The Link Between Dietary And Blood Cholesterol
The liver produces as much cholesterol as your body needs. It packages cholesterol with fat in whats called very low-density lipoproteins .
As VLDL delivers fat to cells throughout the body, it changes into the more dense LDL, which carries cholesterol wherever it is needed.
The liver also releases HDL, which then carries unused cholesterol back to the liver. This process is called reverse cholesterol transport, and it protects against clogged arteries and other types of heart disease.
Some lipoproteins, especially LDL and VLDL, are prone to damage by free radicals in a process called oxidation. Oxidized LDL and VLDL are even more harmful to heart health .
Although food companies often advertise products as being low in cholesterol, recent research has shown that dietary cholesterol actually has only a small influence on the amount of cholesterol in the body .
This is because the liver changes the amount of cholesterol it makes depending on how much you eat. When your body absorbs more cholesterol from your diet, it makes less in the liver.
Current guidelines by leading U.S. health organizations for lowering risk of heart disease no longer contain specific recommended levels for dietary cholesterol, including the:
- American Heart Association (
- 7 )
The guidelines do recommend moderating cholesterol consumption, but this is more to limit the saturated fat that often accompanies cholesterol in foods than to limit intake of cholesterol itself .
All About Cholesterol: What You Should Know And Ways To Lower It
Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones, vitamins and substances that help digest foods, but you can certainly have too much of a good thing. Your body naturally makes all the cholesterol it needs to function properly. However, several factors can cause your cholesterol levels to spike beyond healthy levels. This includes a poor diet and eating too many saturated or trans fats. And if those high levels of unhealthy cholesterol go untreated, many other serious health concerns and conditions can be triggeredDiseases Linked to High Cholesterol. WebMD. . Retrieved 31 December 2021, from https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/diseases-linked-high-cholesterol.. The good news is that this can easily be avoided with some simple, healthy lifestyle and diet changes. In this article, we have you covered with everything you need to know to understand cholesterol and to keep your levels within the healthy range.
Use Polyunsaturated Fats Especially Omega
Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds that make them behave differently in the body than saturated fats. Research shows that polyunsaturated fats reduce LDL cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease.
For example, one study replaced saturated fats in 115 adults diets with polyunsaturated fats for 8 weeks. By the end of the study, total and LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by about 10% .
Polyunsaturated fats also may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Another study changed the diets of 4,220 adults, replacing 5% of their calories from carbohydrates with polyunsaturated fats. Their blood glucose and fasting insulin levels decreased, indicating a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes .
Omega-3 fatty acids are an especially heart-healthy type of polyunsaturated fat. Theyre found in seafood and fish oil supplements. Especially high amounts occur in fatty fish like:
- deep sea tuna like bluefin or albacore
- shellfish , including shrimp
Other sources of omega-3s include seeds and tree nuts, but not peanuts.
All polyunsaturated fats are heart-healthy and may reduce the risk of diabetes. Omega-3 fats are a type of polyunsaturated fat with extra heart benefits.
Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been modified by a process called hydrogenation. This is done to make the unsaturated fats in vegetable oils more stable.
The resulting trans fats are not fully saturated and are called partially hydrogenated oils .
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Fish Oil Supplements With Omega
Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in fish and fish oils. Salmon, tuna, lake trout, herring, sardines, and other fatty fish are especially rich sources.
Experts have long believed that omega-3 fatty acids in fish help reduce the risk of getting heart disease. Other nutrients in fish, or a combination of those nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids, may help protect your heart. Eating one or two servings of fatty fish a week may lower your chances of having a heart attack.
If you have heart disease, you may also benefit from taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements or eating other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. For example, walnuts, canola oil, and soybeans are good sources. Evidence is stronger for the benefits of eating fish with omega-3 fatty acids than taking supplements or eating other foods.
Try To Reduce The Amount Of Saturated Fat You Consume
There is a controversy about the role of saturated fats on your cholesterol levels. The medical establishment talks about the great damage of saturated fat that increases the level of cholesterol in your blood. The American Heart Association recommends to limit the amount of saturated fats you eat to less than 7% of your total daily calories.
That means, for example, that if you need about 2,000 calories a day, then maximum 140 of them should come from saturated fats. Thats about 16 grams of saturated fats a day.
Common foods that contain saturated fat come mainly from animal sources, for example: butter, fatty beef, lamb or pork, poultry with skin, lard and cream. Also pastries and many baked and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Some plant foods, such as palm oil and coconut oil also contain saturated fats, but dont contain cholesterol.
However newer research claims that its true that saturated fats mildly increase the bad cholesterol , but only the large particles which are not associated with cardiovascular conditions. In any case, eat saturated fat in moderation.
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Sprinkle On Spices To Flavor Food
Isnt it a pleasant surprise to know something youre probably already eating could help lower cholesterol? Well theres a good chance youre already ticking off this cholesterol to-do, at least to some degree.
Garlic has the potential to regulate slightly elevated cholesterol concentrations, while cinnamaldehyde, the active component in cinnamon, improves lipid and glucose metabolism.
Cut Back On Animal Fats
Forgo fatty, processed meats such as bologna, salami, pepperoni and hot dogs, as well as fatty red meats like ribs and prime cuts of beef, pork, veal or lamb. Also, skip skin-on chicken or turkey. Avoid full-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, cream, sour cream, cream cheese and butter. These foods contain saturated fat as well as cholesterol, which are both associated with higher blood cholesterol and plaque buildup.
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Putting Together A Low Cholesterol Diet
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two.
A largely vegetarian “dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods” substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber soy protein and whole almonds.
Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But it’s a “natural” way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.
Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. It’s good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health.
How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally In 28 Simple Steps
There are tons of natural remedies out there for how to lower cholesterol levels, often promising quick results with next to no effort required on your part. But while its true that there are tons of options to keep cholesterol levels in check, it can actually be as simple as swapping out a few foods in your diet for healthier options, switching up your workout routine or adding a supplement or two into the mix.
Ready to get started? Lets take a look at 28 simple methods for how to lower cholesterol and how it can impact your health.
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Eating More Soluble Fiber
If you already have high cholesterol, simply switching to a plant-based diet can significantly impact your levels of bad cholesterol, according to several studies reported by Medical XPress. This is due to the fact that vegan diets tend to be higher in soluble fiber, which slows the production of cholesterol in the liver, according to PCRM. Plant-based diets also do not include any cholesterol, as the only foods that contain cholesterol are animal products.
You can incorporate more soluble fiber into your diet by eating more oatmeal, avocados, bananas, lentils, berries, or chickpeas.
Factors That Can Increase Your Risk Of High Cholesterol
A number of things can raise your risk of developing high cholesterol, some of which you can control and some you cant. These include:
- Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older.
- High blood cholesterol can run in families.
- Being overweight or obesea body mass index of 30 or greaterputs you at risk of high cholesterol.
- Certain races may have an increased risk of high cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than Caucasians.
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Focus On Monounsaturated Fats
As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way your body uses them. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.
Some recommend a low fat diet for weight loss, but research is mixed on its effectiveness in controlling blood cholesterol.
One research report acknowledged that lower fat intake is an effective way to reduce blood cholesterol levels. However, researchers were concerned over potential negative effects of low fat diets, such as lowering HDL and increasing triglycerides .
In contrast, research has shown that a diet high in monounsaturated fats, such as the Mediterranean diet, helps reduce levels of harmful LDL and increase levels of healthy HDL .
Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of cholesterol, according to research. Oxidized cholesterol can react with free radicals and contribute to clogged arteries. This can lead to atherosclerosis or heart disease .
Overall, monounsaturated fats are healthy because they decrease harmful LDL cholesterol, increase good HDL cholesterol and reduce harmful oxidation (
Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts, and avocados reduce LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol, and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.
Unfortunately High Cholesterol Has No Symptoms A Blood Test Is The Only Way To Detect It
Rajiv Punn, MD
At Westchester Health, many of our patients are worried about their cholesterol level and want to know what they can do to bring it down, but they dont want to go on medication to do so. To help you become more informed about your cholesterol and your options for lowering it, we offer these guidelines and suggestions before it becomes a serious health concern.
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Easy Ways To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
No prescription required. Medication isn’t the only way to bring those levels down safely.
More than 100 million Americans have high cholesterol levels, which can contribute to a wide range of health problems including stroke and heart disease. While medication can help lower your cholesterol, there are also several lifestyle tweaks you can change right now that can make a big impact on your cholesterol levels. All five of these will also impact your weight, risk for chronic disease and overall health for the better, so they’re worth incorporating into your life regardless.
Here are five research-backed methods for lowering your cholesterol naturally:
Ditch The Processed Foods
Processed foods are often high in LDL-raising saturated fat. But they come with an additional warning.
The trans fats, refined sugars, and carbohydrates in processed foods trigger inflammation in the body, says cardiologist Neel Chokshi, MD, medical director of the Penn Sports Cardiology and Fitness Program at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.
High cholesterol, in combination with inflammation, is what leads to atherosclerosis, or blockages in the walls of your arteries, he says.
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What Does Your Cholesterol Level Mean
Its vital to know your numbers, as high cholesterol doesnt have any symptoms.
Adults 20 and older should have their cholesterol levels checked at least once every five years. A blood test reveals numbers for total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides, another form of fat in your blood.
The following are target levels for adults.
Risk Factors For High Cholesterol
High cholesterol can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, and ethnicity. You are considered to be at a higher risk if you:
- Have an unhealthy diet
- Have diabetes or kidney disease
- Lack of regular movement or exercise
- Have a family history of high cholesterol
Additionally, these are all factors that can increase your chances of having heart problems or a stroke if you have high cholesterol.
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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.
Home Remedy For Lower Cholesterol #4 Add Some Vitamin K2 To Your Diet
In the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, the author explains how vitamin K2 packs a one-two punch when it comes to heart disease.
While K2 can lower serum cholesterol, more importantly, K2 reduces atherosclerois, i.e. plaque accumulation in the arteries. This plaque is the deposits of calcium, fatty substances and scar tissue that together cause hardening of the arteries.
With plaque build up, the arteries either clog up and reduce or stop blood flow entirely, or get fragile and have a blow out. Vitamin K2 is not the same as vitamin K1, which is abundant in leafy greens and great for bone building.
Vitamin K2 works in concert with calcium and vitamin D, making sure the calcium gets where it’s needed in your bones, not your muscles and arteries.
In addition, vitamin K2 can remove calcium buildup in the arteries after it has formed and help restore arterial flexibility.
The best source of vitamin K2 is natto, a fermented soybean concoction with a stringy, slimy texture.
Other sources of vitamin K2 include goose liver pate, hard cheeses , soft cheeses , egg yolk, butter and chicken liver.
Most people in the US are low in vitamin K2, although regular cheese eaters tend to far better than the general population. You can also buy a K2 supplement made from natto.
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How Do Phytosterols Work
Phytosterols inhibit cholesterol absorption from the gut and thus reduce the levels of bad cholesterol . A study examined the efficiency of phytosterols have shown that as a dietary supplement, they can lower the LDL up to 15%.
In addition, taking phytosterols with statins caused a further reduction of 10% in LDL levels compared with statins treatment alone.
Dangers Of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves and hormones.
Although your body needs cholesterol, excess cholesterol can build up and form a fatty plaque on the walls of the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of the body. If plaque continues to build long-term, it can significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
So what causes high cholesterol? Believe it or not, the answer goes way beyond a high cholesterol diet.
While cholesterol is normally kept in balance, an unhealthy diet high in hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to increased cholesterol levels. This imbalance is manifested in elevated LDL and low HDL , which increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Other causes can include physical inactivity, diabetes, stress and hypothyroidism.
But keep in mind that not all cholesterol is created equally. LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, is the form that can build up on the artery walls and increase your risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is often dubbed good cholesterol because it travels through the bloodstream, removing harmful cholesterol from the arteries to help enhance heart health.
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