How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
In some cases, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medications. For example, it may be enough to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking tobacco products.
Some people also claim that certain herbal and nutritional supplements may help lower cholesterol levels. For instance, such claims have been made about:
- ground flax seed
However, the level of evidence supporting these claims varies. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved any of these products for treating high cholesterol. More research is needed to learn if they can help treat this condition.
Always talk to your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some cases, they might interact with other medications youre taking. Learn more about natural remedies for high cholesterol.
Genetic risk factors for high cholesterol cant be controlled. However, lifestyle factors can be managed.
To lower your risk of developing high cholesterol:
- Eat a nutritious diet thats low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Exercise regularly.
- Dont smoke.
You should also follow your doctors recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If youre at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis. Find out how to get your cholesterol levels checked.
What If I Have High Cholesterol
If a blood test shows you have high cholesterol, talk to your doctor. He or she can give you advice on what you can do to lower your cholesterol like eating less fried food and choosing low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt, and exercising more.
Here are 5 things you can do:
People with high cholesterol might need to take medicine to if these lifestyle changes don’t lower their cholesterol.
Ignore The Claims On The Packaging
Many people base their purchase on the claims manufacturers print on their packaging. Did you know that many of these low-fat and lite products can be high in fat, sugar, calories and salt, and these in excess can lead to hunger, weight gain and disease? 100% natural can also contain a lot of sugar, salt and fat all of which are natural ingredients.
Did you also know that cholesterol is found only in animal products? You may have seen some cholesterol-free claims on packaging of potato chips and vegetable-based snacks. I have seen this even on the sticker labels stuck on avocados!
Claims stated by the manufacturers often dont tell you the whole story. In fact, these health and nutrient can be nutritionally meaningless and misleading.
Never evaluate a product based on the claims on the packaging, and never on a single nutrient or by calories alone.
For example, the calories of a light version and the regular version of ice creams may not differ much. The light version may still pack 4 to 5 grams of fat per serve, and may contain more sugar than the regular version to make up for the lack in texture.
Therefore, dont evaluate a product based on the claim on its packaging, and never on a single nutrient or calories alone.
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Common Causes Of High Cholesterol And What To Do About Them
High cholesterol, a well-known health condition among Americans, is on the decline but remains a threat. The percentage of U.S. adults suffering from high cholesterol dropped by an impressive 6% between 2000 and 2016, from 18.3% down to just 12%. This is a step in a positive direction, but higher-than-recommended cholesterol is still a serious condition and prevention depends on a thorough understanding of its causes. High cholesterol is a key risk factor for heart disease and remains the leading cause of death in the United States.
High cholesterol is largely governed by lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and smoking and that means its both treatable and preventable. The following list will explore the five most common causes of high cholesterol and the best ways to achieve healthy levels.
What Causes High Cholesterol
Your liver produces cholesterol, but you also get cholesterol from food. Eating too many foods that are high in fat can increase your cholesterol level.
Being overweight and inactive also causes high cholesterol. If you are overweight, you most likely have a higher level of triglycerides. If you never exercise and arent active in general, it can lower your HDL .
You family history also affects your cholesterol level. Research has shown that high cholesterol tends to run in families. If you have an immediate family member who has it, you could have it, too.
Smoking also causes high cholesterol. It lowers your HDL .
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Specialist Treating And Preventing High Cholesterol
Our heart specialists at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute help patients successfully prevent and treat high cholesterol. Our preventive measures and treatments for patients with high cholesterol help reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that keeps us healthy and helps our bodies perform important functions. However, too much of it can be harmful. When your cholesterol levels are too high, you have high cholesterol or hyperlipidemia.
Your body has two types of cholesterol. Too much LDL or bad cholesterol can lead to the hardening and blocking of your arteries. In contrast, good cholesterol or HDL, can remove dangerous plaque from your arteries. Hyperlipidemia refers to excessive amounts of LDL or bad cholesterol in your body.
Good Vs Bad Cholesterol
Bad cholesterol, Low-density lipoproteins , can build up in your arteries and lead to health complications. Good cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins , returns your LDL cholesterol to the liver where the body can get rid of it. Your body needs a healthy balance of both good and bad cholesterol.
A diet high in fats increases LDL cholesterol in your blood. If LDL levels become too high or if you dont have enough HDL cholesterol to remove excess LDL, fatty deposits build up in your blood vessels. As a result, it makes it difficult for your body to pump adequate blood supply, creating potentially life-threatening problems impacting the heart or brain.
High cholesterol does not always cause symptoms in fact it typically begins with no symptoms at all. Thats why regular cholesterol screenings are so important regardless if you think you have high cholesterol or not.
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How To Diagnose High Cholesterol
To measure your cholesterol levels, your doctor will use a simple blood test. Its known as a lipid panel. They can use it to assess your levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
To conduct this test, your doctor or other healthcare professional will take a sample of your blood. They will send this sample to a lab for analysis. When your test results become available, they will let you know if your cholesterol or triglyceride levels are too high.
To prepare for this test, your doctor may ask you to avoid eating or drinking anything for at least 12 hours beforehand. Learn more about testing your cholesterol levels.
What Are Triglycerides And Why Do They Matter
Triglycerides are another form of blood fat similar to cholesterol.
Making healthy lifestyle choices can go a long way toward controlling your triglyceride levels.
Some people, though, have an inherited genetic condition called hypertriglyceridemia, which causes high triglyceride levels.
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What Causes High Cholesterol Or Increases Risk
While high cholesterol can run in families, the majority of risk factors for high cholesterol are within your control. These risk factors include:
- Diabetes: High blood sugar leads to higher LDL cholesterol and may damage the lining of your arteries.
- Lack of exercise: Since regular exercise raises HDL cholesterol and reduces LDL cholesterol, if you are physically inactive, you are at risk for high cholesterol.
- Large waist circumference: If you are a man with a waist circumference of 40 inches or more or a woman with a waist circumference of at least 35 inches, your risk for high cholesterol is increased.
- Obesity: A body mass index or BMI of 30 or greater puts you at risk for high cholesterol.
- Poor diet: A diet full of saturated fat, trans-fat and packaged foods can increase your cholesterol levels.
- Smoking: Smoking damages the walls of the blood vessels and can raise their chances of accumulating fatty deposits.
Diet For High Cholesterol: The Importance Of Nutrition
Nutrition plays a key role in all forms of hypercholesterolemia. In fact, in cases of the strong impact of the diet on blood cholesterol values, correcting the diet becomes the first therapy to follow. Add to this the fact that staying active is just as therapeutic. In fact, playing sports, overcoming a sedentary lifestyle, not consuming alcohol and not smoking guarantee a very important plus, not to be underestimated. Eating well, healthy and balanced, cannot be neglected. In fact, this aspect of lifestyle affects especially the waistline.
What not to bring to the table to combat high cholesterol, No to snacks, snacks and sweets
The most harmful elements of all are saturated trans fats, i.e. those contained in margarine, hydrogenated oils, refined vegetable oils, saturated vegetable oils , nuts and processed foods . In fact, they increase the level of LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol, which contributes to the formation, inside the blood vessels, of atherosclerotic plaques, which hinder circulation and increase the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. Furthermore, a reduction in the consumption of trans fats is associated with an increase in HDL cholesterol, which is instead good, as it transports LDL cholesterol to the liver, where it is eliminated. Because of this,
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Importance Of Regular Visits With A Primary Care Physician
High LDL cholesterol is an underdiagnosed issue that many people do not know they have. Since high LDL cholesterol does not show any visible signs or symptoms, you should visit your primary care physician on a regular basis to undergo health screenings and blood tests that can help spot and manage it. By detecting this condition early on, you can reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease and heart attack.
Top 5 Cholesterol Supplements Of 2021
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What To Know About Triglycerides
In addition to cholesterol, you might hear about your triglycerides, another kind of fat found in the bloodstream. Women should pay particular attention to this. A high level of triglycerides seems to predict an even greater risk for heart disease in women compared with men, says Michos.
When you take in more calories than you need, your body converts the extra calories into triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells. Triglycerides are used by the body for energy, but people with excess triglycerides have higher risk of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease. Drinking a lot of alcohol and eating foods containing simple carbohydrates , saturated fats and trans fats contributes to high triglycerides. High levels may also be caused by health conditions such as diabetes, an underactive thyroid, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome or kidney disease.
Triglycerides also circulate in the bloodstream on particles that may contribute to plaque formation. Many people with high triglycerides have other risk factors for atherosclerosis, including high LDL levels or low HDL levels, or abnormal blood sugar levels. Genetic studies have also shown some association between triglycerides and cardiovascular disease.
High Cholesterol: Prevention, Treatment and Research
Substitute Healthy Oils In Place Of Butter And Margarine
Of course, its not always realistic to avoid fats when youre whipping up a tasty meal.
When you do need to add fat for cooking, baking or pan frying, use healthy oils instead of solid fats like butter, margarine, shortening and lard. Solid fats are high in saturated fats, but oils are high in unsaturated fats, which remember are better for you. The American Heart Association recommends using oils that have less than 4 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon .
Many times, its easy to swap a solid fat to a healthier one. Try using olive oil, sunflower oil or grapeseed oil in place of a solid fat.
For example, if youd rather use olive oil than butter, substitute ¾ the amount of butter in a recipe with olive oil. You might also bring out some new, surprising, subtle flavors, too.
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Physical Signs Of High Cholesterol You Should Know About
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is developed naturally in the body. It performs several vital functions like rebuilding walls surrounding the bodys cells and converting basic materials into certain hormones.
You only need a small amount of cholesterol and almost all of them are produced by your body. Most of the cholesterol in your body is produced in your liver. The rest of them come from your diet. This kind of dietary cholesterol is present in foods such as eggs, meat, and dairy products.
If you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, you have high cholesterol. High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. For this reason, knowing the cholesterol levels in your blood is quite important to prevent any future heart disease and blockages of blood vessels.
There are two main types of cholesterol you should be aware of:
- high-density lipoprotein , or good cholesterol
In other words, high levels of LDL cholesterol can cause more plaque accumulation and increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke and other diseases. On the other hand, high levels of HDL cholesterol can actually help prevent heart attacks and strokes. HDL gains its good name by removing LDL cholesterol from the arteries and tissues and bringing it back to the liver where the excessive LDL cholesterol is broken down.
Risk Factors for High LDL Cholesterol
Physical Signs of High Cholesterol Levels
1. Sore Hands and Feet
2. Frequent Tingling
Diet For High Cholesterol: Be Careful What You Bring To The Table
Diet for high cholesterol: how does it work and what role does nutrition play in fighting hypercholesterolemia?
This pathology can have a dietary and a genetic component . In fact, it is estimated that in the last 30 years, the average cholesterol values have increased by 5% in both men and women. In addition, the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia increased from 20 to 35% in men and from 24 to 37% in women.
The causes are not only food but must be read in a lifestyle that is certainly more sedentary and less healthy. Nutrition has an influence of 10-15%, with peaks of 30% in some cases, on cholesterolemia. If you do not want to jeopardize your health, therefore, it is important to learn about which foods are allowed and which are forbidden to bring to the table.
The most suitable food programs for this purpose are the Mediterranean diet and its international declination, the Dash diet, characterized by high consumption of legumes, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, olive oil and from a low intake of red meats and cheeses, suggests the expert Dr Francesco Macrì.
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What Are The Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
The symptoms of high cholesterol may not be specific, and the person may not know that they have high cholesterol. It is a silent condition. Many people may not discover that they have High cholesterol until they suffer from a life-threatening event such as a Heart attackorStroke. This is why a routine check-up, including a blood test, is recommended to detect high cholesterol.
Work With Your Doctor On A Lower Cholesterol Plan
Lowering your cholesterol doesnt mean going it alone. Your primary care doctor is a helpful partner along your journey.
Your doctor can work with you to create an action plan just for you one that combines diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes to help you lower and manage your cholesterol.
For example, losing weight and quitting smoking can be big helpers for lowering cholesterol. Quitting smoking can raise your good HDL cholesterol levels, and losing weight can lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels significantly.
But these two tasks arent easy. Fortunately, your primary care doctor can be a great resource to help you get started and find practical ways to stick with it. Plus, help with quitting smoking and losing weight may already be covered if you have health insurance.
Whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight or just learn more about how your personal health would benefit from lower cholesterol levels, regular check-ins with your doctor are key. They can also perform cholesterol tests the only way to actually measure cholesterol to check your progress and help you make adjustments based on the results.
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