Myth: I Dont Need Statins Or Other Medicines For My Cholesterol I Can Manage My Cholesterol With Diet And Exercise
Fact: Although many people can achieve good cholesterol levels by making healthy food choices and getting enough physical activity, some people may also need medicines called statins to lower their cholesterol levels. Guidelinesexternal icon;also suggest that other medicines in addition to statins may be needed to help control cholesterol.2
People who may need statins or other medicines to manage cholesterol levels include the following:
- People with familial hypercholesterolemia or people with very high levels of bad cholesterol.;FH is a genetic condition that causes very high LDL cholesterol levels beginning at a young age. If left untreated, cholesterol levels will continue to get worse. This greatly raises the risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke at a young age.
- People with cardiovascular disease .;People with CVD may already have narrowed arteries because of too much plaque. Medicines that lower cholesterol may help reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke.
- People with diabetes.Type 2 diabetes;lowers HDL or good cholesterol levels and raises bad cholesterol levels. This combination raises your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Other groups of people may also need medicines to manage their cholesterol, including people who have a high risk for CVD. Always talk to your health care provider about the best ways to manage your cholesterol.
Safe Blood Cholesterol Levels
Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present. If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular disease, then the aim for the LDL levels would be less than 2 mmol/l. Approximately half of all adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmol/l. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.
Lowering Cholesterol With Weight Loss
If you could stand to lose a few pounds, probably the most important number to check on the label is calories per serving.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Surrey in England showed that when volunteers cut back on calories, it didn’t matter how much dietary cholesterol they consumed. Even when their diets contained up to 582 milligrams of cholesterol a day — far over the recommended amount — their blood cholesterol levels remained unchanged as long as they cut back on calories and lost weight.
“Cholesterol in packaged foods really isn’t a big issue,” says McManus. “Three much more important numbers on the nutrition facts panel are serving size, calories per serving, and the type of fats,” says McManus. “If you keep track of those, you don’t have to worry about how much cholesterol a packaged food contains.”
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What Is Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber provides the greatest heart-health benefits. It helps lower total and LDL cholesterol levels by binding to bile in the gut and removing it with the body’s waste. Bile is made up of cholesterol. Good sources of soluble fiber include:
- Oats and oat bran.
- Apples, bananas, pears and citrus fruits.
- Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, sweet potatoes, squash.
Limiting Saturated And Trans Fats
Here are some ways to lower your intake of saturated and trans fats:
- Maintain a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. Also limit red meat and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.
- Opt for naturally occurring unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil.
- Look for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than saturated fat or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Use soft margarine as a substitute for butter and choose soft margarines over harder stick forms. Look for 0 g trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label.
- Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods high in trans fat. Dont eat them often.
- Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These foods are very high in fat, and its likely to be trans fat.
- Limit fried fast food. Commercial shortening and deep-frying fats are still made by hydrogenation and contain saturated and trans fats.
Consider using a food diary to keep track of what you eat. Its a handy way to evaluate the healthy, not-so-healthy and unhealthy foods youre making a part of your everyday diet.
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What Are Unsaturated Fats
Unsaturated fats are considered the healthiest fats because they improve cholesterol, help reduce inflammation , and help decrease the overall risk of developing heart disease. The main source of unsaturated fats are plant-based foods. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. There are two types of unsaturated fat: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Monounsaturated fats are considered one of the healthiest sources of fat in the diet. These fats should make up most of your daily fat intake. Good sources of monounsaturated fats include:
- Olive, canola and peanut oils.
- Most nuts, nut oils and nut butters .
Good sources of Polyunsaturated Fats include:
- Safflower oil.
- Flax oil and flax seeds.
- Sunflower oil.
- Canola Oil.
Dietary Tips To Avoid Cholesterol
The most important thing you can do to reduce your cholesterol level is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You should try to:
- Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
- Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have added calcium soy drinks.
- Choose lean meat .
- Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
- Have fish at least twice a week.
- Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
- Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
- Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
Other storage fats that are transported in blood lipoproteins include triglycerides. When present in high concentrations in the blood, this fat is also a risk for heart attack. Some foods will affect the cholesterol level or the triglyceride level and some will affect both.
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Myth: I Cant Do Anything To Change My Cholesterol Levels
Fact:;You can do many things to improve your cholesterol levels and keep them in a healthy range!
- Get tested at least every 5 years;.1,2 Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
- Make healthy food choices. Limit foods high in saturated fats. Choose foods naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
- Be active every day.;The;Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Learn more about physical activity basics and tips.
- Dont smoke or use tobacco products. Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Learn more about tobacco use and ways to quit at CDCs smoking and tobacco use website.
- Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol; if any medicines are given to you to manage your cholesterol, take them as they are prescribed. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
- Know your family history. If your parents or other immediate family members have high cholesterol, you probably should be tested more often. You could have a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia;.
Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
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Liver Eggs And Muffins Can Be Part Of A Heart Healthy Diet If You Know What To Watch Out For
You don’t have to be a nutritionist to know that you shouldn’t eat fries and fried chicken on a regular basis. They’re loaded with sodium and saturated fat and a diet high in saturated fat and trans fat can raise blood cholesterol levels, putting you at risk for heart disease, according to the American Heart Association .
Many foods that come from animals like meat and fat-containing dairy products contain saturated fat, while baked goods and fast food pack in trans fat, too. Because LDL cholesterol levels in particular can be too high on a high-saturated-fat diet, the AHA recommends that saturated fat make up no more than 5 to 6 percent of your total calories. On a diet of 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 should come from saturated fat. Thats 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat per day at most.
Its worth noting that the thinking has changed about what increases cholesterol in the body. For example, previous dietary guidelines recommended consuming no more than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day. But in 2015, those guidelines changed, and there is now no specific recommendation limiting the amount of cholesterol that should be consumed through food. Thats because research has shown dietary cholesterol itself isnt harmful and actually doesnt contribute to increased levels of cholesterol in the body. Rather, the real culprits are saturated fat, trans fat, and added sugars.
Limit Bad Fats And Cholesterol
Research shows that there isn’t really a link between how much fat you eat and your risk of disease. The biggest influence on your risk is the type of fat you eat. Two unhealthy fats, including saturated and trans fats, increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood cholesterol and increase your risk of developing heart disease. However, two very different types of fat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats do just the opposite. In fact, research shows that cutting back on saturated fat and replacing it with mono and polyunsaturated fats can help lower the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood.
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Myth: Eating Foods With A Lot Of Cholesterol Will Not Make My Cholesterol Levels Go Up
Fact:;It can be complicated. We know that foods with a lot of cholesterol usually also have a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fats can make your cholesterol numbers higher, so its best to choose foods that are lower in saturated fats. Foods made from animals, including red meat, butter, and cheese, have a lot of saturated fats.
Instead, aim to eat foods with plenty of fiber, such as oatmeal and beans, and healthy unsaturated fats, such as avocados, olive oil, and nuts. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
Which Foods Are High In Cholesterol
All animal foods contain some cholesterol. But by cutting down on the animal foods that contain saturated fats you will be keeping the cholesterol in your diet in check too.
Foods that contain cholesterol and are high in saturated fat.
Full fat dairy foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cream.
Animal fats, such as butter, ghee, margarines and spreads made from animal fats, lard, suet and dripping.
Fatty meat and processed meat products;such as sausages.
There are some foods which are low in saturated fat but high in cholesterol. These include eggs, some shellfish, liver, liver pate and offal. Most people dont need to cut down on the cholesterol thats found in these foods.
Foods that contain cholesterol but are low in saturated fat.
Lean meat, especially offal, such as liver, kidney, sweetbreads, heart and tripe ;
Prawns, crab, lobster, squid, octopus and cuttlefish.
Eggs . ;
For people with FH, or who have high cholesterol, or are at high risk of or have cardiovascular disease, you can still eat some of these foods, but you need to be more careful about how often you eat them to ensure youre keeping within the guidelines. For example, you could eat three or four eggs a week, and shellfish such as prawns up to once or twice a week.
You should avoid liver and offal altogether because they are very rich sources of cholesterol.
The table below shows the amount of cholesterol in these types of foods:-
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What Are The Guidelines
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans lays out the following dietary recommendations for keeping your bodys cholesterol levels low:
|Eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible, but there are no specific limits.
|Limit these fats to less than 10 percent of the calories you consume per day.
|Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats as often as possible. Theres no upper limit for healthy unsaturated fats.
|Eat little to no synthetic trans fats, as theyre associated with inflammation.
Myth: All Cholesterol Is Bad For You
Fact:;Some types of cholesterol are essential for good health. Your body needs cholesterol to perform important jobs, such as making hormones and building cells. Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called;lipoproteins. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body:
- LDL ,;sometimes called bad;cholesterol,;makes up most of your bodys cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
- HDL ,;or good;cholesterol,;carries cholesterol back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, it can build up in the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup is called;plaque. As your blood vessels build up plaque over time, the insides of the vessels narrow. This narrowing can restrict and eventually block blood flow to and from your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it can cause angina or a heart attack.
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Heart Healthy Food Pattern
To restrict dietary cholesterol, you’ll need to limit portions of animal-based foods, such as meat, chicken, milk, eggs and cheese. This focus on reducing cholesterol, however, is not as effective at lowering LDL and decreasing cardiovascular risk as the lifestyle guidelines recommended by AHA and ACC, which include:
Plant-centered meal patterns such as the Mediterranean Diet, DASH Eating Plan or a whole-food, plant-based diet are commonly recommended for heart health. Not only are these diets naturally low in cholesterol — because they restrict or exclude foods of animal origin, but these plans limit saturated and trans fat and have the beneficial emphasis on plant foods.
What Is A Healthy Blood Cholesterol Level
For people who have plaque in their arteries or who have other factors that put them at risk for cardiovascular disease, doctors recommend an ideal LDL level well below 70 mg/dl. For those without risk factors who have an LDL level at or above 190 mg/dl, the recommendation is to get this level down to below 100 mg/dl. People age 40 to 75 who are living with diabetes and whose LDL is at 70 or above may need medication.
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Reconsider That Cheeseburger With High Saturated Fat
Speaking of cheeseburgers, if you’re like many Americans, you occasionally eat lunch from a fast food restaurant. But before you order that double cheeseburger, consider this: A McDonalds Big Mac has 10 g of saturated fat and a Wendy’s Classic Double With Everything has a whopping 20 g of saturated fat . You might want to hold the fries and the shake, or better yet, order a plain burger instead.
What Are The Different Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol does not travel freely through the bloodstream. Instead, it is attached or carried by lipoproteins in the blood. There are three types of lipoproteins that are categorized based upon how much protein there is in relation to the amount of cholesterol.
Low-density lipoproteins contain a higher ratio of cholesterol to protein and are thought of as the bad cholesterol. Elevated levels of LDL lipoprotein increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease, by helping form cholesterol plaque along the inside of artery walls. Over time, as plaque buildup increases, the artery narrows , and blood flow decreases. If the plaque ruptures, it can cause a blood clot to form that prevents any blood flow. This clot is the cause of a heart attack or myocardial infarction if the clot occurs in one of the coronary arteries in the heart.
High-density lipoproteins are made up of a higher level of protein and a lower level of cholesterol. These tend to be thought of as good cholesterol. The higher the HDL to LDL ratio, the better it is for the individual because such ratios can potentially be protective against heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
Very low-density lipoproteins contain even less protein than LDL. VLDL like LDL has been associated with plaque deposits.
Triglycerides may increase cholesterol-containing plaques if levels of LDL are high and HDL is low.
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