Eating For Lower Cholesterol
Healthy eating can make a huge difference to your cholesterol levels and your heart health, whether your cholesterol has crept up over the years or you have a genetic condition. It will improve your health in other ways too, helping to lower your blood pressure, prevent diabetes and maintain a healthy weight.
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 .
Common Misconceptions About Foods And Cholesterol
Just because a food contains cholesterol does not mean it will raise cholesterol levels. In fact, the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans of 2015-2020 removed the recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day, stating that adequate evidence was not available. Extensive research does not show that eating foods that contain cholesterol causes heart disease.
However, many foods remain feared for the belief that they increase the risk for heart disease or harm overall health. Some of these foods are highlighted below:
In addition to these foods, there has been concern over the recently trending ketogenic diet and its role in cholesterol levels. This style of eating limits nearly all sources of carbohydrates and instead gets a majority of calories and other nutrients from high-fat foods and protein. This diet includes eating large amounts of meat, eggs, cheese, and other high cholesterol, high saturated fat foods.
While it may seem as though this style of eating would be harmful to cholesterol levels, current research does not support this so far.
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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
What Can I Eat On The Portfolio Diet
Dr Jenkins’ dietary portfolio involves eating one or more of the following four foods daily while sticking to a 2000-calorie diet low in saturated fat and salt and high in fibre, fruit and veg. If you eat the recommended amount of only one of the four food groups, research shows you could reduce your blood cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent, but this increases significantly if you eat all four in combination.
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Is The Portfolio Diet Right For Me
Recent research from Toronto University has shown that the Portfolio Diet can improve blood pressure, decreasing inflammation and reduce the 10-year risk of heart disease. However, people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs were excluded from the original study, so it is not known whether the diet could produce the same level of cholesterol reduction in those on medication.
Other Ways To Lower Cholesterol
Eating a low cholesterol, heart-healthy diet is an effective way to manage cholesterol levels in the body. However, dietary changes alone may not be enough to bring cholesterol levels down to the normal range. Other non-dietary treatments for high cholesterol include:
- Regular exercise
- Cholesterol-lowering medication
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Cholesterol Lowering Foods Chart
In research1 on men and women who had reduced their cholesterol on average 20% via statins, adding the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise to their lives knocked down cholesterol an additional 19%, and in just three weeks.
Equally important, studies2 have shown that a healthy Pritikin lifestyle can help clean up virtually all the lifestyle-related problems that damage your arteries, not only cholesterol but also high blood glucose3, high triglycerides4, high levels of inflammation5, and high blood pressure6, and once again, in just two to three weeks.
Thats right, for clean arteries through and through, a plan like Pritikin is the way to go.
Other Ways To Reduce Cholesterol
Having a healthy diet can have a fantastic impact on your blood cholesterol levels, but it works best if you also follow a healthy lifestyle in other ways. Being more active and maintaining a healthy weight are also essential ways to stay heart-healthy.
Smoking also raises LDL cholesterol and lowers HDL cholesterol. Chemicals in cigarette smoke affect the composition of lipids in our bodies, as well as the way our body uses and reacts to those lipid particles.Stopping smoking directly reduces LDL cholesterol levels and raises HDL cholesterol levels, and is, for a huge number of reasons, one of the most important things you can do to improve your health.
A high alcohol intake can also cause levels of bad cholesterol to rise. Excessive alcohol intake also damages the liver, which is the organ we rely on for regulating our cholesterol levels. Drinking alcohol is also commonly linked to making unhealthy choices in our diet.
Although there is a lot we can do to improve our cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk, there are some limitations. Some people are just more prone to high cholesterol due to their genetic makeup. People who are at particularly high risk should work closely with their doctor to have their levels monitored more frequently and may be prescribed medications to take alongside healthy lifestyle changes.
Medicine Delivery with Homage
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Red Meats And Processed Meats
Aim to reduce or eliminate animal products such as fatty cuts of beef or red meat and processed meat such as sausage and hot dogs. Examples of red meat with a higher saturated fat and cholesterol content include steak, beef roast, full-fat ground beef, and ribs.
If youre going to eat animal proteins, opt for lean meats like turkey, chicken , and pork loin. Healthier red meats like 90% lean ground beef and lean cuts of beef like tenderloin and flank steak are good alternatives to fatty cuts of red meat.
Blue Crab: 1145 Mg 38% Dv
Crabs are another healthy seafood to put on your plate. They’re rich in protein, omega-3s, selenium and vitamin B12. Like other shellfish, they’re high in cholesterol and low in saturated fat. You’ll get 38 percent of the DV for cholesterol but only 1 percent of the DV for saturated fat in 1 cup of flaked blue crab.
Just be mindful of how you prepare it because butter or cream sauces can easily bump up the saturated fat.
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Saturated And Unsaturated Fat
There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Eating too many foods high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood.
Most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat.
Foods high in saturated fat include:
- meat pies
- cakes and biscuits
- foods containing coconut or palm oil
Eating foods that contain unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat can actually help reduce cholesterol levels.
Try to replace foods containing saturated fats with small amounts of foods high in unsaturated fats, such as:
- oily fish such as mackerel and salmon
- nuts such as almonds and cashews
- seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- vegetable oils and spreads such as rapeseed or vegetable oil, sunflower, olive, corn and walnut oils
Why Do We Need Fiber
Fiber is important for your gut, but thats not all. People with higher intakes of fiber appear to be at lower risk of:
Cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes
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What Is The Difference Between Good And Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol is classified as good or bad and its important to understand the distinction when choosing your diet. Cholesterol travels through the body in two types of lipoproteins:
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that we limit saturated fats to less than 10% of our daily calorie consumption. This means restricting our intake of bad cholesterol.
Who Should Consider Meds
If you fall into any of these categories, statins are likely to provide a significant benefit , so talk with your doctor about them if:
You already have plaque in your arteries.
Your LDL target will be even lower than 130 it should be at least under 100 mg/dL, and ideally under 70 mg/dL.
You have diabetes.
Anyone with diabetes over the age of 40 should take a statin, since chronically high blood sugar greatly increases your risk of developing heart disease.
Your LDL is super high .
You’re a time bomb. Statins will likely drop your levels way down into a safer zone.
Your age, blood pressure, smoking history, and cholesterol numbers point to a high chance of trouble.
Even if you dont meet the above criteria, you may still have a high risk of developing a heart attack or stroke. Docs figure out how high using calculators that estimate your 10-year risk of having heart disease. If your ten-year risk is more than 7.5%, youd likely be safer with a statin.
Your arteries are filled with calcium.
If the calculator pegs your risk in a lower range, but youre still concerned , you can get a scan to further assess your risk. A CAT scan of your heart, for example, can quantify its calcium burden, or score, and very abnormal results indicate a more urgent need to lower your cholesterol.
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Choose Good Fats Over Bad Fats
Fat is an important nutrient, necessary for energy and hormone production, vitamin absorption, maintaining the membrane integrity of every cell in our body, and growth and development. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes published by the USDA, 20% to 35% of calories should come from fat. But when it comes to dietary fat, not all types are created equal.
As noted above, saturated fats contribute to high levels of LDL cholesterol, as do the trans fats in fried foods and baked goods. At the same time, however, monounsaturated fats, which are found in olives, olive oil, and certain nuts and seeds, actually help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Another type of good fat, the polyunsaturated fat in fatty fish like salmon and cod, as well as flaxseeds and walnuts, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that play a significant role in reducing overall blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Avoid Artificial Trans Fats
While trans fats occur naturally in red meat and dairy products, most peoples main source is artificial trans fat used in many restaurants and processed foods .
Artificial trans fats are produced by hydrogenating or adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats such as vegetable oils to change their structure and solidify them at room temperature.
Trans fats make a cheap alternative to natural saturated fats and have been widely used by restaurants and food manufacturers.
However, substantive research shows that eating artificial trans fats increases bad LDL cholesterol, lowers good HDL cholesterol and is linked to a 23% greater risk of heart disease (
Summary Artificial trans fats are linked to higher LDL cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease. Recently, the US banned their use in restaurants and processed foods, making them easier to avoid.
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Shrimp: 3587 Mg 120% Daily Value
Shrimp and other shellfish tend to be high in cholesterol. Case in point: You’ll get 120 percent of the DV for cholesterol in 6 ounces of cooked shrimp, but it’s low in total and saturated fat.
The American Heart Association recommends lowering saturated fat intake to keep cholesterol levels at bay and supports shrimp as a healthy alternative to proteins higher in saturated fat.
Diabetes High Cholesterol And Diet
Heres some good news: it doesnt take a huge effort to start making heart-healthy food decisions. Especially when you have diabetes and high cholesterol, watching your diet is critical.
There are changes you can make to what you eat every day. We recommend that you talk to a certified diabetes educator or registered dietitian about changing how you eat. They can work with you to create a meal plan that is delicious, flexible , and healthyfor both your heart and your diabetes.
Consider the fruit and/or vegetables that you will add to your meal for the most heart healthy, weight neutral, blood sugar favorable eating plan.
In the meantime, here are 4 tips to help you eat well when you have high cholesterol.
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Minimize Foods That Raise Blood Cholesterol
Eat far fewer :
- Saturated-fat-rich foods such as butter, tropical oils like coconut oil, fatty meats, and dairy foods like cheese, cream, and whole/low-fat milk
- Organ meats
- Processed meats such as hot dogs, bacon, and bologna
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Cholesterol-rich foods like egg yolks.
Have you recently heard in the news that egg yolks are okay? Dont believe it, cautions Kimberly Gomer, Director of Nutrition and Educator at Pritikin. Egg yolks are not okay, as this review by faculty at Pritikin elucidates.
Foods To Eat To Improve Cholesterol
To lower cholesterol, try building meals and snacks around whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Here are some to include.
- Whole grains: Oats, barley, whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and farro.
- High-fiber, nutrient-dense vegetables: Leafy greens, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, and tomatoes.
- High-fiber, antioxidant-rich fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, bananas, apples, pears, peaches, and melon.
- Fatty fish: Salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, and anchovies.
- Lean protein: Chicken, turkey, beans, nuts, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and edamame.
- Dairy: Yogurt, kefir, milk and cheese.
- Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory herbs and spices: Ginger, garlic, turmeric, and basil.
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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.
How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
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