Skepticism About The Hdl Hypothesis
The cholesterol contained within HDL is known to be inversely related to cardiovascular disease however, several failed clinical trials have created doubt HDLs ability to reverse atherosclerosis in patients. Several of these trials aimed at raising HDL cholesterol. Large outcome trials using niacin, fibrates, or cholesterol-ester-transfer-protein inhibitors were performed but overall showed negative results or were only positive in subgroups . These studies showed that simply raising HDL cholesterol will not reverse atherosclerosis. These negative studies were followed up with genetic studies, which indicated that low HDL cholesterol is not causally linked to atherosclerotic events . A potential explanation for these inconsistent studies is due to the fact that HDL can be dysfunctional and lose their protective properties, such as in diabetes or inflammation. In periods of inflammation, apolipoprotein AI exhibits extensive posttranslational modifications through oxidative processes, particularly by myeloperoxidase, a peroxidase enzyme expressed in neutrophil granulocytes. The myeloperoxidase pathway inhibits cholesterol efflux causes HDL to lose its endothelial cell protective effects .
Tactics To Reduce Cholesterol Quickly
For most of us, there’s really no need to pack our medicine cabinets with pills to reduce cholesterol levels. Natural, lifestyle-based strategies have proven extraordinarily effective in reducing cholesterol quickly and permanently.
Get the top 5 food and fitness tips recommended by the doctors, dietitians, exercise experts, and other faculty at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Pritikin has been helping people lower cholesterol levels since 1975.
Did you know that for every 10% drop in your cholesterol level, your heart attack risk drops by 20% to 30%? Theres more good news: Most of us can reduce cholesterol quickly, and without the need for medications. Simple lifestyle strategies can be very powerful.
Thats what several studies on thousands following the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise have found. Within three weeks, people were able to lower their cholesterol levels on average 23%, which translates into a 46% to 69% drop in heart attack risk.1
Ask Questions Mind Your Diet And Get Moving
Eat a variety of nutritious foods, including vegetables, to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
High LDL cholesterol can lead to heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the U.S. That’s why it’s important to take steps early on.
While some risk factors are beyond your control, there are things you can do to reduce your risk.
Ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask your health care provider follow-up questions after a blood test. They can answer questions about your cholesterol levels and provide guidance on what to do next. Cholesterol is a tricky topic that you don’t have to navigate alone.
Eat a healthy diet. Reduce or avoid foods high in saturated fat and trans fats. This can help to lower your cholesterol levels in your blood. Eat a variety of nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, lean meats, and fish.
Lose weight. Excess weight increases your cholesterol and risk for heart disease. Losing weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Talk to your doctor about what a healthy weight is for you.
Stay active. Regular exercise may help lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol. Adults should aim for 30 minutes a day. Children and adolescents should get one hour of physical activity a day.
Quit smoking. Quitting smoking can raise your HDL cholesterol. Talk to your doctor about ways to help you quit.
: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
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How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
All kids should have their cholesterol checked when they’re between 9 and 11 years old and again when they’re between 17 and 21.
Kids over 2 years old should be tested if they:
- have a parent or other close relative with a total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL
- have a family history of cardiovascular disease before age 55 in men and age 65 in women
- have some kinds of medical conditions
- are overweight or obese
- have diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoke cigarettes
Your doctor can order a blood test to check your child’s cholesterol. Your child may have to fast before the test.
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines, the ranges of total and LDL cholesterol for kids and teens 218 years old are:
mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter
Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
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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.
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.
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Ways To Lower Cholesterol
Check your own cholesterol level and if it’s high, ask to have your kids’ levels checked.
Here are 5 ways to help keep your family’s cholesterol in control:
It’s important to make healthy living a family effort. The steps you take to improve your family’s lifestyle will have a positive effect on your family’s health now and far into the future.
Risks And Side Effects
While adding these foods to your diet can definitely help keep your cholesterol in check, its important to combine them with a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle to really optimize heart health. Even on the best cholesterol-lowering diet, adding a few superfoods here and there is unlikely to make much of a difference if youre not making changes in other parts of your daily regimen.
Minimizing stress levels, exercising regularly, increasing your intake of whole foods, cutting out heavily processed, high cholesterol foods and giving up unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking are just a few other natural ways to keep cholesterol levels under control and support better health.
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Lower Cholesterol Naturally My Story
In January 2017 my total cholesterol was checked at Quest Diagnostic, as part of an annual checkup.
My results came back with a total cholesterol count of 339 mg/dl.
As a reference, doctors recommend your total be less than 200 mg/dl.
To be honest, I wasnt really surprised at the numbers because I was overweight and did need to lose weight.
As a side note, during my visit I was told that I had all the signs of insulin resistance.
Later that year, I made the decision to start a keto diet to lose weight and reverse my insulin resistance.
Fast forward to Jan 2018, at my next check up when my blood tests came back with a unexpected surprise.
My total cholesterol had a 19% drop, from 339 to 275 mg/dL, by simply following a ketogenic diet.
At the same time, I found that was able I reduce other health markers like:
- Waist Circumference: My waistline shrank from 45 down to 40 inches, which is a 15% decrease.
- Blood Pressure: My blood pressure went from 141/97 mm/hg down to 122/76 mm/hg. This is a 14% decrease in the top number and a 22% decrease in the bottom number . Learn more about blood pressure measurement at CDC.gov.
- Body Mass Index : My BMI went from 34.9 down to 32.3, after I losing over 30 lbs.
Cut Back On Added Sugar
A sugary diet can cause your liver to make more LDL cholesterol while lowering your HDL levels. Excess sugar can also raise your triglycerides and inhibit an enzyme that breaks them down. To prevent this, replace sugary fare with naturally-sweet alternatives. Instead of a bowl of candy, for example, have unsweetened applesauce or a baked pear. When you do indulge in high-sugar treats, stick to modest portions.
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Increase Your Intake Of Vitamin C
Vitamin is an antioxidant that is naturally present in some foods. Notable among the numerous benefits of Vitamin C are helping to repair and regenerate tissues, protecting against heart diseases and decreasing bad cholesterol. Vitamin C helps protect the arteries against damage. As an antioxidant, it can also help to reduce inflammation. You should consider taking the following sources of vitamin C on a daily basis
- Citrus fruits e.g oranges, lemons, grapefruit etc
Work In Some More Movement To Your Daily Tasks
Do you need to start running every day? Do you 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.
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 lap swimming, 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.
Even if you just go a little farther or a little faster than you usually do, that extra activity will be a big step in the right direction for your health.
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Include More Plant Sterols Or Stanols
Plant sterols and stanols are found naturally in small amounts in fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They are also added to some products such as cereals, cooking oils, granola, margarine, orange juice, and salad dressings in more significant amounts, and these products are often labeled as having “Cholesterol-lowering” benefits that are good for your heart.
But what are they? Plant stanols and sterols have a similar structure to cholesterol, and our digestive system finds it difficult to tell the difference between these and cholesterol. This confusion can prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into our bloodstream, which means it just gets excreted along with other body waste.
Studies show that sterols and stanols lower LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 6% and perhaps as much as 14% in as little as four weeks. Foods naturally high in sterols and stanols include almonds, apples, avocados, blueberries, Brussel sprouts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and tomatoes.
While everybody should add foods high in plant stanols and sterols to their diet, the American Heart Association recommends only people who actually have high cholesterol eat sterol and stanol fortified products, with the aim to consume 2 grams of sterols or stanols per day.
Best Home Remedies On How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
There is no doubt that our body system needs some amount of cholesterol to function adequately.
However, this does not give you the license to take a bite on every food that comes your way.
You should try as much as possible to avoid foods that are high in trans fat.
These foods are bad news for your body as they raise your bad cholesterol.
You might be right if you are thinking they make food taste good. However, they are a danger to your heart.
In addition to avoiding trans fat, you should also incorporate the following effective home remedies to lower cholesterol naturally, into your daily routine
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Desirable Cholesterol Numbers For Better Health
Your cholesterol numbers from a simple blood test provide a measure of your cardiovascular health and can be an early warning sign of heart disease. The AHA recommends your total cholesterol levels be measured at least once every five years once you reach age 20.
Total cholesterol is the sum of a few numbers: HDL cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol , triglycerides, and other lipid components of your blood. Each is reported in milligrams per deciliter of blood .
Your doctor can determine the best cholesterol level for you based on your health, medical history, and family history of heart disease. Desirable cholesterol levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , are:
- Total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL above 40 mg/dL in men and above 50 mg/dL in women
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber is a type of indigestible material found in many of the plant sources we eat. Although it might not be as digestible as protein or carbohydrates , fiber still plays an extremely important role in maintaining your health. As food travels through your gastrointestinal system, fiber grabs on to cholesterol. Instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, cholesterol passes harmlessly through your system alongside fiber. Adding more sources of fiber to your diet can be an effective way of lowering your cholesterol.
Fiber is divided into two categories: soluble and insoluble. While insoluble fiber is not as beneficial for removing cholesterol as soluble fiber is, insoluble fiber is still important for improving blood sugar and aids in reducing colon cancer. You can find this type of fiber in foods like whole-wheat bread, beans, potatoes, and cauliflower. Soluble fiber does a great job of lowering cholesterol. You can find soluble fiber in oats, barley, peas, apples, carrots, and citrus fruit. Adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans to your diet will help increase your fiber intake.
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What Is High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is when theres too much bad cholesterol and/or not enough good cholesterol in your blood.
This picture shows what it looks like if you have low cholesterol, normal cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels.
Sometimes health professionals talk about the terms dyslipidaemia and hyperlipidaemia. Both are clinical terms that mean your levels of cholesterol are outside the normal range.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
You wont know if you have high cholesterol because it doesnt usually have symptoms. The only way to know is to have a blood test.
Why does high cholesterol matter?
When your cholesterol is too high it can build up as plaque in your arteries. If the plaque gets too big, or breaks off, it can cause a heart attack and stroke. This risk also increases when your triglycerides are too high.
Your doctor will use the results of your blood test and your other heart attack risk factors to decide whether you need medication to lower your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.