What Causes High Cholesterol
First and foremost, it helps to clear up common misconceptions about in the first place. For several decades, a wide-held belief has been that dietary cholesterol is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease . This led government-mandated dietary recommendations to limit cholesterol intake to no more than 300 milligrams per day for healthy adults. However, based on recent evidence, there are some serious challenges regarding this current dietary restriction, resulting in the removal of the recommendation in the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
While factors like genetics, inactivity, diabetes, stress and hypothyroidism can all impact cholesterol levels, a poor diet is the No. 1 cause for unhealthy high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the standard American or Western diet is highly inflammatory, which elevates LDL and lowers HDL in most cases the opposite of what we want.
How exactly does inflammation cause cholesterol levels to rise?
Cholesterol itself wouldnt be nearly as dangerous without inflammation. Inflammation is the primary cause of atherosclerosis, the hardening and stiffening of arteries that accompanies plaque deposits and in turn produces even more inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of most diseases, and heart disease is no exception.
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Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the most important foods in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet is extra virgin olive oil.
One five-year study gave older adults at risk of heart disease 4 tablespoons a day of extra virgin olive oil alongside a Mediterranean diet.
The olive oil group had a 30% lower risk of major heart events, such as stroke and heart attack, compared to people who followed a low-fat diet .
Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, the kind that may help raise good HDL and lower bad LDL cholesterol.
It is also a source of polyphenols, some of which reduce the inflammation that can drive heart disease .
If Your Diet Gave You High Cholesterol It Can Lower It Too
Its easy to eat your way to an alarmingly high cholesterol level. The reverse is true, too changing what foods you eat can lower your cholesterol and improve the armada of fats floating through your bloodstream.Doing this requires a two-pronged strategy: Add foods that lower LDL, the harmful cholesterol-carrying particle that contributes to artery-clogging atherosclerosis. At the same time, cut back on foods that boost LDL. Without that step, you are engaging in a holding action instead of a steady and tasty victory.
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Cholesterol And Its Causes
Cholesterol is a type of fat that comes in the form of waxy, fatty particles. These are floating around in your blood. The cholesterol in your blood helps in many ways.
Cholesterol keeps the cells in your body healthy. Cholesterol also helps in making sex hormones. Cholesterol helps to maintain cell membranes and it is also used to make hormones and vitamin D. But, cholesterol levels can become unbalanced due to high and low levels of cholesterol.
Not everyone has an equal amount of cholesterol in their body. The level of cholesterol in the body varies. High cholesterol in the blood means there is too much cholesterol. If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it can cause blockages in your arteries.
When the artery becomes blocked, blood flow to that area becomes restricted. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Cholesterol levels are measured using a variety of models based on risk factors, with total cholesterol being just one factor among many in assessing risk for coronary heart disease .
Cholesterol levels can be measured with a blood test. A healthy persons cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg/dl. If your levels are above 240 mg/dl you need to take some preventative measures.
However, if your cholesterol level is below 50 mg/dl you might need additional tests to figure out why you have such low levels and treat accordingly.
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%.
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Use Liquid Vegetable Oils In Place Of Solid Fats
Liquid vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower, soybean and olive oil can often be used instead of solid fats, such as butter, lard or shortening. If you must use margarine, try the soft or liquid kind.
Use a little liquid oil to:
- Pan-fry fish and poultry.
- Make cream sauces and soups using low-fat or fat-free milk.
- Add to whipped or scalloped potatoes using low-fat or fat-free milk.
- Brown rice for Spanish, curried or stir-fried rice.
- Cook dehydrated potatoes and other prepared foods that call for fat to be added.
- Make pancakes or waffles.
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.
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How Does Cholesterol Work
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can clog arteries if theres too much of it in the body. Your body makes cholesterol naturally, but when you eat too many foods that also contain cholesterol, these can combine to create an excess of cholesterol in your body. And thats when things can turn bad.
There are two main types of cholesterol: HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, and LDL, or low-density lipoprotein. HDL is known as good cholesterol, since it works to remove LDL , from your arteries. So, foods that are said to help maintain healthy cholesterol can either increase HDL, lower LDL, or both.
Apples Citrus And Berries
Fruit is included as part of any heart-healthy eating pattern, and for good reason. Many fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Pectin, a specific type of soluble fiber found in many fruits, including apples, citrus fruits, and berries, helps lower cholesterol in part by decreasing the amount of cholesterol made by the liver.
One small clinical trial of 40 adults found that those who ate two apples per day for eight weeks had lower LDL and total cholesterol levels compared with the control apple beverage.
Antioxidant compounds called polyphenols found in these fruits also provide anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and preventing it from being oxidized.
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Fried Chicken: 161 Mg 54% Dv
Crispy fried chicken is one of the most popular fast foods in America, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. In one KFC fried chicken breast with skin, you’ll get 54 percent of the DV for cholesterol, as well as 45 percent DV for total fat and 38 percent DV for saturated fat.
Fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish, are linked with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a January 2019 study in the BMJ. The study also found that the more fried food people ate, the greater their chance of developing heart disease.
Additional Strategies For Lowering Your Cholesterol
Besides consuming items from your cholesterol lowering foods list, consider adding a few more components to your plan:
Do ensure that you check in with your doctor as you make lifestyle changes, and be sure that you ask for guidance and clarification. He or she will be able to provide you with specific instructions for your unique situation, and its possible that other resources such as smoking cessation, medically supervised weight loss, prescription drugs, and specifically tailored exercise programs may be available. Take advantage of these and youll be surprised at how quickly you reach your goals.
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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
Red Wine Or Grapes: A Toast To Resveratrol
A plant-based chemical known as resveratrol, found in the red grapes used to make red wine, can help to lower blood levels of LDL cholesterol. It also appears to protect against coronary artery disease, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, a glass of red wine with a meal can help prevent the constriction of blood vessels that can follow a fatty meal and lead to atherosclerosis and heart attack.
If you don’t drink, don’t start now. You can get resveratrol from red, black, and purple grapes, and from blueberries, cranberries, and even peanut butter. If you do drink alcohol, limit your consumption of red wine to one or two 5 oz glasses a day.
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High Cholesterol: Nutritionist Reveals Top Prevention Tips
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You are what you eat and this certainly applies to cholesterol. But did you know you can help your heart and lower your cholesterol simply by eating certain foods? Youll also need to eat less fatty foods, cut out alcohol and cigarettes, and stop eating so much fried, processed and sugary foods. Express.co.uk chatted to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy to find out the TWO foods that will lower your cholesterol.
Should I Take Supplements To Reduce Cholesterol
The best way for your body to absorb vitamins and nutrients naturally is through food. However, some people may benefit from taking supplements like CoQ10 if their diet is falling short when it comes to improving cholesterol levels.
Always talk to your doctor before taking any new vitamins or supplements. They can recommend the right supplements and dosage to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs to lower your risk for heart disease.
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Green Tea: Antioxidants Help Lower Ldl Cholesterol
All varieties of antioxidant-rich tea can help lower LDL. Green tea, which is particularly rich in the powerful antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate , has shown the best results. EGCG lowered LDL cholesterol levels by about 9 milligrams per deciliter in 17 trials reviewed in the International Journal of Food Science Nutrition in September 2016.
Unlike other teas, which are made from fermented leaves, green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG from being oxidized. While some studies have been done with an intake of seven or more cups a day, drinking a few cups of green tea daily should help and will keep you from getting too much caffeine. Preparing your green tea with loose tea, rather than tea bags, provides more EGCG.
Cook Fresh Vegetables The Heart
Try cooking vegetables in a tiny bit of vegetable oil and add a little water during cooking, if needed. Just one or two teaspoons of oil is enough for a package of plain frozen vegetables that serves four. Place the vegetables in a skillet with a tight cover and cook them over very low heat until done.
Add herbs and spices to make vegetables even tastier. For example, these combinations add subtle and surprising flavors:
- Rosemary with peas, cauliflower and squash
- Oregano with zucchini
- Basil with tomatoes
Start with a small quantity of herbs and spices , then let your familys feedback be your guide. Chopped parsley and chives, sprinkled on just before serving, can also enhance the flavor of many vegetables.
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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|
|69-97 grams||17 grams|
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
Butter: 305 Mg 10% Dv
One tablespoon of salted butter has 10 percent of the DV for cholesterol and 36 percent DV for saturated fats.
If you have high cholesterol and need to lower your levels, the AHA recommends keeping saturated fat intake below 6 percent of your total calories. To cut down on your saturated fat intake, opt for meal prepping with healthy cooking oils like olive or avocado oil.
Foods High in Cholesterol To Avoid List
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Nutritional Change Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
As with everything else, there are good diets and bad diets out there. One of the bad diets is the diet that most people typically eat. It’s full of saturated fats, sugars, and processed foods.
If you are eating this kind of food regularly, you are doing nothing good for your body, particularly when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels.
With this kind of diet, you are more likely to have high LDL or bad cholesterol levels. However, you can do something about it by changing your eating habits.
One of the best diets for people looking to lower their cholesterol levels is the Mediterranean Diet. People following this diet have healthier cholesterol levels as compared to those who eat a typical American diet.
Puree Fruits And Veggies For Baking
Pureed fruits or vegetables can be used in place of oil in muffin, cookie, cake and snack bar recipes to give your treats an extra healthy boost. For many recipes, use the specified amount of puree instead of oil. Check the mixs package or your cookbooks substitutions page for other conversions. You can:
- Use applesauce in spice muffins or oatmeal cookies.
- Include bananas in breads and muffins.
- Try zucchini in brownies.
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Bad Ldl Cholesterol Levels
LDL cholesterol is the smallest molecule and can get stuck in the bloodstream and cause plaque build-up over time.
Long-term, elevated LDL can create blockages and cause atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
Atherosclerosis places one at risk for cardiac events like stroke, heart attack, or pulmonary disease.
If you have high cholesterol and cannot lower it naturally with dietary changes, your doctor might recommend a medication such as statin.
Getting Accurate Test Results
Getting a cholesterol test is easy. It involves having a tubes worth of blood drawn from your arm during a routine visit to your physician. The preparation, however, takes a little effort to ensure the most accurate reading. Food and drink can affect your triglyceride level, so you should fast for 12 hours beforehand. You should also avoid drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours before the test. You can drink water and take most medications you normally use, as these should not affect the test results. If you are not sure about your medications, check with your doctor before getting the test done.
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