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.
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.
The Best Foods To Raise Your Hdl
Here at Allrecipes, we’re strong believers that all foods fit. As long as you’re not allergic to an ingredient, everything in moderation, we say! So while we’ll never say, “Don’t eat that!” we certainly will shout, “Load up on this!” And these four foods are particularly on our stock-up-now list since they’ve been shown to improve HDL cholesterol levels.
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Food Supplements That Do Not Help With Cholesterol
Many extracts and supplements have been promoted for their overall health benefits and lipid-lowering effects, but do they work?
We reviewed the available scientific research and found that the following supplements had no good evidence to support those claims:
Selenium: Supplements may help lower cholesterol in people with low levels of selenium, but not in people with normal levels of selenium. There is not enough scientific evidence to say that selenium protects against cardiovascular disease.
Calcium: Results here are mixed, but the bottom line is calcium supplementation does not improve cholesterol levels.
Garlic supplements: Raw, powdered, and aged garlic supplements had no effect on cholesterol levels.
Policosanol: This substance, which is extracted from sugar cane wax, did not improve cholesterol.
Coconut oil supplements: There is mixed evidence about the cardiovascular benefits or harm of coconut oil. It is not an evidence-based alternative treatment for high cholesterol levels.
Coconut water: There is no high-quality data about coconut water improving cholesterol levels.
Resveratrol supplements: There is no evidence that these improve cholesterol levels in humans.
Soy isoflavones supplements: Taking supplements of soy isoflavones does not improve cholesterol levels.
Other Conditions And Medications Associated With High Hdl
High HDL is also linked to other conditions, including:
- thyroid disorders
- inflammatory diseases
- alcohol consumption
Sometimes cholesterol-controlling medications can also raise HDL levels. These are usually taken to lower LDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels. Medication types that have been linked to increased HDL levels include:
- bile acid sequestrants, which decrease fat absorption from the foods you eat
- cholesterol absorption inhibitors
- omega-3 fatty acid supplements, which lower triglycerides in the blood, but also increase HDL cholesterol
- statins, which block the liver from creating more cholesterol
Increasing HDL levels is usually a positive side effect in people who have low HDL levels as in most cases, it decreases their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
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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.
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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Peanut Butter And Cholesterol
Many high-fat foods are also high in cholesterol think bacon and full-fat cheese. But being high in fat doesnt necessarily mean cholesterol will follow. As a matter of fact, we get cholesterol only from animal products. So, fatty plant foods such as nuts and avocados have virtually no cholesterol at all!
According to the American Heart Association, nuts are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some of them, like walnuts, are also a good source of omega-3 fats, which are great for your heart. So nut butters, including peanut butter, contain lots of nutrients and no cholesterol, making for a pretty heart-healthy snack.
Another bonus: The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in a 2002 study that women who consumed peanut butter more than five times per week had significantly reduced risks of type 2 diabetes compared to women who rarely ate peanut butter.
Now lets compare: When it comes to grinding these nuts up and spreading them on your sandwich, whats the best bet?
The three most popular nut butters are peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter. Weve compared them side-by-side to find out which packs the most nutritional punch. And it turns out, the race is pretty close.
We compared 1 tablespoon of each unsalted natural nut butter.
With similar calorie counts, nutrient breakdowns, and low saturated fat levels, any one of these nut butters would be a healthful choice, in moderation.
Hdl Cholesterol: ‘good’ Cholesterol
Not all cholesterol is bad. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered “good” cholesterol because it actually works to keep the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol from building up in your arteries. The higher the HDL, the better. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher can help reduce your risk for heart disease. Conversely, HDL levels of 40 mg/dL and lower are considered a high risk-factor for developing heart disease.
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Cholesterol Myths And Facts
Cholesterol can be confusing! Learn answers to common questions about blood cholesterol.
What do your cholesterol numbers mean? Can the foods you eat change your cholesterol levels?
Learn the difference between cholesterol myth and fact. Then commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Commit to getting your cholesterol checked this year so you know your numbers and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Foods To Boost Your Good Cholesterol
These delicious foods and drinks pack a heart-healthy punch.
It’s likely that you’ve heard of the term “cholesterol” before, and you’re not alone if it makes you feel a little confused. From the low-fat diet era to the current day keto-lovers, there seems to be mixed messaging around cholesterol and how it impacts your health.
For starters, let’s define it. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in our blood that our body needs to help make hormones, synthesize vitamin D, digest food and more. Since it’s fat-like and waxy in texture, too much cholesterol in our blood can lead to plaque formation and narrowing of our blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease.
But not all cholesterols is the samethere are two main types: low-density lipoproteins and high-density lipoproteins . LDLs are often referred to as “bad” or “lousy” cholesterol, as they are more likely to accumulate in our blood vessels. HDLs are coined the “good” or “helpful” cholesterol because they pick up excess cholesterol in the blood, including LDLs, and bring it to the liver where it can be broken down and excreted.
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High Hdl Cholesterol Issues
Research published by the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology found that people with high levels of C-reactive proteins after having had a heart attack may process high HDL negatively. C-reactive proteins are produced by your liver in response to high levels of inflammation in your body. Instead of acting as a protective factor in heart health, high HDL levels in these people could instead increase the risk of heart disease.
While your levels may still be in the normal range, your body may process HDL differently if you have this type of inflammation. The study looked at blood drawn from 767 nondiabetic people who had recently had a heart attack. They used the data to predict outcomes for the study participants and found that those with high levels of HDL and C-reactive proteins were a particularly high-risk group for heart disease.
Ultimately, more research needs to be done to determine the risks of high HDL in this particular group of people.
Healthy Eating Tips To Lower Cholesterol
As well as sticking to a varied and healthy diet, try these tips to help you manage your cholesterol:
- Limit takeaway foods to once a week .
- Limit salty, fatty and sugary snack foods to once a week .
- Eat plenty of vegetables aim for 5 serves of vegetables every day. .
- Choose wholegrain breads, cereal, pasta, rice and noodles.
- Snack on plain, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit .
- Include legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, split peas), beans into at least two meals a week. Check food labels and choose the lowest sodium products.
- Use spreads and margarines made from healthy unsaturated fats instead of those made with saturated fat .
- Use healthy oils for cooking some include canola, sunflower, soybean, olive , sesame and peanut oils.
- Use salad dressings and mayonnaise made from oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean, olive , sesame and peanut oils.
- Include 2 or 3 serves of plant-sterol-enriched foods every day .
- Have 2 to 3 portions of oily fish every week. Fish may be fresh, frozen or canned.
- Include up to 7 eggs every week.
- Select lean meat and limit unprocessed red meat to less than 350g per week.
- Choose reduced fat, no added sugar milk, yoghurt, or calcium-added non-dairy food and drinks.
- Limit or avoid processed meats including sausages and deli meats .
If you are having trouble with your cholesterol levels, a dietitian can help you to eat healthily for your specific needs.
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Foods To Eat To Lower Cholesterol
The term cholesterol still causes a lot of confusion. So, what exactly is cholesterol? Cholesterol is in every cell in your body, its made by the liver, and travels in your blood. Cholesterol is a good thing it has many important roles like fat absorption, making vitamin D from the sun, and making hormones. But too much cholesterol can cause problems for some people.
So, there is cholesterol in your blood and in food. Food from animals including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy have cholesterol. However, dietary cholesterol doesnt automatically turn into cholesterol in your blood.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood have been linked to heart disease. People with diabetes are 2-4 times more likely to die from heart disease than someone without diabetes. So, we used to think that dietary cholesterol was the heart disease villain. Newer thinking is that heart disease is about inflammation. What causes inflammation in people is different. Contributors to inflammation include diet, environment, toxins, stress, infections, lack of sleep, and excess body weight. Another cause of inflammation for people with type 2 diabetes is high levels of insulin in the blood or insulin resistance.
Ways To Raise Hdl Cholesterol
Youve probably heard of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol the good and the bad, respectively. But did you know there are effective ways you can raise HDL cholesterol levels and protect your heart health?
HDL cholesterol carries excess cholesterol to your liver so it doesnt build up in your bloodstream. But when LDL cholesterol moves cholesterol throughout your body, it can build up in the walls of the arteries, making them hard and narrow. If you have too little HDL cholesterol and too much LDL, you may be diagnosed with high cholesterol, a condition that can lead to atherosclerosis, angina , heart attack, and stroke.
Read on to find ways to boost HDL cholesterol and the evidence behind them.
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Myth: I Cant Do Anything To Change My Cholesterol Levels
Fact: You can do many things to improve your cholesterol levels and keep them in a healthy range!
- Get tested at least every 5 years .1,2 Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
- Make healthy food choices. Limit foods high in saturated fats. Choose foods naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats. Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at CDCs nutrition, physical activity, and obesity website.
- Be active every day. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. Learn more about physical activity basics and tips.
- Dont smoke or use tobacco products. Smoking damages your blood vessels, speeds up the hardening of the arteries, and greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Learn more about tobacco use and ways to quit at CDCs smoking and tobacco use website.
- Talk with your health care provider about ways to manage your cholesterol if any medicines are given to you to manage your cholesterol, take them as they are prescribed. Learn more about medicines to lower cholesterol.
- Know your family history. If your parents or other immediate family members have high cholesterol, you probably should be tested more often. You could have a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia .
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
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Stop Smoking To Optimize Hdl Cholesterol
Smoking cigarettes can lead to a number of health problems, including lung disease and cancer, and also increases your risk of heart attack. But did you know smoking can also suppress or lower those good cholesterol levels?
Smoking can reduce HDL cholesterol in many ways, including by inhibiting HDL synthesis in the first place, blocking its maturation, and speeding up its clearance and metabolism, Dr. Ahmed says. Quitting smoking can help your HDL synthesis and metabolism to go back to their natural levels so that the HDL can do its job better again.
And research agrees. A study published in September 2013 in the journal Biomarker Research found that ex-smokers had higher HDL cholesterol than smokers, noting: We conclude that quitting smoking increases HDL cholesterol, and that this increase occurs rapidly after quitting, with no clear pattern of change thereafter.
If youre trying to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about the many methods to help you through the process.