How Is It Broken Down
Once in the blood stream, some cholesterol will be carried back to the liver and broken down. The liver uses cholesterol to make bile acids which are released into the intestines to help with digestion. They break down the fats in food.
A small amount of bile acids will leave the body as a waste product in your poo. But most will be absorbed back into the blood, returned to the liver and used again for digestion.
Some treatments for high cholesterol work by stopping bile from being absorbed back into the blood. The liver has to take more cholesterol out of the blood to make more bile, lowering your cholesterol levels.
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.
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol By Making Lifestyle Changes
You can lower your cholesterol levels by making lifestyle changes, and through taking medicines if that’s what your doctor advises. Some people will only need to improve their lifestyle and diet to get their cholesterol to a safe level. Others may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines, as well.
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Whole Grains Especially Oats And Barley
Extensive research ties whole grains to lower heart disease risk.
In fact, a review of 45 studies linked eating three servings of whole grains daily to a 20% lower risk of heart disease and stroke. Benefits were even greater when people ate more servings up to seven of whole grains per day .
Whole grains keep all parts of the grain intact, which provides them with more vitamins, minerals, plant compounds and fiber than refined grains.
While all whole grains may promote heart health, two grains are particularly noteworthy:
- Oats: Contain beta-glucan, a
Fruit is an excellent addition to a heart-healthy diet for several reasons.
Many types of fruit are rich in soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels .
It does this by encouraging your body to get rid of cholesterol and stopping your liver from producing this compound.
One kind of soluble fiber called pectin lowers cholesterol by up to 10%. Its found in fruits including apples, grapes, citrus fruits and strawberries .
Fruit also contains bioactive compounds that help prevent heart disease and other chronic diseases due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Eating berries and grapes, which are particularly rich sources of these plant compounds, can help increase good HDL and lower bad LDL cholesterol .
SummaryFruit can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. This is largely caused by its fiber and antioxidants.
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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Cholesterol Myths And Facts
Cholesterol can be confusing! Learn answers to common questions about blood cholesterol.
What do your cholesterol numbers mean? Can the foods you eat change your cholesterol levels?
Learn the difference between cholesterol myth and fact. Then commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
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How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Tested
Adults should have their blood lipids measured every 5 years, starting at 45 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should start lipid blood tests at 35, because on average heart and blood vessel disease such as heart attacks and stroke happen 10 to 20 years earlier in Indigenous people.
All Australians in these age groups are eligible for a regular 20-minute heart health check with their doctor. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can then assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
What Is The Link With Triglycerides
Lipoproteins also carry triglycerides, the most common type of fat in the body.
Triglycerides store energy from food, but high triglyceride levels can be harmful, especially if a person has high LDL and low HDL levels.
If this happens, fatty substances can build up in the artery walls, increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
An appropriate balance of lipoproteins and cholesterol is essential for health.
Some types of LDL are also more dangerous than others. Small, dense LDL particles are to cause atherosclerosis than larger LDL particles.
This is because small, dense LDL particles circulate for longer and find it easier to enter and adhere to arteries. They are also more susceptible to oxidation, which happens when LDL interacts with unstable molecules called free radicals. High levels of free radicals can lead to damage and inflammation in the body.
HDL, meanwhile, helps remove excess cholesterol from the blood and protect against atherosclerosis.
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What Are The Different Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol can be attached to two different types of lipoproteins: high-density lipoprotein or low-density lipoprotein . The two differ in how much of the molecule is made up of cholesterol and how much is made up of protein.
HDL cholesterol is considered to be beneficial, or good cholesterol. This is because it removes harmful LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream. To do this, HDL brings excess LDL cholesterol to the liver , delivering it away from your heart and other organs. Because of this powerful ability, higher levels of HDL are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
LDL cholesterol, however, carries cholesterol to cells and can accumulate on the walls of your blood vessels, narrowing the passageways your blood uses to travel throughout the body. This can become dangerous: narrow vessels make it hard or impossible for blood, oxygen, and nutrients to travel to the heart and brain and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. LDL is thus considered bad cholesterol, and higher levels of LDL can increase your risk of these severe health issues. Eating too much saturated fat can reduce how much LDL cholesterol your liver cells can remove from your blood.
Whats Cholesterol And Why Is It Important
What is cholesterol, and when is it good or bad? What are the cholesterol recommendations for people with diabetes, and how can you keep up healthy cholesterol levels?
You may have had your cholesterol levels measured by a healthcare professional at some point in your life. Or at any moment while watching TV, an ad for a cereal that can lower your cholesterol pops up on your screen. But what is cholesterol? Is all cholesterol bad for you, and how do you keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range? We want to answer your questions about cholesterol: what it is, the difference between good and bad cholesterol, and how to maintain healthy cholesterol levels if you have diabetes.
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Tips For Managing Your Cholesterol
Switch out processed and refined grains for whole grains. Dietary fiber is critical for promoting healthy cholesterol in the body, but refined grains are stripped of fiber when processed. Consuming whole grains has been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesity.
Foods like pasta and bread are available in whole wheat or whole grain versions which have high levels of dietary fiber. These kinds of swaps are tasty and helpful for lowering cholesterol levels.
Chips, crackers, and sugary cereal should be limited though you can try whole grain options made with oats, seeds, quinoa, flax, or lentils.
When reading a foods nutrition label, look for a list of simple whole grain ingredients other than white flour.
The American Heart Association suggests that adults aim for about 25 grams of fiber per day, though your healthcare professional may suggest more or less.
Make sure youre eating vegetables and fruits with every meal. Vegetables and fruits contain vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, in addition to more fiber.
Avoid saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats differ from healthier unsaturated fats because they are usually solid at room temperature .
Use healthy oils. Healthy oils are low in saturated fat and instead contain unsaturated fat.
This article is an update to our 2009 article on cholesterol.
How Fat Moves From Food To The Bloodstream
Fat and cholesterol cant dissolve in water or blood. Instead, the body packages fat and cholesterol into tiny, protein-covered particles called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins can transport a lot of fat they mix easily with blood and flow with it. Some of these particles are big and fluffy, while others are small and dense. The most important ones are low-density lipoproteins , high-density lipoproteins , and triglycerides.
- Low Density lipoproteins
Low-density lipoproteins carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Cells latch onto these particles and extract fat and cholesterol from them. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these particles can form deposits in the walls of the coronary arteries and other arteries throughout the body. Such deposits, called plaque, can narrow arteries and limit blood flow. When plaque breaks apart, it can cause a heart attack or stroke. Because of this, LDL cholesterol is often referred to as bad, or harmful, cholesterol.
- High-density lipoproteins
High-density lipoproteins scavenge cholesterol from the bloodstream, from LDL, and from artery walls and ferry it back to the liver for disposal. Think of HDL as the garbage trucks of the bloodstream. HDL cholesterol is often referred to as good, or protective, cholesterol.
In general, the lower your LDL and the higher your HDL, the better your chances of preventing heart disease and other chronic conditions.
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Good And Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol travels through your blood on proteins called lipoproteins and there are two types. Low-density lipoprotein, LDL, is the bad cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein, HDL, good cholesterol.
LDL carries cholesterol to cells, but if there is too much in your system, it builds up and forms plaque. The term for this artery narrowing is atherosclerosis. When normal blood flow is blocked, heart attacks and stroke become more likely. HDL, on the other hand, carries cholesterol away from the cells. It takes it back to the liver where its broken down and moves out of the body as waste.
Cholesterol is measured in millimoles per litre, and the lower your LDL number, the better it is for your health. The government recommends levels of 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults. For HDL an ideal level is above 1mmol/L.
The total cholesterol number your doctor will give you is a collective measure of LDL, HDL, and other lipids. Official guidelines say that levels should be 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults. But rates in the UK are among the highest in the world, with three out of five adults at 5mmol/L or above.
How Fat And Cholesterol In Food Affect Blood Cholesterol Levels
The types of fat in the diet help determine the amount of total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. The types and amount of carbohydrate in the diet also play a role. Cholesterol in food matters, too, but not nearly as much.
- The discovery half a century ago that high blood cholesterol levels were strongly associated with an increased risk for heart disease triggered numerous warnings to avoid foods that contain cholesterol, especially eggs and liver. However, scientific studies show a weak relationship between the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and his or her blood cholesterol levels
- In studies of more than 80,000 female nurses, Harvard researchers found that consuming about an egg a day was not associated with higher risk of heart disease. However, people who have heart disease or diabetes should monitor egg consumption.
For most people, the amount of cholesterol eaten has only a modest impact on the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. For some people, though, blood cholesterol levels rise and fall very strongly in relation to the amount of cholesterol eaten. For these responders, avoiding cholesterol-rich foods can have a substantial effect on blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, at this point there is no way other than by trial and error to identify responders from non-responders to dietary cholesterol.
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How Food Impacts Cholesterol
The main culprits that cause high cholesterol are saturated fats and partially hydrogenated oil known as trans fat. These are commonly found in highly processed foods like:
- Commercial baked goods like doughnuts.
- Commercial snack foods like potato chips.
- Deep-fried foods.
- Fast food.
Keep in mind that trans fat can sneak into peanut butter, coffee creamers, frozen pizza and microwave popcorn. So read those labels. Even items that claim zero grams of trans fat may include partially hydrogenated oils. The fat in these items increases your bad cholesterol, lowers your good cholesterol and causes inflammation, the underlying cause of heart disease, explains Zumpano. Inflammation can contribute to plaque buildup in your arteries and cause blood clots to form around them, blocking blood flow.
Additionally, eating too many unhealthy foods can produce excess triglycerides, another form of fat found in your blood. High triglyceride levels result from having too many calories most often from too much fat or sugar in the diet. Triglycerides also stick to the walls of your arteries, worsening plaque buildup.
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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