Functional Foods That Lower Cholesterol
Functional foods is a term used to describe foods or food ingredients with components that provide a specific health benefit beyond the basic nutritional value of normal foods. Many branded products claim to have health benefits, and some are scientifically proven to work.
Probiotics, for example, promote growth of healthy gut bacteria, while adding plant sterols and stanols in larger amounts than you find in natural foods can help reduce cholesterol.
What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Water
When you stop to think that more than two thirds of your body is water, its;obvious how important it is to stay well hydrated. Hydration is needed for digestion, for our heart and circulation, for temperature control and for our brain;to work well. Water is, without doubt, the single most essential component of the human body.
Drinking water may boost mental performance
Research suggests that losing as little as 1% of your body weight in fluid may reduce;mental performance, as well as potentially inducing fatigue and headache. This mild level of dehydration can easily occur over the course of a normal days activities, which highlights how important drinking little and often is for your health.
Drinking water may boost mood
Being dehydrated can also affect our mood and mental well-being, with studies suggesting that energy levels, cognition and emotions may all be affected.
Drinking water may boost physical performance
How Do You Prepare For A Cholesterol Test
In most cases, youll need to fast for nine to 12 hours before the test. Make sure you tell the person drawing your blood how long it has been since you ate or drank anything that wasnt water.
There are some cases when a cholesterol test is done without fasting. This is true for tests done at health screenings and may be true for people younger than 20 or for people who are unable to fast.
Some medical societies believe that fasting is not necessary to get a true picture of lipid levels in the blood, while other associations stand by the belief that fasting gives a better idea of a persons heart disease risk. You should be clear on whether or not you need to fast, and for how long, before you go for the blood test.
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How Is High Cholesterol Treated
If your child has an LDL cholesterol level of 130 mg/dL or higher, your doctor will talk to you about lifestyle changes or refer you to a dietitian. The goals are to:
- reduce fat and cholesterol in the diet
- increase exercise
- lose weight, if needed
Your doctor will probably do a cholesterol check again after 36 months of lifestyle changes.
Medicine might be considered for kids 10 and older whose LDL cholesterol is 190 mg/dL or higher if changes in diet and exercise haven’t worked. Kids with risk factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure or a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, may need treatment at lower LDL levels.
How Much Saturated Fat Is Too Much
No more than a third of your energy should come from fat, which means a maximum of 70g per day for a woman and 90g for a man. Saturated fats should make up no more than a third of this, so a maximun of 20g for a woman and 30g for a man.
Saturated fats are found in animal products, such as red meat and dairy, and foods that are made with them, such as pastries, cakes, chocolate and biscuits. They’re also found in some plant foods, including coconut oil and palm oil.
To cut back on saturated fat, replace foods that are high in them with foods containing more unsaturated fat, such as nuts, seeds, olive oil and rapeseed oil. If you’re not following the vegan Portfolio Diet, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel is a good alternative to red meat.
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What Should I Eat To Cut My Cholesterol
Eating oats, green leafy veg, nuts, seeds, beans and soy milk can help lower LDL cholesterol, according to research by Dr David Jenkins of the University of Toronto. His Portfolio Diet involves eating these foods as part of a calorie-controlled vegan diet low in saturated fat and salt and high in fibre, fruit and veg.
People with high levels of bad cholesterol are often advised to follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fibre diet, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, but only by a small amount.
The problem is that most of us make more cholesterol in our bodies than we consume in food. So is following the Portfolio Diet while taking regular exercise a better way to tackle the problem?
How Cholesterol Moves Around The Body
Cholesterol is a white, insoluble and waxy substance. It is carried around the body by two key transport systems in the blood, which include:
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol carries most of the cholesterol that is delivered to cells. It is called the bad cholesterol because when its level in the bloodstream is high, it can clog up your arteries.
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is called the good cholesterol, because it helps remove excess cholesterol out of the cells, including cells in the arteries.
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The Biting Fighting Garlic
A 2016 review of studies on garlic determined that garlic has the potential to reduce total cholesterol up to 30 milligrams per deciliter .
Try simmering whole cloves of garlic in olive oil until theyre soft, and use them as a spread on foods you find bland. Garlic tastes better than butter, and its a whole lot healthier particularly for lowering cholesterol.
Journal of Nutrition found that regular intake of shiitake mushrooms in rodents appears to have cholesterol-lowering affects. This confirms earlier studies with similar results.
Although shiitake mushrooms have been the subject of much of the research, many other varieties available in the supermarket or at your local farmers market are also thought to be helpful for lowering cholesterol.
Increase Plant Protein Sources
Introducing variety into the diet may help people manage some risk factors for heart disease.
Many people get their protein mainly from animal sources. However, it may help for them to include plant protein sources in their diet too.
A number of vegetable foods that contain substantial amounts of protein include:
- beans and legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, and peas
- grains, such as rice, quinoa, and amaranth
- tree nuts, such as almonds and cashews
- seeds, including pumpkin, sunflower, and hemp seeds
Adding plant-based proteins to the diet can help the body meet its protein needs without adding cholesterol.
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The Healthy Eating Hub
This article was written by an Accredited Practicing Dietitian from The Healthy Eating Hub. The Healthy Eating Hub is a team of university-qualified nutritionists and dietitians who are passionate about helping people develop long term healthy eating habits through offering evidence-based and practical nutrition advice that people can put into practice straight away.
S You Can Take To Help Manage Your Blood Fats
- You should have your blood fat levels checked normally once per year. Things might be a bit different at the moment though. Read our information on what care to expect during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Ask for support to lose weight if you are living with obesity or overweight
- Eat a healthy diet based on more fruit and vegetables, nuts, oily fish and wholegrains. See our 10 tips for healthy eating with diabetes.
- Keep a check on how much alcohol you drink . Read more about alcohol and diabetes.
- If you smoke, get support to quit smoking
- Keep active and sit less. We have lots of advice on this in our article on exercise and diabetes.;
Your GP can also refer you to a dietitian who can help. They will advise you to cut down on saturated fat and increase your intake of fibre.
There are natural foods you can eat to help protect your heart and products on the market that claim to lower your cholesterol but do they work?
We looked into the best foods to eat and looked at the products you can buy.
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What Is A Healthy Normal Cholesterol Level In The Uk
Your cholesterol level is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
It is recommended that healthy adults should have a total cholesterol level below 5 mmol/L. In the UK, three out of five adults have a total cholesterol level of 5 mmol/L or above, and the average cholesterol level is about 5.7 mmol/L, which can be a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.
However, its important to remember that as well as your cholesterol level, other factors such as smoking and high blood pressure are risk factors for the development of coronary heart disease.
The total cholesterol level includes LDL and HDL . The risk of coronary heart disease is particularly high if you have a high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL cholesterol. Individual levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol will vary and your doctor will be able to give you specific advice based on your own results.
In the UK, components of cholesterol are measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood . As a guide, these are the values healthy adults should aim for
Learn To Speak Food Labels
Your first step is figuring out the traffic lights on the front of the packaging. You can see at a glance if a portion of food is high , medium or low in fat, saturates, sugar and salt. As a general rule, choose food with more greens and yellows, and save the reds for occasional treats.
This is very important if there are any reds for saturated fat, as eating too much saturated fat can increase cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol. Women should not eat more than 20 g of saturated fat a day, and men 30 g.
Most traffic light labels will refer to the nutrients in that particular portion of food, rather than per 100 grams, which can make daily diet calculations tricky. Be aware that some packets contain more than one portion of food too, so you could end up eating double the amount of fat, sugar or salt if you eat the whole pack.
It may be more helpful to look at the back of the packaging, where there will be more in-depth nutritional information. This is normally displayed as a grid with data on fat content, saturated fat, carbohydrate, sugars, protein, salt or sodium and calories, often shown as energy in kilojoules and kilocalories . All nutrition information is shown per 100 grams, but sometimes per portion too.
Food shopping with high cholesterol
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History Of Medical And Dietician Opinion And Research On Chocolate And Cholesterol
Everyone expected chocolate to be another dietary evil for cholesterol. That is because chocolate contains a high concentration of saturated fatty acids.
Years of research has demonstrated quite convincingly that saturated fats are not healthy for the cardiovascular system. Eating saturated fats has been linked to increases in LDL or bad cholesterol, for example.
In the mid-1990s when the first studies were done looking at the effect of chocolate and cholesterol, nutritionists had their Bad For You stamp inked and ready to go.
Chocolate would not receive that stamp, however. It turned out that, at worst, chocolate was no worse for a persons cholesterol than another high carbohydrate snack.
At best, chocolate seemed like it may even be beneficialbut the jury would be out on that until recently.
How Can You Control Your Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol levels may be lowered by making various diet and lifestyle changes. Limited saturated fat to less than 20g per day; saturated fat is typically found in foods like red meat, butter, whole, semi skimmed or skimmed milk and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil. Instead, opt for healthier fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which can be found in things like olive oil, rapeseed oil and avocadoes, but overall, its advisable to keep your total fat intake at less than 70g per day. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, can raise HDL cholesterol and positively effect overall cholesterol. Soluble fibre is a type of fibre which dissolves water in the gut to form a gel, this soaks up cholesterol and carries it out of the body. Oats and oat bran; barley; contain soluble fibre so adding more of these foods to your diet may help to reduce your cholesterol.
Your Risk Of High Cholesterol And How It Is Treated
Many people who have type 1 diabetes should be prescribed statin treatment for the primary prevention of heart disease. This means you may not have high cholesterol levels, but statins help to keep them in a healthy range and reduce the risk of heart disease.;
Those people with type 1 diabetes who should be offered statins, regardless of their cholesterol levels, include:;
- People older than 40 years
- Those who have had diabetes for more than 10 years;
- Those with established kidney damage or other CVD risk factors;
For people with type 2 diabetes, your overall CVD risk might be calculated using something called a QRISK calculator. ;Your healthcare team should explain what your risk of CVD is and how best to manage your blood fat levels. For primary prevention of CVD, people with type 2 diabetes who have a 10% or greater 10-year risk of developing CVD should be offered statins.;
If you have high cholesterol levels, you should have a blood test to measure total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol three months after starting statin treatment, with an aim of 40% reduction in non-HDL cholesterol. Ask your healthcare team what your individual targets are for your cholesterol levels.;
Being Overweight Or Obese
Carrying extra pounds or having obesity increases the risk for both high cholesterol and other heart diseases. Having a BMI in the overweight or obese range, or a waist circumference over 40 inches for men or 35 inches for women can raise the risk for high total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as low HDL cholesterol. Use a BMI calculator to determine your number using your height and weight.
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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.
Minimize High Cholesterol Foods
The U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans do not specify a specific limit on daily dietary cholesterol. That doesn’t mean, though, that you don’t need to think about your cholesterol intake. Far from it: The latest guidelines simply advise consuming as little as possible.
Cholesterol is found exclusively in animal foods. The primary sources in the American diet are eggs, meat and dairy products. Since saturated fat and cholesterol in food almost always go hand-in-hand , following the recommended food patterns put forth by the USDA will inherently limit cholesterol.
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What Lifestyle Changes Help Lower Cholesterol
Your doctor will base your treatment strategy on the results of your blood tests, as well as your own personal and family history with high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and other risk factors. If youre borderline high, you might be able to manage your cholesterol through lifestyle changes. If this isnt enough to rein them in, cholesterol-lowering medication may need to become part of your overall approach. These healthy habits can have a big impact on cholesterol levels.
Get In Gear With Exercise
Moving more can lower your LDL and raise your HDL, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Exactly how exercise does this is still being researched, but there are a few possibilities. Working out might increase the size of your LDL particles so they pose less of a heart disease risk, studies have shown. It might also speed the delivery of cholesterol to the liver, studies in mice have suggested. Exercise might also reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed into the bloodstream.
Burning more calories can also, of course, help you drop pounds, which has benefits for all elements of your cholesterol profile. Aim to get in:
At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week
Muscle-building, weight-training workouts at least two days a week
If this seems like a lot, dont get overwhelmedyou can start where you are and build up gradually from there. In fact, you can exercise in short nuggets throughout the day to chip away at your weekly goals. An activity as simple as a brisk daily walk or yard work is a good place to begin getting some more movement into your life. What matters is that you try to make exercise part of your everyday life.
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