Foods Fortified With Plant Sterols And Stanols
Plant sterols and stanols are compounds naturally found in small amounts in many plant-based foods, including grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. They help reduce cholesterol by blocking the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
Many food manufacturers are adding plant sterols and stanols to their products, ranging from margarine and cheese to orange juice and bread. You can also find plant sterols and stanols in supplement form. When taken at two grams a day, plant sterols or stanols can lower LDL cholesterol levels by 8% to 10%.
Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
- oily fish
Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats. Aim to eat two portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be oily. A portion is 140g, but you could have two or three smaller portions throughout the week. Tinned, frozen or fresh all count e.g. salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout, herring and mackerel.
Avoid coconut and palm oil as, unlike other vegetable oils, they are high in saturated fat.
Eat To Lower Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol isnt all bad news. Follow these tips to lower your cholesterol, the natural way.
Chances are, youve heard a thing or two about cholesterol. Having high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for developing heart disease.
But did you know that you can reduce your cholesterol level by making smart food choices? Its true!
Before we get to the details, lets be clear on what were talking about. For years, cholesterol has had a bad rep that it doesnt really deserve. The truth is, we need cholesterol to function. Your body makes most of the cholesterol it needs. The rest comes from foods you eat.
Heres the important thing: Dietary cholesterol found in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products has less impact on increasing your blood cholesterol level. Foods that contain lots of saturated fat are the true culprits.
Now heres how to make nutritious choices to lower your blood cholesterol.
Keep eating simple
In the last 20 years, the rules on healthy eating have shifted. Super restrictive diets arent sustainable or the healthiest choice. Rather than zeroing in on a single nutrient, nutrition research shows the quality of your diet matters more. A diet filled with the right portions of whole, unprocessed foods can help decrease heart disease and stroke. What does that look like? For a healthy, balanced eating plan:
Cook at home
Choose more fibre
Each of these options will provide you with two grams:
- ½ ripe avocado
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Eat Fewer Refined Grains Such As White Flour
Were a nation of white food eaters white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white-flour foods like muffins, croissants, bagels, crackers, dried cereals, tortillas, pretzels, and chips. Yes, more than half of many Americans typical diets are made up of hyperprocessed refined white flour, often injected with sugar, salt, and/or fat.
Thats a real problem in part because the more white, or refined, grains we eat, the fewer whole grains we tend to take in. Research has found that eating whole grains can help lower both total and LDL cholesterol, and improve heart health.
In Harvard Universitys Nurses Health Study, for example, women who ate two to three servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than one serving of whole grains per week.2
When first starting to make the switch from refined to whole grains, many people often feel a bit confused. Where to begin? Whats whole? What isnt?
The registered dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center start with one very simple rule. When looking at products like breads and cereals, they recommend turning the package around and making sure the first word in the Ingredient List is whole. If you see the word whole at the top of the list, its a good bet that what youre buying is in fact 100% whole grain, or close to it.
Foods That Help Lower Your Cholesterol
From chocolate and red wine to beans and legumes, food and drink can help you get your cholesterol levels down.
My patients often ask me if there are any foods that can help with reducing high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is the so-called âbadâ cholesterol that can cause plaque to form in your coronary artery walls, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. My answer is a qualified âyes,â since high LDL can be the result of many factors, including poor genes, obesity, and lack of exercise. For this reason, not everyone will react to dietary changes the same way, and optimal LDL levels are different for every individual.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body uses to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest food. At normal levels, its essential for health, but if the concentration in the blood becomes too high, LDL, the so-called âbadâ cholesterol can build up in your arteries forming plaques that put you at risk for cardiovascular disease, including chest pain , heart attack, and stroke.
Frequently, too much LDL is the result of a diet rich in saturated fats and trans fats . Eliminating these foods from your diet is a good first step in improving your LDL. Then try adding some or all of the following LDL-lowering foods every day. If youâre already on a statin, dietary changes may help you reduce your dosage, but never reduce or stop taking a statin drug without first consulting your doctor.
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Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Just By Changing Your Diet
Statins are used to lower cholesterol but how much can be achieved with changes to diet alone, asks Michael Mosley.
Over the many years that Ive been making science documentaries Ive covered a huge range of subjects, but there is one that is of particular personal interest. My family tree is riddled with heart disease and I know that, unchecked, my cholesterol scores tend to soar.
I am not alone 60% of people in Britain have cholesterol levels that are too high and increasingly we are recommended to go on statins. Yet statins have side effects and many people are reluctant to go on a lifetime of pills.
So, for the current series of Trust Me, Im a Doctor, we wanted to see if you could lower your cholesterol just as effectively by changing your diet.
We asked Dr Scott Harding from Kings College London to help us set up and run a small study. With his help we recruited 42 volunteers, all of whom had concerns about their cholesterol and were keen to see what they could do without taking medication.
We started by taking blood samples to look at their current levels of total cholesterol.
Cholesterol is complicated stuff. Most of it is made in the liver and then sent to the cells that need it, bound to a lipoprotein called LDL .
LDL is often called bad cholesterol because high levels are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. HDL is known as good cholesterol because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver.
What Happens When Ldl Cholesterol Is Too High
When these LDL cholesterol particles get into our arteries, they trigger an immune system response. The body sends in inflammatory cells to try and clear the leftover cholesterol, but that very process creates more damage, which can attract more LDL cholesterol particles.
“It becomes a little bit of a vicious cycle,” Dr. Lloyd-Jones says.
He explains that over time, this damage can make it more likely someone will form plaque in their artery walls. That narrows the arteries, limiting blood flow and significantly raising the risk of heart disease.
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Veggies With Hummus Are Vitamin
Veggies are Mother Natures finest, and Americans are not getting enough of them, says Joan Salge Blake, RD, clinical associate professor at Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Not only are they great for you if you have high cholesterol because theyre full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals which contribute to good health theyre also low in fat, sodium, cholesterol, and calories, which all contribute to heart disease. You dont necessarily have to switch to a vegetarian diet to lower your cholesterol, but be sure to eat vegetables in a wide range of colors for the most health benefits. Try pairing them with hummus, which you can buy prepared or make at home from chickpeas or white beans. Hummus offers a healthy dose of fiber, protein, and antioxidants, among other benefits.
Starches Grains And Legumes
Make half of your grains whole grains. The amount you need each day depends on your age, gender and calorie needs.
- Choose low-fat baked goods , brown rice, whole-grain pasta, corn, baked potatoes, dried peas and beans, whole-grain breads and cereals.
- Limit pies, cakes, pastries, muffins, doughnuts, croissants, quick breads, cookies, crackers, granola, chips, fried foods.
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Natural Ways To Lower Your Cholesterol Levels
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Cholesterol is made in your liver and has many important functions. For example, it helps keep the walls of your cells flexible and is needed to make several hormones.
However, like anything in the body, too much cholesterol or cholesterol in the wrong places creates problems.
Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, its transport in the body depends on molecules called lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol, fat and fat-soluble vitamins in the blood.
Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health. For example, high levels of low-density lipoprotein result in cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, which can lead to clogged arteries, strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure .
In contrast, high-density lipoprotein helps carry cholesterol away from vessel walls and helps prevent these diseases .
This article will review 10 natural ways to increase the good HDL cholesterol and lower the bad LDL cholesterol.
Treatment For High Cholesterol
Making lifestyle changes, especially changing some of the foods you eat, and regular physical activity, are very important to help reduce high LDL cholesterol.
You may also need to take cholesterol-lowering medicines to help manage your cholesterol and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your doctor about finding the most appropriate treatment for you.
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Ask About Cholesterol Medication
Cholesterol medications such as statins may be the fastest way to lower cholesterol for some people usually within 6 to 8 weeks. This allows a person to quickly reduce their heart disease risk while cultivating a healthy lifestyle. During this period, a person can focus on lowering cholesterol over time with lifestyle and dietary changes.
Because high cholesterol is a risk factor for serious heart health issues, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend statins for many groups of people with high LDL cholesterol.
If LDL cholesterol does not drop enough with diet and lifestyle changes and statins, a person might need additional medications.
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.
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Eat More Plant Sources Of Protein
Excellent plant proteins include beans all beans, like lentils, red beans, pinto beans, and soybeans. Rather than raising blood cholesterol levels, as animal sources of protein do, beans actually help lower cholesterol.
Beans also help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, and may even lower cancer risk.
Exercise To Reduce High Ldl Cholesterol
Starting a simple exercise routine is another way to help reduce elevated LDL cholesterol level. And if you compound working out with the dietary tips listed above, you could potentially reduce your LDL level by over 37 percent and increase your HDL cholesterol by over 5 percent in just two months.
Not to mention the added benefits of losing weight, decreased stress, and higher energy, exercising is an all-around great activity to incorporate into your life.
Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity, four to five times each week, and youll be well on your way.
Yoga is one of the best exercise for reducing the risk of heart disease. If you are a beginner to yoga see the article 5 best yoga poses for beginners to increase flexibility.
If you are obese then aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling, using an elliptical trainer, walking, rowing are best for you.
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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.
Shrimp: Another Ambiguous High Cholesterol Food
Like eggs, shrimp is one of those controversial high cholesterol foods many doctors advise patients to stay away from it, but there have been studies now which indicate its not actually bad for you despite the high cholesterol content.
Shrimp is often thought of as being relatively healthy compared to many meat options because of its low fat content.
But despite being relatively low in fat, shrimp is certainly high in cholesterol. Studies have indicated that shrimp is not a hazard for high cholesterol patients because while it raises bad cholesterol, it simultaneously raises good cholesterol so the effects cancel each other out.
That said, having a high level of cholesterol overall is not recommended. If youre a shrimp fan youre best to discuss with your doctor whether its okay for you to continue eating shrimp otherwise youre best to just avoid it.
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Food Supplements That Do Not Help With Cholesterol
Many extracts and supplements have been promoted for their overall health benefits and lipid-lowering effects, but do they work?
We reviewed the available scientific research and found that the following supplements had no good evidence to support those claims:
Selenium: Supplements may help lower cholesterol in people with low levels of selenium, but not in people with normal levels of selenium. There is not enough scientific evidence to say that selenium protects against cardiovascular disease.
Calcium: Results here are mixed, but the bottom line is calcium supplementation does not improve cholesterol levels.
Garlic supplements: Raw, powdered, and aged garlic supplements had no effect on cholesterol levels.
Policosanol: This substance, which is extracted from sugar cane wax, did not improve cholesterol.
Coconut oil supplements: There is mixed evidence about the cardiovascular benefits or harm of coconut oil. It is not an evidence-based alternative treatment for high cholesterol levels.
Coconut water: There is no high-quality data about coconut water improving cholesterol levels.
Resveratrol supplements: There is no evidence that these improve cholesterol levels in humans.
Soy isoflavones supplements: Taking supplements of soy isoflavones does not improve cholesterol levels.