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
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:
What Are Normal Cholesterol Levels For Men
Just like children, certain risk factors like diet, genes, and exercise can alter cholesterol levels for men. Here are the normal cholesterol levels for men :
- Total cholesterol: 125 mg/dL to 200 mg/dL
- Non-HDL cholesterol: less than 130 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol: 40 mg/dL or higher
Safe Blood Cholesterol Levels
Health authorities recommend that cholesterol levels should be no higher than 5.5 mmol per litre if there are no other risk factors present. If there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking and high blood pressure or pre-existing cardiovascular disease, then the aim for the LDL levels would be less than 2 mmol/l. Approximately half of all adult Australians have a blood cholesterol level above 5 mmol/l. This makes high blood cholesterol a major health concern in Australia.
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How Fat And Cholesterol In Food Affect Blood Cholesterol Levels
The types of fat in the diet help determine the amount of total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. The types and amount of carbohydrate in the diet also play a role. Cholesterol in food matters, too, but not nearly as much.
- The discovery half a century ago that high blood cholesterol levels were strongly associated with an increased risk for heart disease triggered numerous warnings to avoid foods that contain cholesterol, especially eggs and liver. However, scientific studies show a weak relationship between the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and his or her blood cholesterol levels
- In studies of more than 80,000 female nurses, Harvard researchers found that consuming about an egg a day was not associated with higher risk of heart disease. However, people who have heart disease or diabetes should monitor egg consumption.
For most people, the amount of cholesterol eaten has only a modest impact on the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. For some people, though, blood cholesterol levels rise and fall very strongly in relation to the amount of cholesterol eaten. For these responders, avoiding cholesterol-rich foods can have a substantial effect on blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, at this point there is no way other than by trial and error to identify responders from non-responders to dietary cholesterol.
Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
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Factors That Affect Cholesterol Levels
Several factors can affect your cholesterol levels. This includes age and gender, diet, weight, exercise, and genes. For starters, its normal for cholesterol levels to rise as we get older. Women also tend to have lower cholesterol levels than men. That is until they reach menopause. After that, womens LDL levels often rise and the HDL may drop.
Further, being overweight and lack of exercise can increase your triglycerides. However, simply being more active and managing a healthy weight will help lower your triglycerides and raise your HDL.
What you eat plays a big role in your cholesterol levels. Consuming saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol can all increase your cholesterol levels. Finally, if high cholesterol runs in your family, you may be at a greater risk for developing it.
What About Taking A Drug To Reduce My Cholesterol Level
If you stay on a low-fat diet for three to six months but still have not reached your goal, talk to your doctor about taking a medicine to reduce your cholesterol level.
When you take a cholesterol-lowering medicine, try to take it every day at about the same time. The drop in your cholesterol level caused by the drug lasts only one or two days after you stop taking the medicine.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any changes in your body that might be a side effect from the medicine. Also, talk to your doctor if you are worried about taking the medicine.
If the cholesterol medicine does not help reduce your LDL level enough after several months of treatment, your doctor may increase the dose. Changing to a different cholesterol medicine can also help.
Another way to make the cholesterol medicine work would be to add a second medicine to your treatment. Your doctor can try different treatments to find which one works for you. Even if you are taking a medicine to lower your cholesterol, it’s still important to follow a heart-healthy diet.
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How Often To Get Tested
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , most healthy adults should get their cholesterol checked every four to six years.
Your risk factors also determine how often your cholesterol should be checked. Adults who have a history of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, or obesity need more frequent readings, as do all adults as they age.
Children should have their cholesterol checked at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between 17 and 20 years of age. If a child has a family history of high cholesterol, heart disease, or is overweight or obese, their pediatrician may recommend getting checked sooner and more often.
What Foods Raise Bad Cholesterol
What foods raise bad cholesterol? Saturated and trans fat and cholesterol from foods increase your bad cholesterol. Foods that can increase your bad LDL cholesterol are animal fats such as poultry skin, red meat fat, egg yolk and full-fat dairy.
What is the difference between good and bad cholesterol? Bad cholesterol is the low-density lipoprotein . The main difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol is that good cholesterol takes LDL out of the blood, preventing the buildup of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries whereas bad cholesterol builds up on the walls of the arteries, causing atherosclerosis.
Can good cholesterol outweigh the bad? Myth #3: If HDL or good cholesterol is high enough, it can outweigh any bad cholesterol present. However, having naturally high levels of good cholesterol may not protect one from heart attack or stroke if other risk factors are present.
What are the good and bad cholesterol? Good cholesterol and bad cholesterol are the two types of cholesterol that occur in the body. Good cholesterol is the high-density lipoprotein . Bad cholesterol is the low-density lipoprotein .
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Where Can I Find More Information About The Treatment Of High Cholesterol
Ask your doctor where you can find information on cholesterol. Your library may have books on high cholesterol and heart disease. The Web sites of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association have good information. Their addresses are and .
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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.
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Cholesterol: The Good The Bad And The Unhealthy
Cholesterol is a type of fat in our bodies. It helps us do a lot of things: build cells, digest food, and make hormones.
While cholesterol is needed for our body to function properly, too much of it can be bad. High cholesterol can cause serious problems in our blood, like clots, plus heart and brain issues.
MedlinePlus has released new health topic pages on cholesterol, such as How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet, to help you better understand and control your cholesterol.
This Q and A features tips from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and MedlinePlus.
Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
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What Are Hdl And Ldl
HDL and LDL are two types of lipoproteins.They are a combination of fat and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. HDL and LDL have different purposes:
- HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
- LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries.
Ldl Cholesterol Ratio From Good To Bad
Now on to the LDL cholesterol, which is the bad stuff that can cause serious problems if it getsout of control.
Here is what you should think when your doctor tells you:
- Your LDL cholesterol is lower than 100Yipee! I have been doing everything I can to stay healthy, and it is reflected in my very low cholesterol.
- Your LDL cholesterol is between 100 and 129Hmm, okay-ish but I might have to start being careful of what I eat in order to avoid causing my cholesterol levels to get any higher.
- Your LDL cholesterol is between 100 and 159Im getting into dangerous ground here. I had better dust off my sweat pants and start doing more regular exercise.
- Your LDL cholesterol is between 159 and 189If I dont start being very careful and cutting back on everything that could cause high cholesterol, I am in danger of a serious heart problem.
- Your LDL cholesterol is higher than 190I had better get on it right away before I keel over from a heart attack or stroke on my way out of the doctors office.
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What Is Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol moves in the body combined with proteins. This combination of cholesterol and proteins is called lipoproteins. The low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol is called bad cholesterol. High levels of this cholesterol increase risk for heart diseases and stroke.
When you have high levels of LDL cholesterol in the body, the LDL cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of the blood vessels forming a plaque. The continuous cholesterol build-up or a plaque narrows the inside of the blood vessels with time. The narrowed blood vessel hampers the blood supply to the concerned organ. Thus, when the plaque is present in the heart, it can cause angina or a heart attack. Plaque build-up in the brain can cause a stroke.
Another type of cholesterol is HDL cholesterol. It is also called good cholesterol as it absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then removes the cholesterol from the body. HDL cholesterol, thus, can lower your risk for heart diseases and stroke.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
If testing shows you have high cholesterol, you may want to ask your doctor these questions at your next visit.
1. What are the dangers of having high cholesterol? Can other problems develop?
2. What could have caused my cholesterol to be too high? Is it inherited?
3. Are there things I can do at home or in my life to reduce my cholesterol?
4. Is medicine necessary? Are there alternative treatments?
5. If medicine is needed, how does the medicine work?
6. How long can I take medicine? What are the side effects? Is long-term use harmful?
7. How can exercise help to lower my cholesterol?
8. Where can I learn more about how to live with high cholesterol?
9. What changes should I make to the way I eat?
10. How often do I need to get my cholesterol level checked?
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The Risks Of High Cholesterol
Managing your cholesterol levels is important because high cholesterol can lead to a serious condition known as atherosclerosis. This can happen when high cholesterol is left untreated, causing plaque to build up in your arteries.
Over time, plaque build-up can narrow your arteries, limiting blood flow. This can even put you at risk for developing blood clots. Atherosclerosis also puts you at risk for life-threatening complications like a stroke, heart attack, chronic kidney disease, peripheral vascular disease, and angina.
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:
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Why Cholesterol Matters For Women
Ah, cholesterol and triglycerides. We hear about them all the time. Even foods that might seem good for you on the surface, like fruit-filled yogurt or bran muffins, can contribute to abnormal levels if they contain too much saturated fat or refined sugar, says Erin Michos, M.D., associate director of preventive cardiology at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease.
Whats more, many women are at risk for high cholesterol and dont realize it. Approximately 45 percent of women over the age of 20 have a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dl and above, which is considered elevated but a survey by the American Heart Association found that 76 percent of women say they dont even know what their cholesterol values are, Michos says.
Scarier still: Triglycerides, a type of blood fat typically measured alongside cholesterol, are even more risky in women compared with men. This is a problem because womens cholesterol levels can fluctuate quite a bit after menopause and tend to increase with age, putting us at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Knowing your cholesterol numbers and how to control them is a big step toward staying healthy.