Cholesterol And Healthy Eating
What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. The Heart Foundation recommends following a heart-healthy eating pattern, which means eating a wide variety of fresh and unprocessed foods and limiting highly processed foods including take away, baked goods, chocolate, chips, lollies and sugary drinks. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
A heart-healthy eating pattern includes:
- plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains
- a variety of healthy protein-rich foods , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart-healthy eating pattern. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to one to three times a week
- unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. People with high cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties
- healthy fats and oils. Choose nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
This way of eating is also naturally high in fibre, which is good news, because a high intake of dietary fibre can also reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
Also, be mindful of how much you are eating. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can increase our cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.
How To Lower Triglycerides
What does it mean when you have high triglycerides? How do you lower your triglycerides?
If youve been told that you have high triglycerides a type of fat found in the bloodstream youre not alone. One report suggests that nearly one-third of Americans have elevated triglycerides.1
Higher than normal triglyceride levels are a problem because theyre associated with increased risk of metabolic dysfunction, heart attacks, and strokes.2
Although many people focus on the risks associated with high low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triglycerides may be even more predictive of future heart events.3
The good news is, you can use the advice in this guide to work with your healthcare provider to reduce your triglycerides naturally. You can also consider discussing medications or supplements to lower your triglycerides if needed.
Heres what you need to know about reducing your triglycerides.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Medication
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Ldl Cholesterol The Problem Child
LDL cholesterol is commonly understood as the problem child in the cholesterol family.
Contrary to its poor reputation, LDL cholesterol isnt bad in itself and under good conditions works as a strong antioxidant putting up constant fights against the harmful free radicals.
BUT if LDL cholesterol oxidizes, it turns into plaque which may clot up your arteries. This is where a high level of HDL comes in really handy as HDL cholesterol help prevent the oxidization of LDL cholesterol (more here.
How To Reduce Triglycerides In The Body
- Consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits and leafy vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and small portions of lean meat and fish
- Losing weight if overweight or obese
- Limiting sugary foods, modified carbohydrates, tobacco smoking, and alcohol
- Routine medical check-ups with lipid profile
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What Other Lifestyle Changes Help Lower Triglycerides
Lifestyle strategies are a way to lower triglycerides naturally.
Weight loss has a positive effect on triglycerides. For every 5% to 10% weight reduction, triglycerides may be lowered by 20%. Another way to look at this: For every kilogram lost, triglycerides may be reduced by 2%.
Increasing physical activity lowers triglycerides.
- Aerobic activity of any kind, especially when done after a meal, uses up triglycerides that are in the blood ready to be used as fuel. This not only lowers triglycerides but also helps with abdominal obesity.
- Exercise is most effective for lowering triglycerides when they are very elevated. If triglycerides are optimal , exercise will not further lower the level.
All together, intensive lifestyle strategies can reduce triglycerides by 50% or more over a year. Lifestyle strategies can enable people to effectively reduce triglycerides without medicine or drugs, plus there are many other positive effects on other aspects of health and well-being. This is the recommended approach of the American Heart Association for anyone with triglycerides greater than optimal .
Work In Some More Movement To Your Daily Tasks
Do I need to start running every day? Do I need to join a gym or buy a bunch of home fitness equipment? If you want to, go ahead! But there are many other choices, and finding a routine that works for you is whats most important. After all, the best exercise for heart health, is the one that youll stick with.
Simple swaps to get more exercise each day
Ideally, you want to aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity every week. You can break that up however you like. You might focus on doing something every day, or you could dedicate yourself to just a few days per week. The key is to just get started.
For example, do you usually take the elevator? Take the stairs instead. Do you walk your dog every day? Go a little farther than usual or walk at a faster pace. Need to go shopping? Park farther away than you normally do. Catching up on your favorite TV series? Try stretching, dumbbells or kettlebells while youre watching rather than just sitting on the couch. Also look for chances to bring motion into your daily life, such as walking while you talk on the phone.
If youre feeling good, work up to more intense physical activity, like swimming laps, jogging or hot yoga. Dont overexert yourself, but remember that regular and consistent exercise has benefits beyond managing your cholesterol. It also helps reduce blood pressure and builds your overall physical, mental and emotional well-being.
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What Is Ldl Cholesterol
Low density lipoprotein is a type of lipoprotein, which helps in the transportation of cholesterol in our body. This is often referred to as a bad cholesterol type since it can get deposited on blood vessel walls as thick and dense plaques and attracts macrophages which will eventually obstruct the vessel lumen causing Atherosclerosis.
Increased LDL levels markedly increase the risk of coronary artery disease.
Every person who is suspected to have Hypercholesterolemia should get a lipid profile done once in every month, which will reveal a laboratory measurement of LDL cholesterol in the body.
Why Do People Take Fiber
A number of studies have found that a high intake of total fiber, from foods and supplements, lowers the risk of heart disease. High-fiber diets have also been associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools. It helps treat constipation and diverticular disease and may benefit people with some types of IBS . Recent research has shown that increased fiber is also linked to increased survival in people with colon cancer.
Soluble fiber seems to lower cholesterol levels. It binds with cholesterol in the intestines and prevents it from being absorbed. Soluble fiber may also be useful in treating diabetes and insulin resistance . It can slow the absorption of carbohydrates, helping to improve blood sugar levels.
Since fiber is filling and has very few calories, high-fiber foods may also help with weight loss.
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Why Is It Important To Lower Cholesterol Levels
As it was said, high bad cholesterol levels may lead to heart attacks and strokes. And thats the most important reason to lower cholesterol levels of all. When its level becomes too high, it starts to stock up in your body, forming lesions, particularly in blood vascular system, and it gets harder for the blood to get to your heart and back. Which mean, you become oxygen deficient and your tissues and organs dont get enough blood. And when these lesions split, they can form clots, which causes thromboembolic disease, heart attacks, and strokes and can lead to a fatal outcome.
If Lifestyle Changes Arent Enough
Take medications, if you need to, to lower your cholesterol into healthy ranges. Drugs like statins can be very effective, says Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP – Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, but do continue in your efforts to eat well and exercise because a healthy lifestyle can give you far, far more than drugs alone.
With a healthy living program like Pritikin, youre not only reducing cholesterol quickly, youre also creating changes throughout your body that can profoundly improve your overall well-being. Youre reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Other heart disease risk factors like triglyceride fats are also dropping dramatically. Youre also reducing inflammatory factors that sicken arteries. Youre shedding excess weight. And, quite simply, youre feeling better, much better. Many of our guests at Pritikin tell us, I had no idea I could feel this good again.
Can any pill or combination of pills do all of the above? I highly doubt it. But a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin can.
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Anything Greater Than 39 Mg/dl Is Considered Good
Doctors believe the HDL proteins carry away the LDL proteins to the liver, where it is broken down and exits the body.
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body they store excess energy from your diet.
A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is linked with fatty buildups in artery walls therefore, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
My husbands Triglyceride level was 282 mg/dL, whereas, 150 should be highest.
HDL level 35 mg/dL, whereas 39 mg/dL should be the lowest
LDL level 146 mg/dl, wheras 100 mg/dL is optimal
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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Eat Less To Lose Weight
High triglycerides come from regularly eating more calories than your body burns, so eating less overall is one of the best ways to start reining them in.
How much less, exactly? You may want to cut back by 500 to 1,000 calories a day, depending on how many calories youre consuming. Thats enough to help you lose weight, which is key.
Dropping 5 to 10 percent of your body weight is enough to reduce your triglycerides significantly. But definitely get the OK from your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can increase your levels of triglycerides. Along with LDL cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease.
Excess alcohol consumption also increases blood pressure and can lead to obesity both additional risk factors for heart disease.
To reduce the risk of heart disease and other risks from alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.
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Consider Cutting Back On Carbs
You dont have to go full keto. But some research suggests that lower carb diets are tied to healthier triglyceride levels.
How low should you go? In a 2006 study, people who consumed about a quarter of their calories from carbs lowered their triglycerides more than those who got more than half their calories from carbs.
Health Conditions Related To Triglycerides And Cholesterol
High blood lipid levels may increase your risk for plaques to develop in your arteries or thicken the walls of your arteries .
Other health conditions related to high triglycerides or cholesterol include:
- High blood sugar levels or diabetes
- Metabolic syndromea cluster of conditions that increase your risk for heart disease
- Genetic conditions
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How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms.
Visit your GP to find out your cholesterol level and to find out what you need to do if your levels of bad cholesterol are high.
For people aged 45 years and over, you can have your cholesterol checked as part of a Heart Health Check with your GP.
If you identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, you should have your cholesterol checked from age 18 years.
What Are The Good And Bad Types Of Cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol. The more LDL you have in your blood, the higher your risk of heart disease. High-density lipoprotein is good cholesterol. This type lowers your risk of heart disease.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. People with diabetes and those who are at risk of diabetes tend to have high triglycerides. When you make changes in your lifestyle to improve your cholesterol levels, you want to lower LDL, raise HDL, and lower triglycerides.
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Steering Clear Of Transfats
Transfats are unnatural fat molecules that can be found in e.g. margarine. Transfats are bad in every possible way as they increase your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol.
Transfats occur in the process of making fluid oils soild e.g. when making margarine.
< br< < h3=> Sugar Bombs Are Bad for Your Good CholesterolStudies have shown that high amounts of sugar has a bad, lowering effect on HDL cholesterol level and triglycerides.< /br< >
How Do Foods Affect Triglyceride Levels
Eating foods high in simple sugars significantly contributes to high triglyceride levels. Follow these guidelines to limit simple sugars in your diet:
- Substitute beverages like colas, fruit drinks, iced tea, lemonade, Hi-C and Kool-Aid with artificially sweetened beverages labeled sugar-free or diet.
- Limit hard candies, chocolates, candy bars, and gummy bears.
- Avoid adding table sugar and brown sugar to cereal, drinks or foods. Instead, use an artificial or herbal sweetener or nothing at all!
- Choose sugar-free gum or mints instead of the regular versions.
- Try light or low-sugar syrups on pancakes and waffles.
- Spread breads and crackers with no-sugar-added jelly or preserves.
- Snack on whole fruit instead of fruit roll-ups and other fruit-flavored treats.
- When selecting cereals, choose those with no more than 8 grams of sugar per serving.
- Try sugar-free gelatin, popsicles, yogurts, and puddings instead of the regular versions.
- Be aware that desserts labeled fat-free usually contain more sugar than the full-fat varieties and the same number of calories.
- Cut back on or avoid eating sweets and dessert foods, including cookies, cakes, pastries, pies, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, gelato, and flavored ices. All of these foods contain high levels of sugar.
- Read the ingredients list on food labels, and limit foods that list any of the following words in the first few ingredients:
Natural sugars, when eaten in excess, can also raise your triglyceride level.
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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.
What Are The Risks Of Taking Fiber
- Side effects. Fiber does not have serious side effects. At high levels, it can cause bloating, cramping, gas, and perhaps worsening constipation. Drinking more water — 2 liters a day — may help.
- Interactions. If you take any regular medications, talk to a doctor before you start using a fiber supplement. It may block the absorption of some drugs.
- Risks. Rarely, fiber supplements have caused intestinal blockages. If you have any chronic disease, talk to a doctor before you start using a fiber supplement. The sugar and salt in some supplements, particularly powders, might be risky for people with diabetes or high blood pressure. People with diabetes may want to choose a sugar-free powder or another form of fiber. Blond psyllium is the most common type of fiber supplement on the market.
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