is most commonly known by the lipoproteins that carry it in the blood. HDL and
LDL are two most commonly known lipoproteins because they are coined “good” and
“bad” cholesterol. HDL or good cholesterol helps reduce the risk for heart
disease and arthrosclerosis because it removes excess cholesterol from the
blood stream and excretes it through the liver. LDL, the bad cholesterol is
more prominent in the body mainly due to the excess cholesterol we take in
through the food that we eat. LDL gets stuck in the blood vessels and becomes
the plaque, which causes artery blockage. Therefore LDL increases the risk for
heart disease, arthrosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
our diet plays a major role in how much cholesterol we take in, it is the first
place to look at when determining how to reduce cholesterol levels. Cholesterol
comes from animal sterols. Therefore cholesterol mainly comes from dairy, meat,
poultry, eggs, fish and seafood.
So changing your diet is the number one way to reduce your fat and
cholesterol intake. This doesn’t mean you have to become a vegetarian or
completely cut out foods you like to eat. However, changing your daily intake
of meat, poultry and dairy can reduce your cholesterol intake. It is
recommended to take in 200mg or less to reduce your cholesterol levels.
specific foods have been proven to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk
for heart related diseases. High fiber foods have shown to reduce LDL levels in
the body. Most people don’t get enough fiber in their diet on a regular basis.
Foods high in fiber include oats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. To notice a
reduction in LDL cholesterol it is recommended to eat between 5-10 grams of
soluble fiber a day. Omega-3 fatty acids are also a great reducer of
cholesterol. Fish is a great source of fatty acids. Recommendations are to eat
at least 2 servings per week. Some of the fish with the highest levels of
omega-3’s are halibut, salmon, tuna, sardines and lake trout. Nuts are also
another great source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nuts such as almonds,
hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts are all
great sources of fatty acids. Eating a handful a day or about 1.5 ounces can
reduce your cholesterol and your risk for heart disease. Avoid nuts covered in
salt or sugar and remember that although good for the heart they are high in
calories, so watch how much you eat. Lastly monounsaturated fats found in
canola oil, olive oil and avocado oil also reduce the LDL cholesterol. Also
remember with these oils are high in calories so limit your daily intake to 2
tablespoons. To increase the affect of lowering cholesterol use extra virgin
olive oil because it is less processed leaving the rich antioxidants in the
you have changed your diet but your cholesterol is still high, where do you go
from here? Even though your diet is a contributing factor to your LDL
cholesterol, your weight is also an important factor that adds to your
cholesterol levels. By carrying around excess weight you are putting yourself
at risk for all sorts of health problems including high cholesterol. It’s time
to get off your lazy butt and exercise. Exercise not only has been proven to
lower LDL cholesterol but it actually increases HDL or good cholesterol. Not
only does it strengthen the heart and lungs, it decreases the risk for heart
attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. Just by losing that extra 10 pounds
you can reduce your cholesterol as well as reducing your risk for potential
health problems in the future.
Thirty to 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day has is recommended to see
a change in your LDL and HDL levels.
if these changes are still not enough for you, you may want to quit smoking.
Smoking restricts the blood vessels that deliver blood throughout the body. If
you blood vessels are already restricted due to plaque build up you are
increasing your risk for heart attack or stroke by smoking. Once you stop
smoking there is an immediate change in blood pressure and HDL levels and
that’s regardless of the reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. Another
option would be to limit your alcohol intake. Although there has been some
signs that minimal alcohol intake can increase HDL levels its not enough to
start drinking or drink every day. Plus there is no proof that drinking alcohol
lowers LDL cholesterol. Therefore
drinking alcohol should be limited to 1 drink a day to avoid the risk of other
health problems such as liver disease.
there are so many options out there for you to reduce your cholesterol levels.
Consult your doctor if you decide to change your activity level or protocol. If
you are taking medication for high cholesterol, always check with your doctor
before you stop taking it. For concerns about diet plans or exercise routines
speak with a nutritionist or personal trainer.