They say there are no Visible Signs of High Cholesterol........but is that True?
Signs and Symptoms of High Cholesterol
A visit to the eye doctor prompted me to research high cholesterol. After examining my eyes my doctor asked me if I had high cholesterol. Not that I was aware. I've never had any major health issues in my life. Even though I was 53 years old I have always maintained a healthy weight, never overweight. I’m fully aware weight is not the only indication of whether one has high cholesterol. A former boss who was very slender had high cholesterol. There are many factors that may cause high cholesterol, weight, genetics among others. Almost all the material I read stated the same thing: there are no visible signs or symptoms of high cholesterol. So, why did my eye doctor ask me if I had high cholesterol? He said my cornea was surrounded in white. He suggested I visit my primary care physician to have it checked, which is the proper course of action to take. But, I wanted to do some research on my own. After more research I did find information relating to signs and symptoms of high cholesterol. Among the symptoms were dizziness, impairment of balance, numbness or tingling (I was experiencing tingling in my feet), white or gray discoloration of the surrounding area of the cornea, yellowish patches above the eyelids, etc. Now some of these symptoms can be related to numerous other conditions, which is why one should consult with your physician. I was just curious about the comment my eye doctor made about the white around my cornea. I did find material to confirm what he had said. I suppose I was in denial and wanted NOT to find information that supported my eye doctor’s finding.
Superfood to the Rescue
Diet…..Diet……Diet. Yes, we all know what we should and should not eat. We know what to do, we just don’t do it. Stop smoking…….easy, I don’t smoke. Limit alcohol consumption……..I’m not much of a drinker, so already accomplished. Increase physical activity……….I guess walking through a grocery store doesn’t count. Maintain a healthy weight……….always have my whole life. Maybe if I just ate better. These are some of the suggestions I found in my readings which by now are probably well advertised, but worth mentioning. It’s obvious don’t eat foods with saturated fats. I’ve always loved cooking with olive oil and garlic, they say olive oil and garlic are good for high cholesterol. It was surprising to read that dark meat on chicken is healthier than white meat, because dark meat contains vitamin K2, which blocks the making of cholesterol. Drumsticks have always been my favorite part of the bird. Almonds and pistachios lower cholesterol. Pistachios are my all-time favorite nut. Beans: kidney, navy, pinto, black, chickpea. Does chili with kidney beans count? What about hummus which are mashed chickpeas. Other cholesterol lowering foods that were suggested in my findings were: salmon, white albacore tuna in water, rainbow trout, anchovies, sardines and mackerel. Salmon is one of my favorite choices for dinner………with tuna I use olive oil when I make tuna salad, but olive oil is good for cholesterol isn’t it? Am I the only person that buys sardines in those little cans? I never see anyone else in the checkout lanes with them. As a child I use to love opening the can of sardines with the key……..now they have a flip top, not as much fun. Avacados are a healthy fat……….bring on the guacamole. Spinach…….I use to eat spinach out of the can like Popeye as a child. Prefer fresh spinach now. Oats…….living in the Midwest, oatmeal is my favorite winter breakfast. Green tea.......I’ve always drank green tea and it’s good for cholesterol. Basically, in a nutshell (a pistachio nutshell if you please) the main foods to eat if one is concerned with cholesterol are fruits and vegetables. Throw in a chicken drumstick or a salmon steak and dinner is served for the cholesterol conscious. Reading articles about a “lifestyle change” made me cringe, but after reading the material I realized that I didn’t really need to change my lifestyle that much. Yes, I need more physical activity. But, what many view as one of the most enjoyable parts of their day, eating, did not have to be altered that drastically, at least for me. All I had to do was pick out the healthiest choices of what were already some of my favorite foods. As in all things, moderation is they key.
Diet is the Key
We can take supplements but the best way to control high cholesterol is diet. From the information available these are the recommended dietary suggestions to control high cholesterol (it’s basically a Mediterranean diet):
- Olive Oil – one or two tablespoons is recommended whether served over a salad or in cooking instead of butter (olive, canola, sesame, safflower or sunflower oil are recommended for cooking)
- Legumes – dry, cooked or canned beans, lentils, peas or tofu products
- Fat-free yogurt, cottage cheese and other fat-free dairy products
- Beta-carotene – mango, peaches, apricots, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach
- Vitamin C – oranges, lemons, grapefruit, strawberry, blackberry, Brussel sprouts, chili peppers
- Garlic and Onion
- Grains and High Fiber Foods – whole wheat, bran, oats, muesli, (eggplant and okra are sources of fiber)
- Fish – salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, mackerel (baking and grilling are recommended)
- Venison and Ostrich – it is recommended to not eat red meat for a low-cholesterol diet, but if you want to satisfy your taste for meat then venison and ostrich are low-fat alternatives
- Nuts – walnuts, almonds, pistachios
- Green tea but lots of water is recommended