Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease, and to prevent it in the first place, is found in a whole food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
Which Foods Can Help Lower Cholesterol
The American Heart Association has developed diet guidelines to help lower cholesterol levels. It may be a challenge to read the nutritional contents on food packaging and on restaurant menus or to do the math, but the benefit will decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Limit total fat intake to less than 25% to 35% of your total calories each day.
- Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7% of total daily calories.
- Limit trans fat intake to less than 1% of total daily calories.
- The remaining fat should come from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are found in unsalted nuts and seeds, fish and vegetable oils.
- Limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day, for most people. If you have coronary heart disease or your LDL cholesterol level is 100 mg/dL or greater, limit your cholesterol intake to less than 200 milligrams a day.
Some food groups may be beneficial in directly lowering cholesterol levels and include foods with plant sterol additives, high fiber foods like bran, oatmeal, and fruits like apples and pears, fish, nuts, and olive oil. Some of these foods like nuts and fruits are also high in calories, so moderation is always advisable.
How Often Should I Get My Cholesterol Levels Checked
The frequency of getting your cholesterol levels tested depends on your age, presence of risk factors, and family history like a history of heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, or high cholesterol.
The following provides general recommendations for various age groups.
People who are 19 years of age or younger should:
- Get the first test done between ages 9 to 11 years
- Repeat the test every 5 years
- For children, who have a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke, the testing may start at 2 years of age
People who are age 20 years or older:
- Those between the age of 20 to 44 years should get tested every 5 years
- Women in the age group 45 to 54 years should get tested every 5 years
- Men in the age group 45 to 65 years should get their cholesterol levels checked every 1-2 years
- Women in the age group 55 to 65 years should get tested every 1-2 years
Don’t Miss: Can Keto Cause High Cholesterol
Why Is Hdl Good
HDL helps keep your cardiovascular system healthy. It actually aids in the removal of LDL from the arteries.
It carries the bad cholesterol back to the liver, where its broken down and eliminated from the body.
High levels of HDL have also been shown to protect against stroke and heart attack, while low HDL has been shown to increase those risks.
According to the National Institutes of Health , HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher are considered protective, while those under 40 mg/dL are a risk factor for heart disease.
Getting A Cholesterol Test
We recommend that all adults should get a cholesterol check no matter what your age or how healthy you feel.
The only way to know your cholesterol levels is to get a check.;High cholesterol doesn’t usually have any signs or symptoms and it can be caused by your genes as well as your lifestyle, so we advise getting a check even if you are young, fit and feel healthy.;
A cholesterol check involves a simple blood test.
Your doctor should also check another blood fat called;triglycerides,;as these also affect your heart health.;
A test will show you if you need to make healthy changes.;High cholesterol can lead to heart attacks and strokes. A cholesterol test, along with other simple tests including a blood pressure test,;BMI and waist measurement,;will give you a good idea of your heart health and show you if you need to make any lifestyle changes or need treatment.;
Recommended Reading: How Do Eggland Eggs Have Less Cholesterol
Where Does Cholesterol Come From
The liver is responsible for managing the levels of LDL in the body. It manufactures and secretes LDL into the bloodstream. There are receptors on liver cells that can “monitor” and try to adjust the LDL levels. However, if there are fewer liver cells or if they do not function effectively, the LDL level may rise.
Diet and genetics both play a factor in a person’s cholesterol levels. There may be a genetic predisposition for familial hypercholesterolemia where the number of liver receptor cells is low and LDL levels rise causing the potential for atherosclerotic heart disease at a younger age.
In the diet, cholesterol comes from saturated fats that are found in meats, eggs, and dairy products. Excess intake can cause LDL levels in the blood to rise. Some vegetable oils made from coconut, palm, and cocoa are also high in saturated fats.
The goal is to have patients modify lifestyle and diet to maintain cholesterol levels within the normal range. It is important to remember that HDL may protect a patient from heart disease and it may be a treatment goal to raise a too low level of HDL.
Why Is Cholesterol Needed By The Body
With all of the bad publicity cholesterol gets, people are often surprised to learn that its actually necessary for our existence.
Whats also surprising is that our bodies produce cholesterol naturally. But cholesterol isnt all good, nor is it all bad its a complex topic and one worth knowing more about.
You May Like: Is Shrimp Bad For Your Cholesterol
How To Think About Cholesterol And Diet
In addition to recommending statins, doctors commonly tout a low-fat diet for lowering LDL. But Levels advisors agree that fat isnt the enemy here. Its sugar.;
When you eat sugarparticularly fructose or high fructose corn syrupit causes the cholesterol-producing factory in your liver to turn on. By default, a low-fat diet is going to be a higher-sugar diet.
If you have high triglycerides, low HDL, or high total cholesterol, getting off sugar and flour becomes the best way to fix this problem.
Despite what weve been brainwashed to think, fat isnt the problem. Studies show that eating more fat can actually fix your cholesterol by increasing the good kind and lowering the bad kind.Hyman, The Cholesterol Solution
A low-fat diet may lower your LDLbut likely not in a way that is genuinely beneficial. As with statins, a low-fat diet will only reduce the large A-type LDL, not the small B-type.;
Combating oxidative stress and inflammation should be another dietary strategy for improving overall health. Remember, oxidized fat and cholesterol allow those B-type small, dense LDL-C particles to cause plaque buildup. A rainbow of fruits and vegetables, Hyman says, is full of antioxidants. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals that cause oxidative stress. But in addition to loading up on micronutrients, skip the fats that are easily oxidized.
Cholesterol Chart For Adults
According to the 2018 guidelines on the management of blood cholesterol published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology , these are the acceptable, borderline, and high measurements for adults.
All values are in mg/dL and are based on fasting measurements.
Your doctor may recommend a plan of treatment for high cholesterol that includes lifestyle modifications and potentially medication. This will vary based on factors like other medications you may be taking, your age, sex, and general health.
Here are some medications more commonly prescribed for high cholesterol:
Medications can also be used to treat contributing factors to cholesterol like triglycerides. These may be used in addition to some of the medications above.
Read Also: What To Do If Your Cholesterol Is Low
Understanding The Highs And Lows Of Cholesterol
You know that too much is dangerous. But what is cholesterol, anyway? Where does it come from? And is it all bad?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. Its either made by the body or absorbed from food. Your body needs cholesterol to make important steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and vitamin D. Its also used to make bile acids in the liver; these absorb fat during digestion.
So some cholesterol is necessary but bad cholesterol is something you can do without. Excess bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can deposit into the bodys arteries. These deposits are called plaques and result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which includes several components:
- LDL cholesterol: LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the bad cholesterol, which directly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Very low density lipoprotein, or VLDL cholesterol, is another type, which is a precursor to LDL.
- Total cholesterol is VLDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol.
- HDL cholesterol: HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Experts think at optimal levels it might help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.
And guess what? This buildup can start as early as your 20s.
Ways To Reduce Cholesterol Through Healthier Eating
- Replace butter on bread with sunflower or olive oil spreads.
- Reduce cooking with high level fats such as butter, lard, ghee, and goose fat. Use minimal amount of vegetable oils and spreads when cooking instead.
- Replace fatty meats, such as sausages and burgers, with lean meats, such as chicken and all kinds of fish .
- Avoid snacks such as cakes, biscuits, chocolate and;pastries, and replace with nuts , dried and fresh fruit, or hummus.
- Cut out full fat milk or cream in yoghurt, tea and coffee, soups and sauces. Replace with a lower fat option, such as skimmed milk.
- Try;to cut out cheese altogether. If you must eat cheese, ensure it’s low fat or stick to much smaller portion sizes, less often.
- Eat soups that are low in salt and made with vegetable stock and choose tomato-based sauces over creamy ones. However, also be aware of the sugar in some tomato-based sauces. High sugar content food is not good for someone with raised cholesterol.
- Avoid frying foods. Use alternative cooking methods such as grilling, slow cooking and poaching. If roasting something, ensure you use a small amount of vegetable oil, such as;olive, sunflower or rapeseed oil.
Take a look at our article on the best cholesterol-lowering foods for more information, or visit our;diet and nutrition centre for lots of dietary tips, inspiration and healthy and delicious recipesto help get you started.
Don’t Miss: Are Baked Potatoes High In Cholesterol
Good And Bad Cholesterol
There’s only one kind of cholesterol but it is carried around the body by different carriers called lipoproteins, notably:
- Low density lipoprotein
- High density lipoprotein
In simple terms, cholesterol carried by LDLs is considered bad because when theres too much of it circulating in your blood it contributes to plaque build-up that clogs arteries and makes them less flexible . If you have high blood cholesterol your goal will be to reduce LDL levels in your blood.
On the other hand, cholesterol carried by HDLs is considered good because it carries cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it is broken down and passed from the body. Any lifestyle changes or treatment for high blood cholesterol will aim to ensure HDL levels are increased or maintained at healthy levels.
When blood cholesterol tests are done, the level of triglycerides in your blood is also measured. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat that exists in food and in the body. When calories ingested in a meal are not used immediately by the body, they are converted to triglycerides and are transported to the fat cells to be stored. It is thought that elevated triglyceride levels may increase the risk of developing heart disease, particularly when associated with high LDL-cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol Levels: What You Need To Know
How do we diagnose high cholesterol?
Lipoprotein panel is a type of blood test that can measure cholesterol levels. Before the test, the patient may need to fast for 9-12 hours. The test gives information about different types of cholesterol:
- otal cholesterol: It shows the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. It includes both low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
- LDL cholesterol: It transports cholesterol particles throughout the body. LDL cholesterol is often called the bad cholesterol because it builds up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow.
- HDL cholesterol: It picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
- Non-HDL: This number is total cholesterol minus HDL. Non-HDL includes LDL and other types of cholesterol such as very lowdensity lipoprotein .
- Triglycerides: Another form of fat in the blood that can increase your risk for heart diseases, especially in women, is triglycerides.
Also Check: What Do My Cholesterol Numbers Mean
Another Type Of Fat Found In The Blood Mainly From The Food We Eat
Whats healthy? Less than 1.7 mmol/L ideally on a fasting sample, or less than 2.3 mmol/L on a non-fasting sample.
What should I do? Very high triglyceride levels can cause a painful condition called pancreatitis. People can have raised levels for many reasons, but the most common reasons are lifestyle-related:
- Being apple-shaped .
- Developing or having type 2 diabetes.
Excessive alcohol consumption.
You can keep your triglyceride levels low by losing weight, being more active and eating sensibly, especially by cutting back on alcohol, sugary foods and saturated fats, and eating more fruits, vegetables, pulses and wholegrains.
When To Speak With A Doctor
There are few noticeable symptoms of high cholesterol. Emergency symptoms such as a stroke or heart attack may be the only indicator of damage from high cholesterol. This means that regular monitoring by a doctor is essential.
Most people should get their cholesterol checked with a blood test every 4 to 6 years. Your doctor may recommend more frequent screening if you live with any of the following:
- a history of heart conditions
- family history of high cholesterol
- high blood pressure
Don’t Miss: How Many Strawberries A Day To Lower Cholesterol
How To Lower Cholesterol: Know Your Fats
The American Heart Association recommends that just 25% to 35% of your daily calories come from fats such as those found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils. For healthy people, saturated fat should comprise no more than 7% of your total calories. On a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet, that’s about 140 calories worth of saturated fat. If you need to lower your LDL cholesterol, limit saturated fat to 5% to 6% of calories, or about 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat on a 2,000-calorie diet. Reduce trans fats to less than 1% of your total daily calories. This means avoiding fried foods and many junk foods.
High Cholesterol Levels Can Cause:
- Atherosclerosis narrowing of the arteries.
- Higher coronary heart disease risk an abnormality of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart.
- Heart attack occurs when the supply of blood and oxygen to an area of heart muscle is blocked, usually by a clot in a coronary artery. This causes your heart muscle to die.
- Angina chest pain or discomfort that occurs when your heart muscle does not get enough blood.
- Stroke and mini-stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or vein, interrupting the flow to an area of the brain. Can also occur when a blood vessel breaks. Brain cells begin to die.
- If both blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels are high, the risk of developing coronary heart disease rises significantly.
Also Check: How Much Mg Of Cholesterol A Day
Salsa Pico De Gallo And More
Forget about mayo or ketchup. Get out your chefs knife and start chopping. Throw together fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and other heart-healthy ingredients for fresh dips that make snacking healthier.
Be careful with store-bought salsa, which is often high in sodium. You may need to closely monitor your sodium intake if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
How To Lower Cholesterol: Smart Protein
To reduce cholesterol, limit red meat and eat more fish and lean poultry.
How to Prepare Healthy Proteins
- Trim all fat from meats, and remove all skin from poultry before cooking.
- Broil or bake, don’t fry foods.
- Drain fat from any meats before serving.
- Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs or cold cuts, even those labeled “reduced fat,” as many are still high in saturated fats and calories.
- Oily fish such as salmon or trout are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce triglyceride levels and improve HDL cholesterol levels.
- Soy proteins can also have a beneficial effect and help to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising HDL cholesterol levels.
Read Also: Can High Cholesterol Cause Elevated Liver Enzymes
What Complications Are Possible If You Dont Treat High Cholesterol Levels In Your Blood
The main reason to treat high cholesterol is to prevent or treat coronary heart disease , also called coronary artery disease or CAD. CHD happens when heart is not able to get enough oxygen-rich blood to function well and kills more people in the U.S. than any other cause of death. CHD usually refers to the large arteries, but there is also a condition called coronary microvascular disease that affects the small vessels and causes damage.