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How To Cut Down Cholesterol

Know Your Numbers And What To Do About Them

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When it comes to cholesterol, it’s important to know your numbers. Hyperlipidemia means your blood has too many lipids , such as cholesterol and triglycerides. One type of hyperlipidemia, hypercholesterolemia, means you have too much non-HDL cholesterol and LDL; cholesterol in your blood. This condition increases fatty deposits in arteries and the risk of blockages.

Another way your cholesterol numbers can be out of balance is when your HDL cholesterol level is too low. With less HDL to remove cholesterol from your arteries, your risk of atherosclerotic plaque and blockages increases.

If youre diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, your overall health and other risks such as smoking or high blood pressure;will help guide treatment. These factors can combine with high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol levels to affect your cardiovascular health. Your doctor may use the ASCVD Risk Calculator to assess your risk of a coronary event in the next 10 years.

The good news is, high cholesterol can be lowered, reducing risk of heart disease and stroke. If youre 20 years or older, have your cholesterol tested and work with your doctor to adjust your cholesterol levels as needed.

Often, changing behaviors can help bring your numbers into line. If lifestyle changes alone dont improve your cholesterol levels, medication;may be prescribed. Lifestyle changes include:

What Is The Difference Between Hdl And Ldl Cholesterol

Cholesterol doesnt dissolve in blood. To be transported in the bloodstream, cholesterol is packed into two types of carriers: low-density lipoproteins or high-density lipoproteins . LDL cholesterol, which is sometimes known as bad cholesterol, is necessary in limited quantities , but high LDL cholesterol levels can dramatically increase your;risk of a heart attack. Thats because LDL particles can contribute to atherosclerosisor clogged arteries. HDL cholesterolsometimes called good cholesterolhelps clear LDL cholesterol from the arteries.;

When doctors measure cholesterol levels, they first look at total cholesterol as a quick way to assess a persons risk. For a more exact guide, they divide the total level by the HDL level. Heart attack risk is minimized by having a lower total cholesterol and a higher proportion of HDL cholesterol. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL should be less than 4 to 1.

Unfortunately, the average American man has a ratio of 5 to 1. Vegetarians, on the other hand, average about 3 to 1. Smoking and obesity lower HDL; vigorous exercise and foods rich in vitamin C may increase it.

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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A Guide To Healthy Eating: Strategies Tips And Recipes To Help You Make Better Food Choices

Eat real food. Thats the essence of todays nutrition message. Our knowledge of nutrition has come full circle, back to eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it. Based on a solid foundation of current nutrition science, Harvards Special Health Report A Guide to Healthy Eating: Strategies, tips, and recipes to help you make better food choices describes how to eat for optimum health.

Is All Cholesterol Bad

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While cholesterol often gets a bad reputation, it is actually a vital part of your body. We all need cholesterol to survive.;

Here are some of the essential functions of cholesterol:;

  • Part of cell membranes. These are what provide your cells with structure. Since cells make up every organ in your body, cholesterol plays a pretty important role in helping them function properly.
  • Helps make vitamin D. Cholesterol helps your body produce vitamin D from sunlight.; Since vitamin D plays many important roles in your health, including reducing disease risk, this is another crucial cholesterol function.;
  • Assist with hormone production. Your body uses cholesterol to make hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. This means cholesterol also plays a vital role in sexual development, fertility, and even stress levels.;
  • Digestion. Cholesterol is needed to produce bile, which is a substance that helps your body break down fats and absorb nutrients. Not enough bile can lead to malnutrition and even bacteria overgrowth in the intestines.;
  • Brain & nerve function. Your brain has the highest cholesterol content compared to any other organ in your body. Cholesterol is also an essential component ofmyelin membranes which protects your nerve cells and helps transmit electrical impulses that control things like movement and sensation.;
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    Use Liquid Vegetable Oils In Place Of Solid Fats

    Liquid vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean and olive oil can often be used instead of solid fats, such as butter, lard or shortening. If you must use margarine, try the soft or liquid kind.

    Use a little liquid oil to:

    • Pan-fry fish and poultry.
    • Make cream sauces and soups using low-fat or fat-free milk.
    • Add to whipped or scalloped potatoes using low-fat or fat-free milk.
    • Brown rice for Spanish, curried or stir-fried rice.
    • Cook dehydrated potatoes and other prepared foods that call for fat to be added.
    • Make pancakes or waffles.

    Eat Fewer Refined Grains Such As White Flour

    Were a nation of white food eaters white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white-flour foods like muffins, croissants, bagels, crackers, dried cereals, tortillas, pretzels, and chips. Yes, more than half of many Americans typical diets are made up of hyperprocessed refined white flour, often injected with sugar, salt, and/or fat.

    Thats a real problem in part because the more white, or refined, grains we eat, the fewer whole grains we tend to take in. Research has found that eating whole grains can help lower both total and LDL cholesterol, and improve heart health.

    In Harvard Universitys;Nurses Health Study, for example, women who ate two to three servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than one serving of whole grains per week.2

    When first starting to make the switch from refined to whole grains, many people often feel a bit confused. Where to begin? Whats whole? What isnt?

    The registered dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center start with one very simple rule. When looking at products like breads and cereals, they recommend turning the package around and making sure the first word in the Ingredient List is whole. If you see the word whole at the top of the list, its a good bet that what youre buying is in fact 100% whole grain, or close to it.

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    Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol

    Some foods can actively help to lower your cholesterol and they all work in different ways. Try to include these foods in your meals whenever you can:

    1. Oats and barley

    Eating whole grain foods reduces your risk of heart disease. Oats and barley are extra special because they are high in a type of soluble fibre called ‘beta glucan’. Beta glucan helps to lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood2,3.

    Tip: Flavoured oat products like ‘Quick Oats’ often contain added salt and/or sugar. Choose products that contain 100% oats as they’re closest to how theyre found in nature.

    2. Vegetables and fruit

    Eating a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit everyday can help protect you against heart disease, stroke and some cancers4,5. Many vegetables and fruit are high in soluble fibre which helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol and lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood.

    Tip: Leave the skins on vegetables like pumpkin, kmara and carrot to maximise your intake of fibre. Use orange and lemon peel in dressings and sauces.

    3. Foods rich in heart-healthy fats

    Eating plenty of foods that contain heart-healthy mono and poly-unsaturated fats increases the levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in your blood.;

    These foods contain heart-healthy fats.

    • Avocado
    • Olives
    • Vegetable oils and spreads

    Eating these foods instead of foods high in saturated fat improves your cholesterol. Itll reduce your risk of heart disease too6.

    4. Legumes and beans

    5. Nuts

    6. Soy products

    7. Plant sterols

    Lifestyle Changes To Lower Cholesterol

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    Heart-healthy lifestyle changes that can help you lower or control your cholesterol include

    • Heart-healthy eating. A heart-healthy eating plan limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. It recommends that you eat and drink only enough calories to stay at a healthy weight and avoid weight gain. It encourages you to choose a variety of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Examples of eating plans that can lower your cholesterol include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet and the DASH eating plan.
    • Weight Management. If you are overweight, losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol. This is especially important for people with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that includes high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, and being overweight with a large waist measurement .
    • Physical Activity. Everyone should get regular physical activity .
    • Managing stress. Research has shown that chronic stress can sometimes raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
    • Quitting smoking.Quitting smoking can raise your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your arteries, having more HDL can help to lower your LDL cholesterol.

    Recommended Reading: What Foods Are Good To Lower Cholesterol

    Goals For Your Cholesterol Levels

    It’s best to keep your total cholesterol level below 200. Women of any age should have an HDL level of 40 or higher.

    If you already have heart disease or diabetes, or your doctor estimates that your 10-year risk of heart disease is 20 percent or higher, try to keep your LDL level below 100.

    If you do not have heart disease or diabetes, but you have two major risk factors, try to keep your LDL cholesterol level below 130. Major risk factors are age over 55; cigarette smoking; high blood pressure; low HDL ; a father or brother with heart disease before age 55, or a mother or sister with heart disease before age 65.

    If you have fewer than two major risk factors, try to keep your LDL level below 160.

    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.

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    Getting Accurate Test Results

    Getting a cholesterol test is easy. It involves having a tubes worth of blood drawn from your arm during a routine visit to your physician. The preparation, however, takes a little effort to ensure the most accurate reading. Food and drink can affect your triglyceride level, so you should fast for 12 hours beforehand. You should also avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before the test. You can drink water and take most medications you normally use, as these should not affect the test results. If you are not sure about your medications, check with your doctor before getting the test done.

    Are You Serious About Reducing Cholesterol

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    If making healthy changes on your own has been a challenge, it may be time to bring in the professionals! Our team of physicians, nutritionists, exercise experts, psychologists, and chefs – specialize in helping people just like you reduce medication and take contol of their health. A vacation at Pritikin will change your life!

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    Eat Less Refined Food

    It is best to avoid refined food whenever possible.

    Refined and packaged foods tend to have ingredients that make them shelf-stable while also giving them a desirable flavor.

    These foods often include ingredients that a person should avoid when they are looking to reduce their cholesterol.

    Among the ingredients to avoid are refined grains, added trans and saturated fats, and added sugars.

    Several lifestyle factors can affect a persons cholesterol levels. Some people may find that making certain changes to their lifestyle helps lower their cholesterol.

    Supplements To Lower Cholesterol

    Some companies sell supplements that they say can lower cholesterol. Researchers have studied many of these supplements, including red yeast rice, flaxseed, and garlic. At this time, there isn’t conclusive evidence that any of them are effective in lowering cholesterol levels. Also, supplements may cause side effects and interactions with medicines. Always check with your health care provider before you take any supplements.

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    Becoming More Physically Active

    A sedentary lifestyle lowers HDL cholesterol. Less HDL means theres less good cholesterol to remove bad cholesterol from your arteries.

    Physical activity is important. At least;150 minutes of moderate-intensity;aerobic exercise a week;is enough to lower both cholesterol and high blood pressure. And you have lots of options: brisk walking, swimming, bicycling or even yard work can fit the bill.

    Almonds Are Rich In Fiber

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    The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and fiber contained in almonds help raise good cholesterol HDL and reduce the bad LDL. A 2011 study published in Nutrition Review found that Eating almonds help lower LDL cholesterol, a primary target for coronary disease prevention, by 3 to 19 percent. Also, a 2015 study published in the Journal of American Heart Association states that daily almond consumption may be a simple dietary strategy to prevent the onset of cardio-metabolic diseases.

    Heart ailments and high cholesterol also come from a family history of these diseases. Old age also is considered another factor. Keep your cholesterol levels on the check at regular intervals and go for tests and follow-ups with a cardiologist. Find the Best Cardiologists near you and Book an Appointment Online.

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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

    Focus On Monounsaturated Fats

    As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way they are used in the body. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.

    Although some recommend a low-fat diet for weight loss, a study of 10 men found a 6-week, low-fat diet reduced levels of harmful LDL, but also reduced beneficial HDL .

    In contrast, a diet high in monounsaturated fats reduced harmful LDL, but also protected higher levels of healthy HDL.

    A study of 24 adults with high blood cholesterol came to the same conclusion, where eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat increased beneficial HDL by 12%, compared to a diet low in saturated fat .

    Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of lipoproteins, which contributes to clogged arteries. A study of 26 people found that replacing polyunsaturated fats with monounsaturated fats in the diet reduced the oxidation of fats and cholesterol (

    You can find olive oil and canola oil online.

    summary

    Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts and avocados reduce the bad LDL, increase the good HDL and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.

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    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.

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