an unhealthy diet high in hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to increased cholesterol levels. This imbalance is manifested in elevated LDL and low HDL , which increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Other causes can include physical inactivity, diabetes, stress and hypothyroidism.
But keep in mind that not all cholesterol is created equally. LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, is the form that can build up on the artery walls and increase your risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is often dubbed good cholesterol because it travels through the bloodstream, removing harmful cholesterol from the arteries to help enhance heart health.
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What Foods Will Lower My Cholesterol
The best way to eat a better diet is to swap your saturated fats with foods that are high in unsaturated fat like vegetable oils , nuts seeds and avocado and oily fish.
A few small swaps can make a big difference to your cholesterol level. Many people say they dont notice the difference. Try:
- swapping butter to vegetable oil spreads like sunflower, olive or rapeseed oil spreads
- switching whole milk to skimmed milk
- using natural yogurt instead of sour cream or double cream
- replacing regular mince with leaner, lower fat options
- swapping red or processed meat for fish, turkey or chicken without the skin, or plant-based proteins such as lentils, soya or Quorn
- switch your crisps for unsalted nuts
- having reduced fat cheese instead of regular cheese
- ordering less takeaways. Instead try our healthy comfort foods for delicious heart-healthy options.
How Do You Lower Your Cholesterol
Avoid fats that are solid at room temp and exercise a few times a week. Oversimplification but should help lower cholesterol
fish, beans, oatmeal, less dairy, less red meat
Healthy fats like avocado, olive and coconut oil, salmon or fish in general instead of less healthy fats like bacon, chips, and red meat. Exercise also does wonders for helping lower cholesterol.
Cut out red meats entirely. Cut back on the white meats and eat more plant based foods. More exercise will also help reduce cholesterol.
This would do the trick… but a bit extreme don’t you think?
Dayum, my cholesterol levels must be excellent because I live that way without even trying! I’m curious now I want to go get my labs done and see how my blood work comes out. I must be so ridiculously healthy haha sorry, just excited right now
I have a friend with high cholesterol. If you’re interested I can find out tomorrow what he does. I know he focuses on specific foods that naturally help, just never really listened to which ones. I believe he is having success. Lmk.
Yes I would really appreciate that, thank you so much !!!
Plants don’t have cholesterol so increase your consumption of plants and decrease your consumption of meat cheese and egg yolks.
While for some, the above helps. Lots of people, it didnt make a difference. Ymmv
In some cases, even when doing everything “right”, some people still also end up on prescription medication to control cholesterol.
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When Can I Eat Or Drink Again
As soon as your blood is taken, your fast is over. You might want to bring a snack and a drink with you so you can eat as soon as possible after the test.
American Academy for Clinical Chemistry: “Basic Metabolic Panel,” “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel,” “GGT,” “Glucose Tests,” “Iron Tests,” “Lipid Profile,” “Renal Function Panel,” “Vitamin B12 & Folate.”
British National Health Service: “Can I Eat and Drink Before Having a Blood Test?”
Crystal Moore, MD, PhD, FCAP, anatomical and clinical pathologist, Chesapeake, VA.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are Blood Tests?”
Nemours Foundation: “Blood Test: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel .”
Providence Laboratory Services : “Fasting Instructions.”
Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
Cutting down on saturated fat and replace some of it with unsaturated fats is great way to lower your cholesterol. Foods which contain unsaturated fats include:
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
- oily fish
Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats. Aim to eat two portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be oily. A portion is 140g, but you could have two or three smaller portions throughout the week. Tinned, frozen or fresh all count e.g. salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout, herring and mackerel.
Avoid coconut and palm oil as, unlike other vegetable oils, they are high in saturated fat.
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Stop Smoking If You Smoke
If you are a smoker, then you probably already know all the reasons why you shouldn’t smoke.
But did you know that if you are a smoker with high cholesterol, and a close family member already has heart disease, then you have a ten times greater risk of developing heart disease than somebody with a normal cholesterol who doesn’t smoke?
Smoking is hard on your arteries. It damages their lining, leading to inflammation which increases the build-up of plaque – plaque is a waxy substance composed of cholesterol, fibrin, and calcium that narrows your arteries, making it harder for your heart to pump blood around your body.
Smoking also increases LDL and triglyceride levels. At the same time, it lowers HDL cholesterol levels. But research has shown that within a few weeks of quitting, HDL levels have mostly returned to normal in ex-smokers. Within a few years, your risk of a heart attack has also decreased significantly.
We all know quitting is hard, so gather up some support and take advantage of a number of free resources available, such as:
- 1-800-QUIT-NOW: Free phone-based service with coaches and referrals to local resources
- Smokefree.gov: Web-based quit-smoking advice
- 1-800-DÃJELO-YA : en Espanol.
How Long Does It Take To Reduce Cholesterol
Cholesterol drops over time, not suddenly, after a few days of healthier living. There is no set period in which cholesterol is guaranteed to drop.
Cholesterol-lowering drugs usually produce a change in LDL within 6 to 8 weeks. It is possible for lifestyle changes to change cholesterol levels within weeks. However, it may take longer,
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 milligrams per deciliter
- LDL bad cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL good cholesterol: higher than 60 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL
According to an article in the journal , the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend using statins to lower cholesterol in people with cholesterol higher outside of these levels.
However, they also recommend doctors consider a persons cholesterol levels and overall risk of cardiovascular disease before prescribing a cholesterol-lowering medication.
The AHA recommends that people with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease get high-intensity statin therapy maximally tolerated statin therapy to lower LDL by at least 50%.
The AHA also recommends high-intensity statin therapy for individuals with severe primary hypercholesterolemia .
There are a number of habit changes a person can incorporate into their daily routines in order to gradually and consistently lower their LDL levels over time. Including:
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Increase Your Physical Activity
Physical activity increases levels of HDL cholesterol the good cholesterol that removes LDL cholesterol from the blood. Vigorous aerobic exercise is best.
If you havent been exercising much lately, gradually build up to the recommended amount of physical activity:
- People aged 18-64 years should do 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
- People aged 65 years and over should aim for a total of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days .
Moderate-intensity exercise is a level that increases your heart rate and breathing but allows you to keep talking. Vigorous intensity exercise makes your heart rate higher and makes you breathe more heavily.
Resistance training and muscle-toning exercises can increase HDL cholesterol. Aim to do this twice a week.