Excess Bad Cholesterol Can Lead To Heart Disease Or Stroke So Take Into Account A Few Steps To Manage Your Cholesterol Levels
Written by Editorial Team | Updated : April 16, 2014 4:02 PM IST
Excess bad cholesterol can lead to heart disease or stroke, so take into account a few steps to manage your cholesterol levels. Here are five foods that can bring down cholesterol levels:
Superfruits: Following recent nutritional studies, several fruits have been labeled ‘superfoods’ due to their ability to combat harmful fats and reduce bad cholesterol. For instance, it was recently revealed that strawberries have the ability to reduce LDL, the harmful form of cholesterol, by nearly 14 percent, according to research carried out by Universit Politecnica Delle Marche in Italy. Read fruit juices VS fruits – which is healthier?
Unsaturated fats: Consuming omega-3 essential fatty acids, found in unsaturated fats, will help to lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Unsaturated fats include oily fish, nuts and seeds, ground flax seeds, olive oil and certain vegetables and fruits such as avocado.
Lower Your Cholesterol Whether You’re 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.
Friday: Enjoy A Blueberry Yogurt Parfait Dessert
I consider blueberries one of my superfoods, says Crandall, who eats them any chance he gets. All berries contain antioxidants, but certain berries contain more fiber. One serving size of blueberries contains 5 g another reason they’re a good choice to help lower cholesterol fast.
You can eat blueberries dried, and you can cook with them, too. If theyre not in season, you can buy packs of frozen blueberries just be careful to use them as soon as they thaw out, so they’re still firm. An excellent way to enjoy blueberries is to layer them with fat-free or low-fat yogurt for a tasty parfait as a desert.
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How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Tested
Adults should have their blood lipids measured every 5 years, starting at 45 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should start lipid blood tests at 35, because on average heart and blood vessel disease such as heart attacks and stroke happen 10 to 20 years earlier in Indigenous people.
All Australians in these age groups are eligible for a regular 20-minute heart health check with their doctor. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can then assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
How To Lower Cholesterol Quickly And Naturally
If youve been diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, your doctor may have given you a deadline for lowering it before opening up the conversation to medications to control your cholesterol.
This sudden change in your health statusand the pressure to make potentially huge lifestyle changes in a short amount of timemay feel overwhelming, especially if youre unfamiliar with the causes of high cholesterol, confused about what your cholesterol numbers mean, or at a loss about where and how to start making necessary changes to improve your cholesterol.
Welcome to the Forward guide to helping you get those numbers down naturally. Here, we take a look at the three overarching lifestyle factors that have the biggest impact on cholesteroldiet, exercise, and stress. Understanding how these affect your cholesterol is the first step to lowering it. After each section, youll find a link to a related guide offering practical and actionable tips for changing your eating and exercise habits and reducing stress.
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Eat Lots Of Soluble Fiber
Upping your daily intake of soluble fiber can decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Taking psyllium supplements and eating oatmeal for breakfast are easy ways to increase the amount of soluble fiber you consume every day. You can also load up on fruits and veggies to get that fiber intake even higher.
Ditch The Fizzy Drink
Instead of drinking sugary fizzy drinks, drink water. Sugary drinks contain lots of refined sugar, which is bad for your heart and overall health. Another bonus tap water is free!
If you would like a cholesterol test or have any questions or concerns about your heart health, please contact your GP or healthcare provider for advice.
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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.
Reduce Your Intake Of Saturated And Trans Fats
Adopt and follow a healthy diet thats low in saturated and trans fats. A diet high in these fats can raise levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Saturated fat is usually solid at room temperature. Its found in animal products such as meat and dairy, but also in palm oil, coconut oil and full-cream milk. Read more about saturated fat-rich foods here.
Trans fats are found in store-bought baked goods, snack foods and deep-fried foods. There is strong evidence that trans fats increase levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood, while decreasing levels of HDL cholesterol.
Some foods contain cholesterol . Foods that contain cholesterol include liver, pate, kidneys, prawns and egg yolks. These types of food are not usually eaten in large quantities, so its OK to include them in your diet in small amounts.
Foods that contain saturated fats have a greater effect on blood cholesterol levels than foods that contain dietary cholesterol.
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How Long Does It Take To Bring Cholesterol Down
In general, if your cholesterol levels dont pose an immediate risk of heart attack or stroke, your primary care physician will give you three months to bring your cholesterol down to normal or near-normal levels naturally. How long it takes for you depends on a whole slew of factors, including your level of overall health, your genes and biology, how high your cholesterol is, and your sexit typically takes women longer to see changes than men.
Although these are things you cant change, in many cases, high cholesterollike many health conditions and chronic diseasesis largely the result of three overarching lifestyle factors: diet, exercise, and stress management. How quickly you can lower your cholesterol is highly dependent on the choices you make in these areas.
Foods With Added Sterols And Stanols
Sterols and stanols are plant chemicals which are a similar size and shape to cholesterol. They are absorbed from the intestines into the blood stream and block some cholesterol from being absorbed, lowering the cholesterol in your blood.
We get a small amount of sterols from plant-based foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, but its not enough to lower cholesterol. So, food companies have developed foods with plant sterols or stanols added to them, such as mini yogurt drinks, fat spreads, milk and yogurts.
These fortified foods lower your cholesterol gradually, over a few weeks, and how much depends on the amount you eat. Some experts believe they are the most effective single food for lowering cholesterol.
Who should eat foods with sterols and stanols added?
Sterols and stanols have been thoroughly researched, so they can be added to foods and are safe to eat.
They are suitable for:
- People with high cholesterol theres no real benefit if you dont have high cholesterol.
- Children with inherited high cholesterol such as familial hypercholesterolaemia with support from a doctor or dietitian.
- People taking statins sterols and stanols will help to lower your cholesterol further because they work in a different way to the statin.
They are not suitable for:
Aim for: one to three servings of fortified foods a day. This will give you 1.5 to 3g of stanols and sterols.
Three servings of: OR
- 1 glass of milk
One product a day:
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Why Lowering High Triglyceride Levels Matters
The national guidelines for fasting triglyceride levels in healthy adults are:
- Normal: Under 150 milligrams per deciliter .
- Borderline High: 151200 mg/dl.
- High: 201499 mg/dl.
- Very High: 500 mg/dl or higher.
When your triglyceride levels are high and you have a high amount of LDL cholesterol or a low amount of HDL cholesterol, all of this could contribute to the development of fatty buildups within the artery walls of the heart. The buildup can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Drink Alcohol In Moderation
Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to increase your levels of good cholesterol, which, in turn, can reduce your levels of bad cholesterol.
The effects arent enough to encourage people to start drinking, but it does mean that perhaps its a good idea not to cut all alcohol from your diet just for the sake of reducing calories.
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Lower Ldl Levels Are Better
In a JAMA editorial accompanying the study, Christopher P. Cannon, MD, of Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School wrote that aggressive LDL lowering is the ideal lower is better.
The JAMA studys findings echo those of another large 4,162-patient study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It concluded that LDL cholesterol levels of 62 were even better than levels of 95 at preventing death, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular-related problems in people with heart disease.
Cut Down On Your Alcohol Intake
When you drink alcohol, your liver breaks it down into triglycerides and cholesterol in your body. Alcohol consumption can also raise your blood pressure and make it harder to keep your weight in a healthy range.
Cutting down on beer, wine, and liquor can be a simple first step to lowering your cholesterol.
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Can I Use Vitamins To Lower My Cholesterol
The only vitamin that really lowers cholesterol is red yeast rice at 1200 mg twice a day, according to Dr. Cho.
The problem with red yeast rice is that it contains the same chemical compound as lovastatin, which means you would need to have your liver function monitored if you take it, she says. The Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved this supplement for medical use, so talk to your doctor before considering it.
All in all, you can lower your cholesterol naturally. Diet should be the cornerstone of therapy and pills are a supplement, not a substitute, for a good diet. Always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements.
Should I Stop Drinking If I Have High Cholesterol
Cutting down on alcohol will help your liver to work better at removing bad cholesterol. It may also improve your heart health in other ways by helping you lose weight and lower your blood pressure.
Our top tips for drinking alcohol are to:
- drink less than 14 units of alcohol a week
- have a few days each week where you dont drink at all
- avoid binge drinking by drinking half what you usually would
- order a small glass of wine or half a pint of beer.
Read more of our advice on alcohol.By making some of these small changes you should see your cholesterol levels go down.
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Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Just By Changing Your Diet
Statins are used to lower cholesterol but how much can be achieved with changes to diet alone, asks Michael Mosley.
Over the many years that I’ve been making science documentaries I’ve covered a huge range of subjects, but there is one that is of particular personal interest. My family tree is riddled with heart disease and I know that, unchecked, my cholesterol scores tend to soar.
I am not alone – 60% of people in Britain have cholesterol levels that are too high and increasingly we are recommended to go on statins. Yet statins have side effects and many people are reluctant to go on a lifetime of pills.
So, for the current series of Trust Me, I’m a Doctor, we wanted to see if you could lower your cholesterol just as effectively by changing your diet.
We asked Dr Scott Harding from Kings College London to help us set up and run a small study. With his help we recruited 42 volunteers, all of whom had concerns about their cholesterol and were keen to see what they could do without taking medication.
We started by taking blood samples to look at their current levels of total cholesterol.
Cholesterol is complicated stuff. Most of it is made in the liver and then sent to the cells that need it, bound to a lipoprotein called LDL .
LDL is often called “bad cholesterol” because high levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. HDL is known as “good cholesterol” because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver.
Let South Denver Cardiology Associates Help
If you are trying to improve your health by cutting down on your cholesterol, South Denver Cardiology Associates offers many programs that might be useful. This includes our gym and various exercise classes.
We can also help you assess the seriousness of your heart problems with extensive diagnostic testing options. For example, we offer a heart scan that looks at the calcification of your heart arteries. This can help you understand your heart risks in the near term.
To learn more about the benefits of working with South Denver Cardiology, please call 303-744-1065 or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.
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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 Your Diet Affects Cholesterol Levels
Foods high in cholesterol are those that come from animalsfull-fat dairy, organ meats, egg yolks, for example. If you have high cholesterol, strive to consume fewer than 200 mg of cholesterol each day. Although cholesterol in food can increase your cholesterol levels, its not the most important factor for high cholesterol.
Here are the most important dietary considerations for lowering your cholesterol.
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