Cholesterol And Healthy Eating
What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
The Heart Foundation recommends:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
- A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to 1-3 times a week.
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.
Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.
What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Help Improve My Cholesterol Levels
Exercise can raise HDL cholesterol levels. It can also reduce levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides . Try to work out for 30 minutes, 4 to 6 times a week. Your workout should be moderate to vigorous. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting an exercise plan.
Lose weight if youre overweight.
Being overweight can raise your cholesterol levels. Losing weight, even just 5 or 10 pounds, can lower your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
If you smoke, quit.
Smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. Even exposure to second-hand smoke can affect your HDL level. Talk to your doctor about developing a plan to help you stop smoking.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat. They add flavor and variety to your diet. They are also the best source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals for your body. Aim for 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day. This should not include potatoes, corn, or rice. These count as carbohydrates.
- Pick good fats over bad fats. Fat is part of a healthy diet, but there are bad fats and good fats. Bad fats include saturated and trans fats. They are found in foods such as:
- Fats in whole milk dairy products.
Limit the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Avoid trans fat completely.
In addition to fiber, whole grains supply B vitamins and important nutrients not found in foods made with white flour.
Why You Need Omega
Omega-6 fatty acids support proper cell function throughout the body. While theyre available in supplement form, most of us get more than enough from our diets. Experts advise you obtain 5-10% of your daily calories from omega-6 fats, or between 11 and 22 grams on average.
Omega-6 fatty acids contribute to health benefits like:
Studies show a link between higher linoleic acid intake the most common omega-6 and reduced rates of heart attacks and other heart diseases. Some research shows omega-6s may lower cholesterol, keeping your blood vessels clear from build-up that can cause clots and heart problems.
Omega-6s are essential for maintaining healthy cell structures and processes. Together with omega-3s, they keep cells functioning correctly, limiting cell damage that can lead to health problems or chronic disease.
Potential Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Research shows that our bodies convert linoleic acid into gamma-linoleic acid a compound that may fight inflammation. While inflammation is a healthy bodily response, it can contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis over time.
Scientists continue to study this effect and its potential to treat inflammation. But any link relies on a well-balanced diet. To convert omega-6s into their anti-inflammatory forms, our bodies need enough nutrients like magnesium and zinc, and vitamins C, B3, and B6.
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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.
Understanding The Highs And Lows Of Cholesterol
You know that too much is dangerous. But what is cholesterol, anyway? Where does it come from? And is it all bad?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. Its either made by the body or absorbed from food. Your body needs cholesterol to make important steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and vitamin D. Its also used to make bile acids in the liver these absorb fat during digestion.
So some cholesterol is necessary but bad cholesterol is something you can do without. Excess bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can deposit into the bodys arteries. These deposits are called plaques and result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which includes several components:
- LDL cholesterol: LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the bad cholesterol, which directly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Very low density lipoprotein, or VLDL cholesterol, is another type, which is a precursor to LDL.
- Total cholesterol is VLDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol.
- HDL cholesterol: HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Experts think at optimal levels it might help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.
And guess what? This buildup can start as early as your 20s.
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You Can Begin Lowering Cholesterol Naturally Today
Sound like a lot to take on? Dont be intimidated. Bringing down your high cholesterol doesnt have to mean changing your life completely. Rather, start with changing your mindset. Instead of moving away from things, youre moving toward new habits that will help you create a healthier and more enjoyable future.
Now is always the right time to start taking care of your heart health. If you need a little support, lean on friends and family. And dont forget: Your doctor is always there for you with advice, motivation and encouragement so you can reach your goals and live healthier.
Consider Plant Sterols And Stanols
Multiple types of supplements show promise for managing cholesterol.
Plant stanols and sterols are plant versions of cholesterol. Because they resemble cholesterol, they are absorbed from the diet like cholesterol.
However, because parts of their chemistry are different from human cholesterol, they do not contribute to clogged arteries.
Instead, they reduce cholesterol levels by competing with human cholesterol. When plant sterols are absorbed from the diet, this replaces the absorption of cholesterol.
Small amounts of plant stanols and sterols are naturally found in vegetable oils, and are also added to certain oils and butter substitutes.
One study of 60 men and women found consuming yogurt with one gram of plant stanols reduced LDL by about 15%, compared to a placebo. Another study showed they decreased LDL by 20% .
In spite of these benefits to cholesterol, available studies have not proven that stanols or sterols decrease the risk of heart disease. The higher doses in supplements are not as well tested as the small doses in vegetable oils .
Plant stanols and sterols in vegetable oil or margarines compete with cholesterol absorption and reduce LDL by up to 20%. They are not proven to reduce heart disease.
There is strong evidence that fish oil and soluble fiber improve cholesterol and promote heart health. Another supplement, coenzyme Q10, is showing promise in improving cholesterol, although its long-term benefits are not yet known.
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How Does Diet Affect Cholesterol Levels
Your cholesterol level has a lot to do with what foods you choose to put on your plate.
In the United States, Cardiovascular Disease is one of the leading causes of poor health, sometimes accompanied by death.
This happens to be directly associated with poor eating habits.
For instance, consuming too much fat can increase LDL cholesterol. Subsequently, elevating the risk of heart disease.
However, choosing a healthy diet reverses this process, giving you a clean bill on health.
And if these are not enough, there are other foods to sink your teeth into in order to balance your cholesterol level.
Here are some foods to increase HDL and decrease LDL levels.
The Risk Of Low Hdl Levels
Often, only LDL cholesterol gets attention as a cardiovascular risk, but HDL cholesterol deserves attention as well. Low levels of HDL can be just as dangerous as high LDL, because it can lead to a buildup of LDL cholesterol. For men, less than 40 milligrams of HDL per deciliter of blood is a risk factor for heart disease. For women that number is even higher, at 50 milligrams per deciliter of blood.
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Low Cholesterol And Preterm Birth Or A Baby With Low Weight
In a study, published in the October 2007 issue of the journal Pediatrics, nearly 13% of the women with very low cholesterol gave birth prematurely.
The researchers also found that white women were more at risk and that almost 21% of white women with the very low cholesterol levels had preterm deliveries.
On an average, the preterm babies of mothers with low cholesterol weighed five ounces less than babies delivered full term to mothers with moderate cholesterol.
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 (
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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What Are Triglycerides And Vldl
Triglyceride is a fatty substance that is composed of three fatty acids. Like cholesterol, triglyceride in the blood comes either from the diet or the liver. In addition, like cholesterol, triglyceride cannot dissolve and circulate in the blood without combining with a lipoprotein.
The liver removes triglyceride from the blood and it synthesizes and packages triglyceride into VLDL particles and releases them back into the blood circulation.
What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.
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How To Raise Good Cholesterol Or Hdl Levels
In order to balance your cholesterol level in the body, it is not necessary to avoid eating bad foods. For example, instead of keeping away from bad foods, you can add more beneficial foods in your daily diet and keep up the right lifestyle. In this way, the body has the ability to fight bad cholesterol naturally and reduce its proportion in your blood.
The best sources of fiber
- Cereals however, remember that not all kinds of cereals and not too much. Hidden gluten or wheat protein intolerance is becoming more common and people themselves may not be aware of it. If you feel heaviness after eating cereals and it seems to you that digestion slows down, you may suspect intolerance. The best and most foolproof cereal products are buckwheat, whole grain cereal, oatmeal and okra.
- Flax, hemp, pumpkin and chia seeds and their oils
What Are Hdl Cholesterol Vs Ldl Cholesterol What Do They Do
What is LDL cholesterol or the “bad” cholesterol?
- LDL cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol because elevated levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
- LDL lipoprotein deposits cholesterol along the inside of artery walls, causing the formation of a hard, thick substance called cholesterol plaque. Over time, cholesterol plaque causes thickening of the artery walls and narrowing of the lumen of the arteries, a process called atherosclerosis, which decreases blood flow through the narrowed plaque-filled vessel.
- Narrowing of blood vessels in the heart may lead to angina or heart attack.
- Narrowing of blood vessels in the brain may cause a transient ischemic attack or stroke.
- Narrowing of the arteries throughout the body can lead to signs and symptoms of pain, including in the intestine and in the legs with walking .
What is HDL cholesterol or “good” cholesterol?
What does “total” cholesterol mean?
- Total cholesterol is the sum of LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol, and IDL cholesterol.
What determines the level of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the blood?
- Mandatory smoking cessation
The previous goal of maintaining “normal” cholesterol levels has been replaced by an approach that suggests more people may benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin medications, and not just those with high cholesterol levels. These four groups include patients:
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Cholestrol Hdl Vs Ldl
LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad cholesterol. If there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, it builds up in the walls of the blood vessels, causing them to narrow and stiffen. A buildup of LDL cholesterol reduces blood flow and can increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
HDL or good cholesterol can move LDL cholesterol from the blood to the liver, which breaks it down for disposal as waste. HDL cholesterol is called good cholesterol because it lowers the level of cholesterol in the blood. High HDL is linked to a reduced risk of heart attack and heart disease.
Try The Mediterranean Diet
One of the best ways to decrease levels of LDL cholesterol is through your diet! A common diet that is recommended when trying to lower LDL cholesterol is the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet is a diet that is high in fat due to the lower consumption of sugar and meat.
Foods like nuts, olive oil, fruits, and vegetables are at their highest levels when eating a Mediterranean diet which means youre less likely to have an increased cholesterol level.
People who eat this way also tend to lose weight over time because they are not consuming as many calories from sugars or fats since they get most of those essential nutrients through foods rich in protein and fiber.
Eating more healthy fats by including avocados with every meal will lower your risk for heart disease along with lowering LDL cholesterol levels! Avocado lovers can rejoice knowing that guacamole isnt just tasty, but its good for them too!
Mediterranean diets are commonly consumed in some of the healthiest places in the world called the Blue Zones.
Here is the typical Mediterranean diet pyramid:
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Ratio Of Total Cholesterol To Hdl
The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol can help a person know if they are getting enough good cholesterol and limit sources of bad cholesterol. It can be measured by dividing total cholesterol by the HDL level. Ideally, the ratio should be less than 4. The lower the number, the healthier a persons cholesterol level. Total cholesterol fluctuates, which is why more than one blood test may be needed for an accurate assessment. Levels can change after a meal, which is why a blood test is sometimes done in the morning before breakfast. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL is a better marker of heart disease risk than LDL cholesterol alone.