This article will discuss what is cholesterol. There is much said about this substance in the press or in advertisements along the lines of must get it lower. However there is more to cholesterol than simply eat this type of food to get it lower. This article will cover the good cholesterol, the bad cholesterol and the ugly consequences should you not heed the warning signs that your level is too high.
Cholesterol is necessary for our bodies to function normally. We need a certain amount in the body for a variety of reasons.
The most common use of cholesterol is to keep the cell walls strong. It is also used to convert sunlight to vitamin D when skin comes into contact with the sun.
In terms of structure, it is a white color with a waxy consistency. Many people think of it as similar to ear wax. Most of the cholesterol that the body needs is created in the liver. The rest, around 20% is taken from the foods that we eat.So we need cholesterol in our body’s but too much is not good. The ideal amount of cholesterol is less than 200 mg per deciliter of blood. From 200 ” 239 it is borderline high. Over 240 is high and something needs to be done about it.
What Is Bad Cholesterol.
The bloodstream transports energy, vitamins and nutrients to the rest of the body. It does the same thing for cholesterol.
However cholesterol is not soluble in blood so it needs to attach to something that can be transported by the blood.
This transport is called a lipoprotein. Cholesterol leaves the liver to be used throughout the body on the lipoproteins known as low density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol). It is thought of as bad because it moves cholesterol out into the body where it can have negative affects if there is too much of it.
What is Good Cholesterol
Good cholesterol is the opposite of bad cholesterol. It acts as a transport that moves cholesterol back to the liver from the rest of the body. This can thus reduce the disease producing consequences of too much cholesterol in the body. Once the cholesterol in returned to the liver it is excreted out of the body. Good cholesterol is known as a high density lipoprotein.
The Ugly Fate Should Warnings Go Unheeded
Too much cholesterol means that it can’t be used as intended. With too much bad cholesterol in the bloodstream acting as a transport, cholesterol is transported to the artery walls where it may stick. This is called plaque.
The build up of plaque on the inner walls of the arteries will reduce the diameter of the arteries. This has consequences for the heart as it has to work harder to push blood throughout the body. It can also have adverse affects on the extremities of the body as they do not get enough blood to stay healthy. As the walls of the arteries thicken the person is said to have a condition known as atherosclerosis.
The thicker the plaque gets the more at risk you are to life threatening conditions. For example. If plaque breaks free from the walls and causes a blockage then a blood clot could occur leading to a stroke. Having atherosclerosis for any length of time will put excess strain on the heart and could lead to heart disease or heart attacks.
How To Reduce Cholesterol
A proper blood test has shown that you have an elevated blood cholesterol level. Your doctor will advise you to get this
reading down to a normal or below normal level. He/she will give you advice on how to do this and may prescribe medication.
Here are a few ways to lower cholesterol without making any huge changes in your lifestyle.
On a very general level what you have to do is take on moderately more exercise than you re currently doing. Build on this exercise each week until you are taking at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Start off small by taking a walk everyday.
Walk to the train station or bus stop that you catch for work. Take a flight of stairs rather than an elevator. Simple things that don’t cause to much distress.
Ideally you want to try to plan some form of exercise first thing in the morning or after work. I think first thing is best as it sets you up for the rest of the day but this is not always possible with children to prepare for school and other household duties. Any form of exercise has been shown to reduce cholesterol.
Next, you have to moderate your eating habits. This applies mostly to products that can bring animal fats into the body.
This means dairy and meat products.
If you generally have full fat milk then look at trying a low fat alternative or even a soy milk. Low fat milk now comes in all sorts of varieties that claim to keep all the minerals and vitamins in but take the fat out. They are worth a try.
If you have a sweet tooth and are partial to ice cream, why not swap it for a fruit sorbet. What you are trying to get away from is foods that have a lot of saturated fat in them. While dairy is a great source of many vitamins and proteins, you can go with fat free versions and still get the good stuff.
Red meat and pork also bring animal fat into the body. Try lean cuts of this type of meat of meat that is less fatty like chicken or fish. Avoid pork crackling and remove chicken or duck skin before cooking.
Avoid deep fried foods and oily food. Yes, that means French fries. Any ready made products that were deep fried should be skipped. These products are often high in trans and saturated fats that do nothing but drive your cholesterol through the roof. To reduce cholesterol, go with broiled, grilled , steamed or baked meats. Make French fires or any favorite deep fried food an occasional treat. Try fresh food like salads, fruit or steamed vegetables instead.
The need to lower cholesterol is a real one. Far too many of us get too little exercise and enjoy eating far too many things that are not what our bodies need. To reduce cholesterol, it is imperative we begin to reclaim our lives with moderator daily exercise and by changing the way we eat. In fact, we can make these changes with only minor adjustments to the way we live our lives. Once we have begun to change our habits, the battle to reduce cholesterol, will already have been halfway won.
foods to lower cholesterol
Starting a diet that concentrates on low fat produce can help you lower your cholesterol score and ultimately prevent poor
health and conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Of course starting a diet is not a push button solution to your cholesterol problems. A diet should be part of a co-ordinated strategy that includes regular exercise and the cutting down or quitting of bad habits like smoking and alcohol consumption. Sticking with the program is often tough but is worth it in the long run. Not only will you prevent serious illnesses like heart disease but you will also feel healthier
and be able to lead a more active life. Here are some ideas when next you do your grocery shopping to ensure you get low fat , low cholesterol food that will ensure that you lower you cholesterol level and keep it low.
Most Cholesterol reducing diets stress that to reduce your cholesterol score you have to cut out foods that are high in fats and other cholesterol causing agents. This means that, in terms of protein, you have to find alternatives to red meat and pork products. The most popular suggestions tend to be poultry, especially chicken, and fish that are noted as low cholesterol food. In terms of chicken and other meats it is always a good idea to remove all skin and fat (or as much as is practical) before cooking.
Whilst most diets have particular themes, ultimately they should teach people how to eat a balanced diet and concentrate on teaching what constitutes a balanced diet. It should define the four main food groups and the affects that they have on the body. By doing this they can give the dieter information they can use to adapt or change the diet when they have attained a certain goal.
So when you go to the grocery shop try to get a whole range of foods. Include elements of the carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, proteins, dairy products and maybe the odd sweet treat once in a while.
Many food manufacturers now have quite simple labeling that determines the products levels of fats, sugars and other things
like minerals and vitamins. Keep an eye on these labels and try to select products that are low in fat and sugars. You don’t have to be slavishly devoted to these labels however, simply use them as a guide. Try to include as much fresh produce as possible. This means vegetables and fruit.
Finally, when going on a low cholesterol diet, you will want to try and avoid buying oils and butters that are too high in saturated fat. Instead, choose a low cholesterol food like margarine or olive oil as replacement for butter and grease.
Almonds Reduce LDL Cholesterol and Help Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
The almond is believed to have originally been cultivated in Asia and North Africa, and it was Spanish missionaries who
first brought almonds to California. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United States is the largest producer of almonds in the world.
The almond featured significantly in different cultures throughout history. The Romans would shower the bride and groom with almonds as a blessing of fertility. In Egypt, almonds were used in bread that was served exclusively to the Pharaohs. There are also several references to the almond in the Bible.
The health benefits of almonds include reduced LDL cholesterol, reduced oxidative damage from smoking, and stabilized blood sugar levels after eating.
In recent studies it has been demonstrated that almonds significantly reduce LDL cholesterol, which may lessen the risk of heart disease.
In a randomized crossover trial involving 22 men and women to determine the effect of almonds on LDL cholesterol, half of their habitual fat was replaced with either whole almonds or almond oil for 6-wk periods, and LDL cholesterol was significantly decreased.
Another study of forty-five men and women who followed one of three diets; almond-based, olive oil-based, or dairy-based for 4 weeks showed reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in the almond based diet. Within group analysis revealed that the almond-based diet induced significant reductions of LDL cholesterol.
Cholesterol Reducing Foods
Plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and extra virgin olive oil are heart healthy and can be utilized to reduce cholesterol. By changing the way you eat total cholesterol can be reduced by 5 to 10 percent. Eat foods that are monounsaturated fats like nuts and certain oils (not saturated fats all animal products.) and that have soluble fiber. The soluble fiber found in fruits and veggies reduces absorption of cholesterol in your intestines, then binds bile (which contains cholesterol) and dietary cholesterol so that the body excretes it.
FRUIT 4 servings/day Great for Reduction: apples, prunes, pears. Soluble fiber.
VEGGIES 5 servings/day Great for Reduction: leafy green, avocado, garlic, barley, beans. Soluble fiber.
WHOLE GRAINS 7-8 serving /day (1 serving size is 1 ounce) also Barley and Oats, Bran!!! Soluble fiber.
Fish, Lean Meat, Poultry 2 servings/day. 3-4 ounces per serving (Eat more Fish which contains healthy omega 3 and 6 oils.)
Nuts about 1 tbsp 4 times a week. Walnuts, Almonds. (Monounsaturated fats.)
OILS 3 tbsp per day Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a monounsaturated fat and contributes to raising HDL (healthy cholesterol) and causes LDL cholesterol to be reduced.
Water 8 glasses / day
REDUCE LDL (Lousy Cholesterol)
The best way to reduce LDL and triglyceride levels is through Aerobic Exercise. By doing so you are telling your body what to do with the extra calories and creating healthy blood flow in your blody. This can be done by swimming, walking, jogging, rollerbladding. The idea is to move cholesterol deposits by increasing your heart rate, which will in turn cause blood vessels to dialate and blood to push through the body.
Reduce bread servings to 6 servings a day and alcohol consumption to every other day can both play a factor in reducing triglyceride levels.
Increase HDL (Healthy Cholesterol)
Food choices also play a critical part in reducing LDL and increasing HDL. By adding extra virgin olive oil, canola, avocado and peanut oils to your salads, cooking and pastas, you provide your vessels with the necessary elasticity that they need.
These are healthy mono and poly unsaturated fats. They are fluid so they will not clot your arteries the way that saturated fats found in butters and dressings will.
List of Cholesterol and Triglyceride Reducing Foods
Maybe applied to any Meal Plan of choice. Before doing your grocery shopping choose five foods from each catagory to buy and put in your refrigerator
Apricots: Dried, cooked, unsweetened 1/2 cup
Banana, raw 1 medium
Cantaloupe, raw About 1/2 cup diced
Grapefruit juice: Canned or frozen, unsweetened 3/4 cup
Fresh 3/4 cup Honeydew melon, Melon balls (cantaloupe and honeydew),
Nectarine, raw 1 medium
Orange juice: 6 ounces
Peaches: Dried, cooked, unsweetened 1/2 cup
Pears: Dried, uncooked 1/2 cup
Pomegranate, raw 1 medium
Prunes, dried, cooked, unsweetened 1/2 cup
Prune juice, unsweetened 1/2 cup
Raisins 1/4 cup
Watermelon, raw About 1 3/4 cups diced
Artichoke, globe (french), cooked 1 medium
Asparagus, cooked 1/2 cup
Beans: Green, cooked 1/2 cup
Lima, cooked 1/2 cup
Cauliflower, cooked 1/2 cup
Chard, cooked 1/2 cup
Corn, cooked 1/2 cup
Mushrooms, cooked 1/2 cup
Parsnips, cooked 1/2 cup
Peas, green, cooked 1/2 cup
Plantain, green or ripe, boiled 1 medium
Potato: Baked or boiled, with or w/o skin 1 medium
Pumpkin, cooked 1/2 cup
Rutabaga, cooked 1/2 cup
Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup
Squash, winter, cooked, mashed 1/2 cup
Sweet-potato: Baked 1 medium or Boiled 1 medium
Tomatoes: Raw 1 med., Stewed 1/2 c., Tomato juice, canned 3/4 c. Tomato-vegetable juice or tomato juice cocktail, canned 3/4c.
MEAT, POULTRY, FISH
Laura’s Meatis a nice lean meat that will be beneficial to reducing LDL while obtaining protein.
Meat and Poultry Beef: Brisket, braised, lean only 3 ounces
Ground; extra lean, lean, or regular; baked or broiled 1 patty%0