The Link Between Dietary And Blood Cholesterol
The liver produces as much cholesterol as the body needs. It packages cholesterol with fat in very low-density lipoproteins .
As VLDL delivers fat to cells throughout the body, it changes into the more dense LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, which carries cholesterol wherever it is needed.
The liver also releases high-density lipoprotein , which carries unused cholesterol back to the liver. This process is called reverse cholesterol transport, and protects against clogged arteries and other types of heart disease.
Some lipoproteins, especially LDL and VLDL, are prone to damage by free radicals in a process called oxidation. Oxidized LDL and VLDL are even more harmful to heart health .
Although food companies often advertise products as low in cholesterol, dietary cholesterol actually only has a small influence on the amount of cholesterol in the body.
This is because the liver changes the amount of cholesterol it makes depending on how much you eat. When your body absorbs more cholesterol from your diet, it makes less in the liver.
For example, a study randomly assigned 45 adults to eat more cholesterol in the form of two eggs daily. In the end, those eating more cholesterol did not have higher total cholesterol levels or changes in lipoproteins, compared to those eating less cholesterol .
While dietary cholesterol has little influence on cholesterol levels, other foods in your diet can worsen them, as can family history, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle.
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.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Cholesterol is a type of lipid, just like fats. This makes it no surprise that your fat intake can affect your cholesterol. Not all fats are viewed as equal. saturated fats and trans fats can increase your harmful cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats can keep cholesterol low and reduce risks for cardiovascular disease. Reducing your intake of unhealthy fats, such as saturated and trans fats, and increasing your intake of healthy unsaturated fats, can make a positive impact on reducing your cholesterol levels through changes in your diet.;
The majority of unsaturated fats are found in plant sources such as olive oil, avocados, canola oil, flaxseed, and peanuts. Another excellent source for unsaturated fat is fish. Tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel are considered polyunsaturated fats and all have very high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Because polyunsaturated fats are uniquely beneficial for heart health, cardiologists often recommend adding fish to your diet.
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How To Lower Cholesterol By Losing Weight
It can be confusing as there are so many weight-loss diets to choose from, but the key to success is to realise that changing your diet to lose weight needs to be a permanent way of life, not just following a fad diet for a few weeks. One option is the Mediterranean Diet.
Medical studies have shown that following the Mediterranean Diet will reduce LDL cholesterol by 10% and raise HDL cholesterol by 5%. Some studies also show reductions in triglycerides and total cholesterol.
The Mediterranean Diet is a well balanced, varied, nutritious, delicious diet, full of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, healthy unsaturated fats, nuts, and seeds. In studies of those who are obese, following the Mediterranean Diet has been shown to lower BMI and reduce visceral fat.
Substitute Healthy Oils In Place Of Butter And Margarine
Of course, its not always realistic to avoid fats when youre whipping up a tasty meal.
When you do need to add fat for cooking, baking or pan frying, use healthy oils instead of solid fats like butter, margarine, shortening and lard. Solid fats are high in saturated fats, but oils are high in unsaturated fats, which remember are better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using oils that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon .
Many times, its easy to swap a solid fat to a healthier one. Try using olive oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of a solid fat.
For example, if youd rather use olive oil than butter, substitute ¾ the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. You might also bring out some new, surprising, subtle flavors, too.
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Meal Ideas To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Adjusting to follow a cardiologists diet does come with flexibility in the types of meals you can make. With emphasis on eating the right amounts of specific food groups, without entirely cutting out other groups, you can easily find meals that work for you. For a cholesterol-free breakfast, consider a bowl of oatmeal topped with some fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of flaked almonds. Other great low cholesterol breakfast ideas can include whole-grain toast topped with avocado, smoked salmon on a whole-wheat bagel or apple bran muffins.
There are other options for fast and easy low-cholesterol lunches. Some people like to make quinoa salad, three-bean chili or whole-wheat pasta and limit themselves to one serving each day. You can also do quick, on-the-go options like a whole-wheat tuna wrap, a niçoise salad or nut butter sandwich. Snacks like carrot sticks, roasted cashews, mandarin oranges, or apples all provide a filling snack in between meals and contribute to lowering cholesterol.
For delicious, satisfying dinners, you can try a simple and versatile option using a fillet of fish, seasoned to your liking, and served alongside a hearty helping of roasted vegetables. You can also experiment with fun choices like lentil curry over brown rice or a hearty chicken minestrone soup.;
Good health starts with a trusted Primary Care provider.
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
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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.
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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Use Alcohol In Moderation
When used in moderation, the ethanol in alcoholic drinks increases HDL and reduces the risk of heart disease.
A study of 18 adult women found that drinking 24 grams of alcohol from white wine daily improved HDL by 5%, compared to drinking equal amounts of white grape juice .
Alcohol also improves reverse cholesterol transport, meaning cholesterol is removed from blood and vessel walls and taken back to the liver. This reduces the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease .
While moderate alcohol intake reduces heart disease risk, too much alcohol harms the liver and increases the risk of dependence. The recommended limit is two drinks daily for men and one for women .
12 drinks per day may improve HDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of clogged arteries. However, heavier alcohol use increases heart disease risk and harms the liver.
Putting Together A Low Cholesterol Diet
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two.
A largely vegetarian “dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods” substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols; oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber; soy protein; and whole almonds.
Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But it’s a “natural” way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.
Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. It’s good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health.
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How Is High Cholesterol Treated
If your child has an LDL cholesterol level of 130 mg/dL or higher, your doctor will talk to you about lifestyle changes or refer you to a dietitian. The goals are to:
- reduce fat and cholesterol in the diet
- increase exercise
- lose weight, if needed
Your doctor will probably do a cholesterol check again after 36 months of lifestyle changes.
Medicine might be considered for kids 10 and older whose LDL cholesterol is 190 mg/dL or higher if changes in diet and exercise haven’t worked. Kids with risk factors, such as diabetes or high blood pressure or a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, may need treatment at lower LDL levels.
Eat Fibre To Lower Cholesterol
Eating high-fibre food can also help to lower your cholesterol. Fibre helps reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into the blood stream from your intestine.
- Make sure you get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as these contain fibre along with other nutrients
- Eat plenty of other high fibre foods like pulses oats and seeds.
- Choose more wholegrain foods when you can, such as brown or granary bread over white.
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Eat Monounsaturated And Polyunsaturated Fats
I can see you’re thinking….”What???? Now you’re telling me to eat fat”, and we know it sounds confusing.
But not all fats are bad. In fact, we all need fats in our diet, just not in huge quantities.Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, but all fats contain calories, so they should be eaten in moderation, and preferably instead of saturated fats .
Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and include vegetable oils and foods such as avocados and most nuts. The Seven Countries Study conducted during the 1960s revealed that people who ate a Mediterranean-type diet, which uses a lot of olive oil , had a low rate of heart disease.
There are two main types of polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.Both types are involved in vital body processes such as blood clotting, inflammation, muscle function, cell membrane, and nerve formation. Fatty fish , flaxseeds, walnuts, canola oil, and unhydrogenated soybean oil are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Safflower, soybean, sunflower, walnut, and corn oils are high in omega-6. Polyunsaturated fatty acids have been associated with a reduction in the risk of heart disease and stroke, an increase in HDL and a reduction in triglycerides.
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
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How Do I Lower My Cholesterol Your 5 Top Questions Answered
High cholesterol could be caused by things we can control like lifestyle habits, or things we cant like age and family history. Keeping on top of the things you can control with simple changes can help to lower your risk of heart and circulatory disease. We answer your questions with simple tips to help you start making changes today.
Myth #3: High Cholesterol Is A Hereditary Disease:
This one is an absolute load of rubbish. No substantiated amount of proof has ever been presented on a link between high cholesterol and family history. Its purely a theory but doctors now believe it to be true and will try and tell you so.
Do not fall for it!
Havent you noticed that virtually every disease in the world is now being blamed on genetics? The problem with this is you can always find someone in your family who has what you have if you look hard enough or go back far enough. Parents, uncles, aunties, cousins, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, great uncles, great aunties the list goes on.
It proves absolutely nothing!
And when the medical profession cant find anyone in your family with the same disease as you they have no option but to label you a special case.
Its totally ridiculous.
High cholesterol is purely a diet and lifestyle disease, caused by one or a combination of eating the wrong foods, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, lack of exercise, and most importantly, not getting enough of the essential nutrients!;1
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How Do Phytosterols Work
Phytosterols inhibit cholesterol absorption from the gut and thus reduce the levels of bad cholesterol . A study examined the efficiency of phytosterols have shown that as a dietary supplement, they can lower the LDL up to 15%.
In addition, taking phytosterols with statins caused a further reduction of 10% in LDL levels compared with statins treatment alone.
Try Having One Vegetarian Meal Every Week
Dont let the word vegetarian scare you. By choosing a smartly prepared vegetarian meal, youre hitting multiple cholesterol-lowering goals at the same time, like eating healthier fats and getting more soluble fiber. Plus, many vegetarian meals are just as flavorful and filling as their meaty cousins.
Heres one idea for a low-cholesterol recipe: Try a freshly prepared salad with a sesame vinaigrette and some grilled, spiced tofu. For dessert, add some fresh blueberries, strawberries and oats to low-fat vanilla yogurt.
The key here is to build up a routine, like making every Tuesday night vegetarian night. Once that becomes the norm, try expanding to different nights, or add a weekly vegetarian lunch, too. You can also be flexitarian by just eating smaller portions of meat. Over time, these modifications can really add up and pay off.
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