Cholesterol And Healthy Eating
What we eat has an impact on our cholesterol levels and can help reduce our risk of disease. The Heart Foundation recommends following a heart-healthy eating pattern, which means eating a wide variety of fresh and unprocessed foods and limiting highly processed foods including take away, baked goods, chocolate, chips, lollies and sugary drinks. Not only does this help to maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
A heart-healthy eating pattern includes:
- plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains
- a variety of healthy protein-rich foods , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart-healthy eating pattern. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to one to three times a week
- unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. People with high cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties
- healthy fats and oils. Choose nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking
- herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
This way of eating is also naturally high in fibre, which is good news, because a high intake of dietary fibre can also reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
Also, be mindful of how much you are eating. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can increase our cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
Serving size can vary depending on age, gender and specific nutrition needs.
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Avoid Refined Sugars And Grains
Whole grains are another good source of fiber. Instead of refined flour and white rice, try whole-wheat flour and brown or wild rice. Old-fashioned oatmeal is also a good choice, but not the quick-cooking versions, which have had much of the fiber processed out.
And don’t substitute sugar for fat. “It’s one of the worst choices you can make,” McManus warns. Food manufacturers may boost the sugar content of low-fat salad dressings and sauces to add flavor. If you see sugar, corn syrup, or any word ending in “ose” near the top of the list of ingredients, choose a higher-fat version without trans fats instead.
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Choose Steamed Instead Of Fried When Eating Chinese Cuisine
Chinese restaurants have lots of fried food options. But there are many ways around these high-fat foods. For starters, consider spring rolls that are steamed rather than deep-fried, Kris-Etherton suggests, adding that spring rolls with rice wraps are an even better choice. Steamed rice is best too, says Kris-Etherton. If you must have stir-fried rice, which is higher in fat, she recommends asking your server to prepare it with as little oil as possible.
For your main course, seafood can be a good choice, especially if you order it steamed, notes Kris-Etherton. Boiled or broiled seafood entrées are also good choices for minimizing added saturated fats, according to the AHA. Just remember to eat shrimp in moderation and choose entrées with lots of vegetables many menus have a vegetable entrée section, which makes it easy.
Ask for skinless chicken as a protein and try to resist the crispy noodles often found on the tables at Chinese restaurants, to save on both fat and calories.
What Is Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic condition.
It presents itself by rising LDL cholesterol levels in the blood and normal triglyceride levels. It is a hereditary defect in the bodys ability to recycle LDL cholesterol.
Familial hypercholesterolemia raises the chance of cardiovascular disease. Subsequently, the symptoms appear earlier in life.
LDL levels will rise if a person cannot clear LDL and/or has a reduced ability to do so.
Familial hypercholesterolemia is inheritable from either one or both parents . People with this condition can have elevated LDL levels despite following a healthy lifestyle and nutrition plan.
In people with FH, cholesterol deposits exist in the Achilles tendons and tendons of the hands and elbows. Cholesterol deposits can also form in other body areas, such as a white ring around the eyes. This is called corneal arcus.
Only diet and exercise arent enough to treat familial hypercholesterolemia.
Physicians usually prescribe a statin pill. But, in some cases, other cholesterol-lowering medications, such as ezetimibe, are also essential.
LDL apheresis is a treatment used to treat people who have high LDL cholesterol. PCSK9 inhibitors, which are injectable drugs, can also help to decrease cholesterol levels. These drugs target and prevent a protein that frees up more receptors on liver cells. It allows LDL cholesterol to eradicate from the blood.
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How To Lower Cholesterol With Diet: Other Factors To Consider
Exercise is a vital part of any cholesterol-lowering regime. Exercise increases blood flow to your muscles and organs and helps you maintain a healthy weight .
Controlling stress is an important part of maintaining good heart health too. Stress can raise levels of LDL cholesterol, so its important to have a good work-life balance. You can meditate or take up yoga.
If your cholesterol levels are high but falling within the normal range, you may be able to stop taking statins if your doctor agrees. Statin medication can cause side effects such as muscle pain or liver dysfunction, so its important to follow a healthy diet plan and try not to exceed the recommended daily intake of saturated/trans fats and cholesterol.
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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Eat More Medium Chain Triglycerides
Yes, you read that correctly. To improve health and triglyceride levels, you should consume more triglycerides. But make sure they are the medium-chain kind of triglyceride.
MCTs are different from the long chain triglycerides that we commonly find in dairy and meat because they skip the normal process of fat digestion and go straight to the liver. In the liver, the MCTs are often converted into ketones for fuel.
For this reason, many studies have found MCTs to increase weight loss when compared to other healthy fats like olive oil. Believe it or not, MCTs also have been found to decrease triglycerides more than olive oil as well.
Coconut oil is the best natural source of MCTs . However, if you need an unmistakable energy boost that eliminates your cravings right away, then supplement with pure MCT oil. Blend it into your morning coffee or keto pumpkin spice latte or use it as the oil for your salad dressings.
How To Know If Your Triglyceride Levels Are Optimal
All you have to do is set up an appointment with your doctor to get a standard blood test done. Ask your doctor to print the results for you, and track your progress at after appointment.
According to the American Heart Association, these are the triglyceride level ranges:
|Very high||500 mg/dL or higher|
Aim for optimal triglyceride levels, but dont forget about cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well.
To see if you have healthier cholesterol levels, check your total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio. A ratio between 3 and 4 indicates that you have healthy cholesterol levels and are at a substantially reduced risk of heart disease. When it comes to blood sugar, your fasting blood sugar levels should be below 100 mg/dl.
It is also important to take note of your posture before you get your blood drawn. For example, different positions, like sitting, standing, and laying down, can cause triglycerides to vary significantly. Because of this, the American Heart Association recommends that you sit for at least 5 minutes in the same position each time you get your blood drawn to minimize variability in triglyceride measurements.
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Follow A Lower Carb Diet
Much like added sugar, extra calories from carbs in your diet are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells.
Not surprisingly, low carb diets have been linked to lower blood triglyceride levels .
A review of 12 randomized controlled trials found that people following reduced carb diets typically saw a reduction in triglyceride levels at 6, 12, and 24 months. Across these studies, triglyceride levels decreased the most 6 months after starting a reduced calorie diet .
A 2020 review compared low fat and low carb diets. Researchers found that 612 months after starting their relative diets, those on the low carb diet had greater decreases in triglyceride levels than those on a low fat diet .
Following a low carb diet can lead to a significant reduction in blood triglyceride levels, at least in the short term, when compared with a low fat diet.
How Quickly Can I Lower My Cholesterol
Your cholesterol levels may lower as quickly as a few weeks to a few months, depending on your treatment plan.
If your levels are very high, your healthcare provider may recommend taking medications at the start of your treatment plan. This may help lower your cholesterol levels more quickly. The sooner you can lower your bad cholesterol levels, the sooner you can lower your risk for plaques to form.
You can also lower your cholesterol through lifestyle and diet changes alone, but it may take three to six months to see results. Talk with your healthcare provider to figure out the best treatment plan for you.
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Dark Chocolate And Cocoa
Cocoa is the main ingredient in dark chocolate.
It may seem too good to be true, but research verifies the claims that dark chocolate and cocoa can lower bad LDL cholesterol .
In one study, healthy adults drank a cocoa beverage twice a day for a month.
They experienced a reduction in bad LDL cholesterol of 0.17 mmol/l . Their blood pressure also decreased and their good HDL cholesterol increased .
Cocoa and dark chocolate also seem to protect the bad LDL cholesterol in your blood from oxidation, which is a key cause of heart disease .
However, chocolate is often high in added sugar which negatively affects heart health.
Therefore, you should use cocoa alone or choose dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 7585% or higher.
The effect seems strongest in people with high cholesterol.
SummaryThere is some evidence that soy foods can reduce heart disease risk factors, especially in people with high cholesterol.
Add More Fiber To Your Diet
Fiber is the part of your food that isnt digested, and its important because it helps you feel full. According to a study published in February 2019 in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition, dietary fiber can reduce the risk of high triglycerides in young to middle-aged adults who are overweight or obese. In general, fiber-rich foods also have carbohydrate content that is more complex and can lead to more gradual absorption by the body, which can also help temper the triglyceride increase that occurs after meals, says Michael Wesley Milks, MD, a cardiologist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. Fiber is found in whole grains and nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
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Consistently, research has found that a meal plan full of soluble-fiber-rich foods was incredibly successful in lowering cholesterol as effective, in fact, as statins.
Sure, drugs like statins can reduce cholesterol. But following a heart-healthy diet like the Pritikin Eating Plan, or adding Pritikin to statin meds, may lower your cholesterol even more. Down shoots LDL cholesterol as well as all forms of bad cholesterol, known as non-HDL.
High Triglycerides What To Eat
What to eat to lower triglycerides? There are several recommended foods, keeping in mind not to overdo the quantities taken.
Cereals and whole grains and rice
Even in the form of pasta or bread, these products help the body to maintain a sense of satiety for longer, to perform digestive functions optimally and to contain blood sugar levels. Excellent contribution of fibre, useful for lowering high triglycerides.
Fruits and vegetables
Lots of vegetables as a source of dietary fiber, which will help reduce excess triglycerides. Yes also to fresh fruit, although it is recommended to avoid consuming bananas, figs, persimmons, grapes and mandarins.
Green light also to fish, especially when it comes to sardines, herring, salmon and mackerel. The fish mentioned have meats rich in omega-3 fatty acids, believed to be effective in reducing triglycerides.
How to forget i legumes, excellent source of vegetable proteins and among the main alternatives to red meat and aged cheeses.
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Healthy Foods That Can Help Lower Your Triglycerides
To get you started, here are 7 nutrient-dense foods that promote not just healthy triglyceride levels, but healthy blood pressure and sugar levelsand healthy weight too!
Beans are a fantastic complex carbohydrate providing loads of fiber and protein, as well as vitamins and minerals. Their low-sugar, high-fiber helps support healthy blood sugar levels. They add great texture and flavor to food and theres a huge variety of them to keep your tastebuds happy.
Salmon is a fantastic source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is easy to find, and fish-eaters love it. Ensuring your diet has plenty of salmons omega-3s can help your body make less triglycerides in the liver.
One review of clinical trials found eating fish that provided more than 1 gram of omega-3s a day was associated with improved triglyceride levels. Other options that are rich in omega-3s include sardines and other fatty fish, as well as lean, grass-fed beef.
Broccoli and Crucifers
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, arugula, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts are all foods that lower triglycerides. Theyre loaded with fiber, other nutrients, and a sulfur-rich compound called sulfuraphane.
One animal study indicated that sulfuraphane may help reduce triglyceride levels. Another study involving individuals with blood sugar health issues showed a reduction of triglycerides after taking broccoli sprout powder supplements.
Cholesterol And Triglyceride Lowering Diet Can Prevent Sudden Death
According to doctors from the health information channel According to the E-Med, individuals following a cholesterol and triglyceride lowering diet are less likely to suffer sudden death.
Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood is possible through dietary changes alone, but advice from a medical professional is always recommended. This is because people who have a high level of cholesterol or triglycerides in their blood or who suffer from hereditary conditions caused by high cholesterol, may need to take medications for a period of time to help bring their levels within a manageable range.
What Are Triglycerides And Why Are They Important
Triglycerides are a type of blood lipid and theyre made up of free fatty acids. Theyre stored in your body fat, but youll also find them in your blood, says nutritionist Jessica Ash, CNC, HHC, FDN-P and founder of Jessica Ash Wellness. And because your liver makes them, theyre also found in your liver and then your tissues. Our body gets triglycerides either from the food that you eat or from the body it manufactures triglycerides in the liver.
Its important to know that triglycerides, like cholesterol, are normally protective . But triglycerides are used for energy, whereas cholesterol is used for steroid hormone production, Ash explains. And our muscles are specifically what like to uptake fatty acids or triglycerides. So theyre fatty acids that the body usually uses for energy.
Your body needs energy from food to function. But excess energy, especially from sources like simple carbohydrates, can be stored as triglycerides, which can create issues if your triglyceride levels are elevated above the normal range. According to the Mayo Clinic, if your triglycerides are over 150 mg/dL, then youre at a greater risk for developing heart disease.
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Nuts Especially Almonds And Walnuts
Nuts are another exceptionally nutrient-dense food.
Theyre very high in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are also rich in the plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat associated with heart health .
Almonds and other nuts are particularly rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that helps your body make nitric oxide. This, in turn, helps regulate blood pressure .
Whats more, nuts provide phytosterols. These plant compounds are structurally similar to cholesterol and help lower cholesterol by blocking its absorption in your intestines.
Calcium, magnesium and potassium, also found in nuts, may reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease.
In an analysis of 25 studies, eating 23 servings of nuts per day decreased bad LDL cholesterol by an average of 10.2 mg/dl .
Eating a daily serving of nuts is linked to a 28% lower risk of both fatal and nonfatal heart disease .
Fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s bolster heart health by increasing good HDL cholesterol and lowering inflammation and stroke risk.
In one large, 25-year study in adults, those who ate the most non-fried fish were the least likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that includes high blood pressure and low good HDL levels .
In another large study in older adults, those who ate tuna or other baked or broiled fish at least once a week had a 27% lower risk of stroke .
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