Limiting Saturated And Trans Fats
Here are some ways to lower your intake of saturated and trans fats:
- Maintain a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts. Also limit red meat and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.
- Opt for naturally occurring unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil.
- Look for processed foods made with unhydrogenated oil rather than saturated fat or hydrogenated vegetable oils.
- Use soft margarine as a substitute for butter and choose soft margarines over harder stick forms. Look for 0 g trans fat on the Nutrition Facts label.
- Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods high in trans fat. Dont eat them often.
- Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. These foods are very high in fat, and its likely to be trans fat.
- Limit fried fast food. Commercial shortening and deep-frying fats are still made by hydrogenation and contain saturated and trans fats.
Consider using a food diary to keep track of what you eat. Its a handy way to evaluate the healthy, not-so-healthy and unhealthy foods youre making a part of your everyday diet.
What Is The Right Level Of Cholesterol
Like most things in the body, optimal health is a matter of having neither too much nor too little cholesterol. The right amount is personal, and it depends on our genes, diet, age, and lifestyle.
Here is an interesting chart plotting causes of death worldwide along with cholesterol levels. The chart shows a sharp increase in mortality with low cholesterol levels and with really high cholesterol levels. One reason for the high mortality rates with low cholesterol is that cholesterol helps protect against infectious diseases.
Dont like the charts? A large 10-year study out of Norway found the lowest mortality rates occurred in people with cholesterol levels between ~190 to 270 mg/dl .
While a wide range of cholesterol seems to be linked with lower mortality in epidemiological studies, the range published by the CDC is quite a bit smaller.
The CDC range for healthy cholesterol is:
- Total cholesterol: Under 200 mg/dL is normal
- LDL cholesterol: Under 100 mg/dL is normal
- HDL cholesterol: Best to have more than 40 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: Normal is below 150 mg/dL
These ranges vary in other countries, and the normal level changes periodically. For example, according to a JAMA article, normal cholesterol ranged from 240 mg/dL in 1986 and up to 260 mg/dL in 1983.
Is High Ldl Cholesterol Really Symptomless
Doctors find that high cholesterol is often difficult to diagnose, especially in young people as there are usually no really symptoms to alert the individual to a problem.
There are a couple of symptoms people may notice, but again these are not common.
- Pain Although fairly rare, it is possible for people with high cholesterol to experience pain in their legs and arms. This is usually due to a build up of cholesterol in the blood, which is then causing a problem in the arteries.
- Chest pain Again, as a result of a build up of cholesterol in the arteries, individuals with high cholesterol may find they experience pain their chest, also called angina pectoris. If you do experience pain in your chest area, you should seek advice from a doctor immediately. Do not assume it is a result of high LDL cholesterol.
- Heart Problems In cases of extremely high LDL cholesterol, there is the risk that the individual will suffer from severe heart palpitations. This, coupled with hardening of the arteries can lead to heart attacks and even death.
- Skin problems In a small number of cases, high LDL levels can cause changes in a persons complexion with small fatty pockets forming on the skin.
If you have any concerns about your cholesterol level, regardless of whether you have suffered from any symptoms or not, you can consult with your doctor who will organize the appropriate tests.
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What Is High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is when there’s too much bad cholesterol and/or not enough good cholesterol in your blood.
This picture shows what it looks like if you have low cholesterol, normal cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels.
Sometimes health professionals talk about the terms dyslipidaemia and hyperlipidaemia. Both are clinical terms that mean your levels of cholesterol are outside the normal range.
Symptoms of high cholesterol
You won’t know if you have high cholesterol because it doesn’t usually have symptoms. The only way to know is to have a blood test.
Why does high cholesterol matter?
When your cholesterol is too high it can build up as plaque in your arteries. If the plaque gets too big, or breaks off, it can cause a heart attack and stroke. This risk also increases when your triglycerides are too high.
Your doctor will use the results of your blood test and your other heart attack risk factors to decide whether you need medication to lower your cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
Hereditary Cause Of High Cholesterol
You can inherit this high cholesterol trait from your parents. Family history will be a giveaway for this familial hypercholesterolemia predisposition.
If one or both of your parents, a brother or a sister has this condition, you too, are likely to develop this disorder and it can further put you at a high risk of premature cardiac complications if you do take care of it.
Family history is a warning sign and cautions that you are at a greater risk of developing high dangerous cholesterol levels.
People with high cholesterol due to hereditary causes have extremely high cholesterol levels of 300 milligrams per deciliter or higher. Such people may show symptoms such as deposits of cholesterol over their tendons or under their eyelids .
Early diagnosis and management is the key to reducing the risk.
Unfortunately, estimates tell us that 90% of people with familial hypercholesterolemia are undiagnosed and harbor the risk.
Fortunately, the hereditary cause of high cholesterol is rare. Its incidence is not so high familial hypercholesterolemia occurs in roughly 1 in 500 people worldwide if there is family history from only one parent.
If both the parents have high cholesterol, the chances of their child developing this disorder is about 1:1,000,000
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Tests For High Ldl Cholesterol
There are several different tests doctors use to check for high LDL cholesterol levels
- Direct LDL Test This test is purely to measure your LDL levels and does not test or check anything else. This test can be carried out at any time of the day, regardless of whether you have eaten or not.
- Fasting Cholesterol Test This type of test measures HDL and LDL cholesterol, as well as fats and something known as triglycerides.
- Simple Cholesterol Test This is the test most commonly carried out by the doctor in his surgery, the results of which will determine whether the person requires any further testing. This test is basic and simply measures cholesterol level, whether you have eaten before the test or not will have no bearings on the results.
Fruits Along With Berries
The benefits of fruits for a healthy heart cannot be counted on fingers. Yes, it does a lot more than you would believe it can.
Rich in soluble fibers, fruits curb the urge to eat more.
One such fiber, pectin is linked with low LDL cholesterol levels and is profusely found in citrus fruits. For instance, grapes, strawberries, apples, and pears.
Moreover, theyre full of flavonoids, a compound is known to bring down the rate of inflammation.
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Lack Of Physical Activity
Certainly related to the above, insufficient physical activity can also drive LDL higher. The good news, however, is that even modest increases in the amount of exercise you get can help a great deal. Ideally, doctors may want you getting up to 90 minutes a day of physical activity however, even 30 to 45 minutes regularly can be helpful.
At bare minimum, the surgeon general recommends that adults get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise every week. This can include:
How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to:
- a standard can of 4% beer
- a small glass of wine
- a small single shot of spirits
If you have high cholesterol or you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or take up running it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.
You could try:
Read more about the benefits of exercise.
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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.
Monitoring Intake Of Fat And Cholesterol
Dietary fat and cholesterol are necessary components for a healthy diet. Though, when consumed in excess, they may be harmful to the body and increase ones risk for obesity, atherosclerosis, and heart disease. Keep in mind, however, that dietary cholesterol does not have as much of an effect on blood cholesterol as saturated fat. It is important to regulate ones intake of dietary fat in order to regulate blood LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels.
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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.
Life After High Cholesterol
Unfortunately, for a small number of people the only way they can control their LDL cholesterol level is by taking medication, known as statins, for the rest of their life.
However, it is possible in the majority of cases for individuals to reduce their cholesterol through lifestyle changes on their own.
Avoiding high cholesterol foods and taking part in regular exercise will help maintain a healthy cholesterol level, as well as improve an individuals overall health.
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Make The Changes Worth Making
If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle changes is a great first step to lower your risk of heart disease. If those steps dont reduce your risk enough, your doctor may prescribe medications to help.
Remember: Making even modest changes now can help to prevent significant medical issues later. Do all you can to reduce your risk for the serious effects of heart attack and stroke.
Genetic Variants That Affect Cholesterol Levels:
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The PCSK9 gene codes for an enzyme involved in cholesterol transport, interacting with the LDL receptors. .
Genetic variants that cause lower LDL-C and lower risk of heart disease.
Check your genetic data for rs11591147 R46L:
- G/G: typical
- C/T: carrier of a familial hypercholesterolemia mutation
Members: Your genotype for rs121908324 is .
The ABCA1 gene encodes a transporter for moving cholesterol back out of cells to be eliminated.
Check your genetic data for rs2230806 :
- C/C: typical
- C/T: slightly increased relative risk of coronary artery disease statins may not work quite as well
- T/T: slightly increased relative risk of coronary artery disease statins may not work quite as well
Members: Your genotype for rs2230806 is .
G-protein estrogen receptor, which interacts with PCSK9 and the LDL receptor, can be an important player in womens cholesterol levels.
Check your genetic data for rs11544331 :
- C/C: typical
- A/C: decreased receptor function, increased LDL-C especially in women
- A/A: decreased receptor function, increased LDL-C especially in women
Members: Your genotype for rs11544331 is .
A genetic variant in the HMGCR gene affects how well people respond to statins.
Check your genetic data for rs3846662 :
- A/A: typical
- A/G: statins may not work as well
- G/G: statins may not work as well
Members: Your genotype for rs3846662 is .
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Triglycerides In Your Blood
In addition to cholesterol, your blood also contains a type of fat called triglycerides, which are stored in your bodys fat deposits. Hormones release triglycerides to make energy between meals.
When you eat, your body converts any extra energy it doesnt need right away into triglycerides.
Like cholesterol, your body needs triglycerides to work properly. However, there is evidence to suggest that some people with high triglycerides are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
If you regularly eat more energy than you need, you may have high triglycerides .
What Are Unsaturated Fats
Unsaturated fats are considered the healthiest fats because they improve cholesterol, help reduce inflammation , and help decrease the overall risk of developing heart disease. The main source of unsaturated fats are plant-based foods. These fats are usually liquid at room temperature. There are two types of unsaturated fat: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
Monounsaturated fats are considered one of the healthiest sources of fat in the diet. These fats should make up most of your daily fat intake. Good sources of monounsaturated fats include:
- Olive, canola and peanut oils.
- Most nuts, nut oils and nut butters .
Good sources of Polyunsaturated Fats include:
- Safflower oil.
- Flax oil and flax seeds.
- Sunflower oil.
- Canola Oil.
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Iii Sample Research On Alcohol And Cholesterol
Researchers made a study using three independent general Japanese populations. The total number of male subjects was 2,289. The number of females was 1,940. Thus, the total number was 4,229. Their mean age was 63.3.
Alcohol consumption was positively associated with HDL but negatively with LDL level.
The researchers conclusion was simple. Alcohol consumption has a causal role in not only increasing HDL cholesterol levels but also decreasing LDL cholesterol levels.1
Postmenopausal women participated in an eight-week controlled diet experiment. The control group drank no alcohol. One group consumed one drink per day. The third group had two drinks daily. The energy provided by the three diets was the same. After the diet, the researchers tested the HDL and LDL levels. Then they compared the latter groups to those of the control group.
Women who had one drink daily had lower LDL levels. Having two daily drinks did not significantly reduce them further. One daily drink marginally increased HDL. However, two daily drinks greatly raised HDL levels.2
Other researchers found better HDL levels among nonsmoking men and women who had at least seven drinks weekly. Then the researchers compared them to nonsmoking abstainers. The participants averaged 32 years of age.
Drinking in moderation has a positive affect while smoking appears to have a negative affect on HDL levels.3
What Are Saturated Fats
Saturated fats are generally solid or waxy at room temperature and are most often found in animal products and tropical oils. The following foods contain saturated fats:
- Fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb, veal, and the skin of poultry.
- Hot dogs, bacon and high-fat luncheon meats, such as salami and bologna.
- Full fat and processed cheeses, cream cheese.
- High-fat dairy products, such as whole milk, cream, half and half, butter and sour cream.
- Lard, bacon fat, sauces and gravies made from animal fat.
- Most fried foods and fast foods.
- Tropical oils – palm, palm kernel and coconut.
- Baked goods made with lard, butter or tropical oils.
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Starches Grains And Legumes
Make half of your grains whole grains. The amount you need each day depends on your age, gender and calorie needs.
- Choose low-fat baked goods , brown rice, whole-grain pasta, corn, baked potatoes, dried peas and beans, whole-grain breads and cereals.
- Limit pies, cakes, pastries, muffins, doughnuts, croissants, quick breads, cookies, crackers, granola, chips, fried foods.