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.
Why We Need Some Fat
A small amount of fat is an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make itself.
Any fat that’s not used by your body’s cells or turned into energy is converted into body fat. Likewise, unused carbohydrates and proteins are also converted into body fat.
All types of fat are high in energy. A gram of fat, whether it’s saturated or unsaturated, provides 9kcal of energy compared with 4kcal for carbohydrate and protein.
The main types of fat found in food are:
- saturated fats
- unsaturated fats
Most fats and oils contain both saturated and unsaturated fats in different proportions.
As part of a healthy diet, you should try to cut down on foods and drinks that are high in saturated fats and trans fats and replace some of them with unsaturated fats.
Organic Cows Milk And Cholesterol
Whole cows milk contains 146 calories, 5 grams of saturated fat, and 24 milligrams of cholesterol in a 1 cup or 8 ounce serving. Its a tremendous and nutrients, contains essential vitamins and minerals, and provides a third of a persons daily recommended intake of calcium, Krivitsky says. Cows milk also contains potassium, which may help prevent high blood pressure . What’s more, a study published in December 2013 in the journal PLoS One found that organic cows milk contains significantly more anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, which is important because omega-3s promote heart health.
But when it comes to your cholesterol levels, high-fat dairy could get you into trouble, says John Day, MD, cardiologist and medical director at Intermountain Heart Rhythm Specialists in Salt Lake City. Saturated fat in your diet raises LDL cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. If you drink cow’s milk, most doctors recommend low-fat or nonfat versions. A 1-cup serving of skim milk has 83 calories, no saturated fat, and only 5 mg of cholesterol.
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Eat Fewer Added Sugars
Its not just saturated and trans fats that can raise cholesterol levels. Eating too many added sugars can do the same thing .
One study found that adults who consumed 25% of their calories from drinks made with high-fructose corn syrup experienced a 17% increase in LDL cholesterol in just two weeks .
Even more troubling, fructose increases the number of small, dense oxidized LDL cholesterol particles which contribute to heart disease .
Between 2005 and 2010, an estimated 10% of Americans consumed over 25% of their daily calories from added sugars .
According to a 14-year study, these people were almost three times more likely to die from heart disease than those getting less than 10% of their calories from added sugars .
The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day for women and children, and no more than 150 calories per day for men .
You can meet these goals by reading labels carefully and choosing products without added sugars whenever possible.
Summary Getting more than 25% of your daily calories from added sugars can raise cholesterol levels and more than double your risk of dying from heart disease. Cut back by choosing foods without added sugars as much as possible.
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 .
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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.
Meats And Meat Alternatives
- Choose fish, chicken, turkey and lean meats.
- Use dried beans, peas, lentils and tofu.
- Limit egg yolks to three to four per week.
- If you eat red meat, limit to no more than three servings per week and choose loin or round cuts.
- Avoid fatty meats, such as bacon, sausage, franks, luncheon meats and ribs.
- Avoid all organ meats, including liver.
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What Should I Eat To Cut My Cholesterol
Eating oats, green leafy veg, nuts, seeds, beans and soy milk can help lower LDL cholesterol, according to research by Dr David Jenkins of the University of Toronto. His Portfolio Diet involves eating these foods as part of a calorie-controlled vegan diet low in saturated fat and salt and high in fibre, fruit and veg.
People with high levels of bad cholesterol are often advised to follow a low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fibre diet, which has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, but only by a small amount.
The problem is that most of us make more cholesterol in our bodies than we consume in food. So is following the Portfolio Diet while taking regular exercise a better way to tackle the problem?
Raw Cows Milk And Foodborne Illness
Thinking about switching to raw cows milk, also known as unpasteurized milk? It has about the same amount of calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol as regular dairy milk, and some claim it has even more nutrients. But pregnant women and children should avoid drinking raw milk and eating dairy products such as cheese made from raw milk, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Since raw milk doesn’t go through the process of pasteurization that kills potentially harmful bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and E. coli people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of getting foodborne illness from it, though it has the potential to sicken anyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unpasteurized milk is 150 times more likely to contain bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses than pasteurized dairy products.
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Cholesterol: The Good And The Bad
Two different types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol to and from cells. LDL cholesterol carries lipoproteins to the cells.
HDL carries nutrients and excess lipoprotein molecules to the liver to be excreted.
Each of these cholesterol levels can be checked by your primary care doctor.
They can help you review your levels and find out whether or not they are in the desired range.
What Causes High Cholesterol
Some causes of high blood cholesterol include:
- Low intake of foods containing healthy fats healthy fats tend to increase the good cholesterol.
- High intake of foods containing unhealthy fats such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil, palm oil and most deep-fried takeaway foods and commercially baked products . Foods high in trans-fats include most commercially baked products and deep-fried takeaway foods.
- Low intake of foods containing fibre foods that are high in dietary fibre, particularly soluble fibre, can reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Include fibre-containing foods in your diet by choosing vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, nuts and seeds every day.
- Cholesterol in food this has only a small effect on LDL cholesterol -saturated fats and trans-fats in food have a much greater effect.
- You can also eat up to 7 eggs a week as part of a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated and trans-fats, without increasing your risk of heart disease.
Some people will have high cholesterol even if they follow a healthy, balanced diet low in saturated fats and trans-fats. These people may need to take cholesterol-lowering medicine as prescribed by their doctor.
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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.
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
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Whole Grains And Oat Bran
Oat bran is an excellent source of a soluble fiber known asbeta-glucan, which may reduce the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Also, increasing your intake of whole grains like brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, and steel-cut oats can help lower LDL cholesterol levels, according to a 2015 systematic review published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is the main cholesterol-lowering fiber type. Blatner says fiber can act like a sponge to soak up excess cholesterol and remove it from the body. Including foods with soluble fiber in your diet can helpreduce LDL cholesterol.
Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol
Some foods can actively help to lower your cholesterol and they all work in different ways. Try to include these foods in your meals whenever you can:
1. Oats and barley
Eating whole grain foods reduces your risk of heart disease. Oats and barley are extra special because they are high in a type of soluble fibre called ‘beta glucan’. Beta glucan helps to lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood2,3.
Tip: Flavoured oat products like ‘Quick Oats’ often contain added salt and/or sugar. Choose products that contain 100% oats as they’re closest to how theyre found in nature.
2. Vegetables and fruit
Eating a variety of colourful vegetables and fruit everyday can help protect you against heart disease, stroke and some cancers4,5. Many vegetables and fruit are high in soluble fibre which helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol and lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in your blood.
Tip: Leave the skins on vegetables like pumpkin, kmara and carrot to maximise your intake of fibre. Use orange and lemon peel in dressings and sauces.
3. Foods rich in heart-healthy fats
Eating plenty of foods that contain heart-healthy mono and poly-unsaturated fats increases the levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in your blood.
These foods contain heart-healthy fats.
- Vegetable oils and spreads
Eating these foods instead of foods high in saturated fat improves your cholesterol. Itll reduce your risk of heart disease too6.
4. Legumes and beans
6. Soy products
7. Plant sterols
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Eating Sustainable Fish And Shellfish
When fish or shellfish are caught or produced in a way that allows stocks to replenish and that does not cause unnecessary damage to marine animals and plants, those fish or shellfish are called “sustainable“.
To ensure there are enough fish and shellfish to eat, choose from as wide a range of these foods as possible. If we eat only a few kinds of fish, then numbers of these fish can fall very low due to overfishing of these stocks.
Overfishing endangers the future supply of the fish and can also cause damage to the environment from which the fish is caught.
Fried Foods And Highly Processed Foods
There is little to no room in a low cholesterol diet for fried foods, fast food, and highly processed foods. Everything in moderation is acceptable, but if youre trying to reduce LDL levels, eliminating foods high in cholesterol like deep-fried items, chips, deli meat, bacon, and hot dogs, can go a long way in keeping your cholesterol levels in check.
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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.
Study Suggests Lower Ldl Cholesterol Is Better
A recent meta-analysis published in JAMA Cardiology suggests that it is both safe and effective to lower LDL below 70 mg/dL. The authors reviewed a large database of CVD patients with LDL levels averaging 70 mg/dL or less at the start of the studies. On average, there was a 20% drop in CVD risk seen for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL cholesterol. In other words, a drop in LDL from 70 mg/dL down to 31 mg/dL was associated with 20% fewer CVD events such as heart attack or stroke.
The benefit was consistent regardless of the medications used to lower cholesterol. The JAMA Cardiology meta-analysis looked at studies in which LDL was lowered with a statin drug, which works by lowering LDL production in the liver, or with a different type of medication, including ezetimibe , which interferes with absorption of LDL from the intestine, or PCSK9 inhibitors, newer injectable medicines that increase uptake of LDL from the bloodstream into the liver. The drop in CVD risk was in line with previous studies of patients who started with LDL levels around 130 mg/dL, and saw a drop in CVD events of about 22% for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL.
In this study, there was no increased risk of adverse outcomes , even when LDL was lowered to as low as 20 mg/dL. Although statin medications themselves have been linked to side effects, especially at high doses, it appears that extremely low LDL concentrations are not responsible for side effects.
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Lower Your Cholesterol Whether You’re Eating Breakfast Lunch Dinner Dessert Or Even A Snack
Did you know cholesterol in food only plays a small part in increasing our bodies cholesterol levels? But what we eat has a big role to play in managing our cholesterol and heart health.Consistently poor eating habits, combined with a lack of physical activity can lead to unhealthy weight gain, which can also raise levels of unhealthy cholesterol levels and lower levels of HDL cholesterol which can negatively affect your heart health.
High-density lipoprotein is often called the good cholesterol because it helps to remove other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream and helps to keep cholesterol from building up in the arteries. Low-density lipoprotein is often called the bad cholesterol because it is the main source of cholesterol build-up and blockage in the arteries.
Time and time again we hear that balance is the key to health. There are some foods that can improve LDL cholesterol levels and eating these foods in moderate amounts can help keep us fighting fit. Foods containing healthier fats or soluble fibre are great examples of this. So with this in mind, here are some delicious ideas that can help you eat your way to a healthier heart.