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.
What Causes High Cholesterol & How To Lower It:
High cholesterol can be caused by several factorsincluding family history. Lack of exercise, being overweight, an unhealthy diet , plus smoking can all play a role in raising your cholesterol. According to the CDC, a total cholesterol of over 200 mg/dL is considered high. However, there are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so be sure to have a discussion with your medical provider about getting your levels checked. Although high cholesterol doesn’t have symptoms, side effects of high cholesterol include heart attack and stroke, so it’s important to practice prevention and discuss your risk factors at your annual visit.
To reduce risk, there are several lifestyle changes we can make, like increasing exercise and focusing on a diet that is high in fiber and healthy unsaturated fats , while limiting excess sugar and saturated or trans fats. Plus, losing weight if you’re overweight can positively improve your cholesterol, so we set this plan at 1,500 calories, which is a level where most people will lose weight. We also included modifications for 1,200 or 2,000 calories a day, depending on your needs.
What Are The Negative Effects On The Body From High Ldl Cholesterol Levels
There are many illnesses and health concerns that stem from having high total cholesterol levels.
Some health conditions that can be triggered by high cholesterol include:
- Atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries and vascular dementia, which can lower brain function.
- Increased risk of heart disease and strokes from plaque buildup on artery walls.
- Angina chest pain that is a result of atherosclerosis restricting blood flow to the heart muscle.
- Peripheral Vascular Disease
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How Can I Lower Cholesterol With Diet
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes include a diet to lower your cholesterol. The DASH eating plan is one example. Another is the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet, which recommends that you
Choose healthier fats.You should limit both total fat and saturated fat. No more than 25 to 35% of your daily calories should come from dietary fats, and less than 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Depending upon how many calories you eat per day, here are the maximum amounts of fats that you should eat:
|Calories per Day
Saturated fat is a bad fat because it raises your LDL level more than anything else in your diet. It is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods.
Trans fat is another bad fat it can raise your LDL and lower you HDL . Trans fat is mostly in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine, crackers, and french fries.
Instead of these bad fats, try healthier fats, such as lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola, olive, and safflower oils.
Limit foods with cholesterol. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you should have less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. Cholesterol is in foods of animal origin, such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products.
Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. These foods include:
Eat Plenty Of Good Fat
Healthy fat, known as unsaturated fat, is liquid at room temperature. The two main types of unsaturated fat are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Theyre very similar, and both types can help lower LDL, increase HDL, decrease inflammation, stabilize heart rhythms, and more.
Monounsaturated fats have just one carbon-to-carbon double bond in their molecular structure. They help lower LDL cholesterol and improve the health of your cells. Monounsaturated fat is found in nuts, avocados, sesame seeds, and olive, canola, corn, and safflower oils.
Polyunsaturated fats have more than one double bond in their molecular structure. Theyre essential for blood clotting and building cell membranes, and since your body doesnt make polyunsaturated fats, you have to consume them in your food.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat found in fatty fish like salmon and sardines. Omega-3 fatty acids can lower triglyceride levels and increase HDL cholesterol, and theyre essential for brain function and cell growth. Non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, and seaweed.
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Ways To Eat Your Way To Lower Cholesterol
Many people can lower cholesterol levels simply by changing what they eat. For example, if you are a fan of cheeseburgers, eating less meat and more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can lower your total cholesterol by 25% or more. Cutting back on saturated fat and trans fat can reduce cholesterol by 5% to 10%.
Here are four steps for using your diet to lower cholesterol.
For more on lowering cholesterol, read Managing Your Cholesterol, a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School.
Wednesday: Pack A Bean Salad For Lunch
If you customarily choose a mayonnaise-heavy tuna salad or meat sandwich for lunch, substitute a bean salad skipping the mayo, and reap heart-health benefits. Beans, also known as legumes or pulses, are so nutritious that they can substitute for fish or meat and theyre a tasty and easy way to lower cholesterol fast. Beans are as filling as meat, too, thanks to their high fiber content. But while meat is digested quickly, beans take longer and may leave you feeling full longer. When it comes to cholesterol-lowering power, beans cant be beat. An analysis of 10 studies published in February 2011 in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseasesfound that people who ate beans lowered their total cholesterol number by 12 milligrams per deciliter , and their LDL cholesterol by 8 mg/dL.
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Foods To Eat In Moderation
- âRed meatâ: You’ll want to especially limit red meats with a lot of marbling because they’re high in saturated fat. Lean beef is a source of iron, so you don’t need to avoid it completely â just limit it to 3 ounces or less per week if you have high cholesterol, per the Cleveland Clinic.
- âFull-fat dairy:â Cheese, butter and whole milk are rich in saturated fat. Choose reduced-fat versions when you can.
- âAdded sugars:â While it might be recommended to avoid these completely, it’s not realistic. A diet high in added sugars is linked to a three-fold higher risk for heart disease, according to March-April 2016 research in âProgress in Cardiovascular Diseasesâ. The AHA recommends limiting your added sugars to no more than 25 to 36 grams per day. If it’s helpful to remember numbers, it’s roughly the same as the amount of fiber you should get in a day. Foods with added sugars include:
- Non-dairy coffee creamer
Both of these patterns are primarily plant-based and include lean proteins and heart-healthy fats. They are typically low in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar.
These plans can also help if you have high cholesterol âandâ high blood sugar, as they are both high in fiber .
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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What Causes High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is carried through your blood, attached to proteins. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called lipoprotein. There are two different types of cholesterol, based on what the lipoprotein carries :
- Low-density lipoprotein , aka the bad cholesterol. It carries cholesterol to the cells. It has a tendency to become oxidized, which can cause arteries to become clogged.
- High-density lipoproteins , aka the good cholesterol. It carries cholesterol back to the liver and processes and removes it from the body through excretion.
Another type of fat in the blood is called triglycerides, which also influence your risk of heart disease in combination with cholesterol .
The biggest factor in determining your overall cholesterol levels is heredity . Your genetic makeup might make it more difficult for your body to remove LDL cholesterol from your blood or break it down in the liver. This doesnt mean that youre doomed to develop unhealthy cholesterol levels, but you do need to be proactive in keeping them under control.
Because diet and lifestyle are important factors, controlling them can help promote heart health. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, its especially important to incorporate these changes into your daily life.
Simple Ways To Naturally Lower Cholesterol Levels
What is cholesterol and how do you lower cholesterol without taking drugs prescribed from your doctor?
Cholesterol, a waxy substance that the body uses to make hormones and other important substances. Its also found in some foods such as eggs, meat, poultry, and whole-milk dairy products.
The level of cholesterol in your blood is called blood cholesterol. If its too high over time, you may develop heart disease or stroke.
We have all heard that having a high cholesterol level can lead to many life-threatening conditions, but did you know that there is good and bad cholesterol?
The good cholesterol is called HDL Cholesterol, while the bad is called LDL Cholesterol.
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When Can I Eat Or Drink Again
As soon as your blood is taken, your fast is over. You might want to bring a snack and a drink with you so you can eat as soon as possible after the test.
American Academy for Clinical Chemistry: “Basic Metabolic Panel,” “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel,” “GGT,” “Glucose Tests,” “Iron Tests,” “Lipid Profile,” “Renal Function Panel,” “Vitamin B12 & Folate.”
British National Health Service: “Can I Eat and Drink Before Having a Blood Test?”
Crystal Moore, MD, PhD, FCAP, anatomical and clinical pathologist, Chesapeake, VA.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are Blood Tests?”
Nemours Foundation: “Blood Test: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel .”
Providence Laboratory Services : “Fasting Instructions.”
How Much Fiber Should You Take
Fiber that comes from whole foods is called dietary fiber. Fiber that’s sold in supplements, or added to fortified foods, is called functional fiber. The Institute of Medicine has set an adequate intake for total fiber, which includes all sources. Getting this amount of fiber should be enough to stay healthy. Doctors may recommend higher doses of fiber.
And some sources of insoluble fiber are:
- Cereal brans
- Whole-wheat breads, wheat cereals, and wheat bran
- Vegetables like carrots, cabbage, beets, and cauliflower
Some foods, like nuts, contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
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Healthy Eating Tips To Lower Cholesterol
As well as sticking to a varied and healthy diet, try these tips to help you manage your cholesterol:
- The Heart Foundation recommends that people follow a heart-healthy eating pattern, which is built on eating mostly plant-based foods. Eating more plant-based foods like vegetables, legumes, fruit, wholegrains, nuts and seeds is good for heart health.
- Include legumes , beans in at least two meals a week. Check food labels and choose the lowest sodium products.
- Beans make a great alternative to meat in tacos, or snack on hummus with vegetable sticks. You can also add legumes to soups, pasta sauces, curries and stews.
- Use tofu or lentils instead of meat in stir fries or curries.
Lower Cholesterol To Prevent Heart Attack And Stroke
If you need to lower your cholesterol, you can take steps each day that will help. First, if you’re taking a cholesterol-lowering drug, remember to stick to your daily medication schedule. If you can then pick up some heart-healthy habits, you may see your numbers start to improve in only a matter of weeks, says Chauncey Crandall, MD, a cardiologist at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Lowering your cholesterol not only reduces your risk for heart disease, but also helps prevent heart attack and stroke. So what are you waiting for? Heres a weeks worth of tips one a day that will have you seeing better numbers in no time.
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Will Stopping Smoking Lower My Cholesterol
If youre a smoker you might already know you should stop if you have high cholesterol. Smoking increases bad cholesterol and lowers good cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
- If youre struggling to stop smoking, talking to your GP is a great first step, or if youre in England you can call the NHS Stop Smoking Service on 0300 123 1044.
- There are also free services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
These services will be able to give you useful advice on how to deal with cravings and gradually stop smoking.
Vegetarian Diet For Lowering Cholesterol Levels
The vegetarian diet offers many health benefits, and one of them is lowering cholesterol levels. A vegetarian lifestyle not only helps you shed off excess pounds, but it also helps lower your LDL cholesterol as well. This way, the risk for heart problems like high blood pressure and heart disease can be decreased significantly .
A diet that consists of no animal products is quite low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, which are considered the main culprits in increasing bad cholesterol levels in the body. Furthermore, this kind of diet has been known to help reduce blood triglyceride levels effectively.
Non-meat protein sources such as soy products have been associated with an increase in vitamin B12 levels. These vitamins are essential for lowering the risk of stroke .
While on a vegetarian diet for lowering cholesterol levels, you should eat foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
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How To Lower Cholesterol In Seven Days According To A Nutritionist
Consider this your day-by-day guide to getting your cholesterol levels down and your health a kickstart in seven days.
Consider this your day-by-day guide to getting your cholesterol levels down and your health a kickstart in seven days.
Changing something as important as your cholesterol might seem an insurmountable task. Here, nutritionist Lisa Guy gives seven day-by-day tips to help you on your way.
Increase your fruit and vegie intake. They are rich in important nutrients, low in saturated fats and are cholesterol-free. They are also rich in fibre, which has a cholesterol-lowering effect. Aim to have at least five serves a day, and to eat a variety of different coloured fruits and vegies each day.
Reduce your intake of unhealthy fats. Saturated and trans fats raise blood cholesterol levels. Trans fats are the worst, so limit your intake of processed and fast foods. Choose low-fat dairy products, healthy oils such as olive oil, and flaxseed oil instead of butter. Trim fat from meat and skin from poultry.
Cook with olive oil, a source of healthy monounsaturated fats. It has a higher oxidation threshold than most monounsaturated oils and remains stable at higher temperatures, so is more resistant to hydrogenation and the formation of trans fats. Monounsaturated fats help to lower total cholesterol levels.