Lower Cholesterol Can Benefit Your Heart
High Cholesterol And Heart Disease
By Sharon Stajda RN.
Do you have high cholesterol, does your cholesterol levels put you at risk for heart disease? Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US today. According to the American Heart Association 71 million Americans are suffering from some type of heart disease, mainly due to increased cholesterol levels. Statistics show that there is a death every 20 seconds that can be directly attributed to complications from high cholesterol that lead to heart disease. Heart disease has many causation, one of the major causes of heart disease has been linked to a poor diet. Many Americans tend to be eating foods that are high in cholesterol, and fat. Ultimately this form of unhealthy eating combined with poor exercise habits, leads to an unhealthy body weight, and increases in cholesterol levels. Levels above 200 are considered to put one at risk of heart disease.
There are several risk factors that can increase one's chances of developing coronary heart disease. Many of these risk factors can be treated or controlled, some factors are uncontrollable. It"s very important to become well acquainted with the risk factors of heart disease.
High Cholesterol Contributes To Heart Disease
High cholesterol levels promote buildup of plaque and fatty deposits in the heart's arterial system. This arteriole build up can lead not only to high blood pressure that can lead to a stroke, but to serious forms of heart disease. High cholesterol is one of the risk factors of heart disease that can be controlled by diet, and if needed medication. As one might demise it's very important to know your cholesterol level. A visit to the doctor is recommended, not only to have your cholesterol levels checked, but if necessary your doctor can provide you with just the right diet information, and medication if needed.
Do You Know Your Cholesterol Levels?
Cholesterol Levels You Should Know What's Normal
Normal Cholesterol Levels
It important to know what are the recommended healthy cholesterol levels.
If your doctor has informed you that you have high cholesterol, It's time to start a regime to bring those high levels down normal levels. Check out the chart above for healthy target levels. These levels were established by the National Cholesterol Education Project.
Heart Smart Diet
The American Heart Association recommends all Americans eat a heart smart diet. A diet that will work to reduce cholesterol, and reduce one's chances of developing the many problems that are caused by high cholesterol. The simple fact is by eating healthful foods not only will decrease your cholesterol level, but also may aid in weight reduction. Keeping in mind that obesity is another risk factor that can lead to heart disease. What can you do to reduce your cholesterol level, and decrease risk of heart disease? Start choosing foods that will aid in decreasing your cholesterol level.
Healthy Diets & Cholesterol
Choose fresh or frozen vegetables, and fruits. If you buy canned vegetables make sure they are low-sodium. Canned fruits that are packed in juice or water are fine. Stay away from vegetables in cream sauce, as well as fried or breaded vegetables. Learn to pick the right whole grains, rice, and pasta. Choose foods made with healthy whole-wheat flour. Such as bread made with whole-grain, preferably 100 percent whole-wheat or 100 percent whole-grain. Choose Cereal that is in high fiber, with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. Choose brown rice over white rice, the nutrients are striped from white rice during processing. Whole-grain pasta is another good choice.
Stay clear of muffins, frozen waffles;; cornbread; doughnuts; biscuits; quick breads; granola bars; cake; pies,;egg noodles; buttered popcorn; high-fat snack cracker; chips. Dairy products that will really help lower cholesterol are: skim or low-fat milk fat-free or low-fat; low fat yogurt and cheeses; egg whites; egg substitutes. Dairy products to avoid: Watch out for dairy products full-fat milk; the yolks of eggs; butter. When choosing meat, seafood, and poultry, choose lean red meats. Stay clear of meat with heavy marbling or organ meats, such as hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats. Furthermore, avoid fried or canned meats. Poultry should be skinless, chicken and turkey are recommended. Lean fish and shellfish are a good diet choice. Always choose healthy cooking oils: Such as olive oil; canola oil; margarine that is fat free, and trans fat free. Oils to stay clear of: Butter; lard; hydrogenated margarine; shortening cocoa butter; that is found in chocolate, coconut or palm oil.
Foods That Help Lower Bad Cholesterol
- Cholesterol Lowering Margarine
Recently, cholesterol lowering margarines have been introduced to the marketplace.
Soy - To achieve good results consume at least four servings of 6.25 grams of soy protein to total a daily intake to 25 grams per day. There are loads of soy products out there, such as soy drinks, soy snack bars, and many more.
Nuts - Nuts such as almonds and walnuts that have high amount of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated also help in lowering cholesterol. They not only lowered total and LDL--or "bad" cholesterol significantly, nuts can help maintain desirable levels of HDL--or "good"--cholesterol.
Oats and Barley - Oats and barley can play a critical role in lowering cholesterol. These foods have a soluble fiber known as "Beta Glucan"(BG) is the key component in oats and barley. BG is proven to lower blood cholesterol. It's recommended to consume anywhere between two and four cups of dry oat or barley cereal each day.
Fruits and Vegetables - Fruits and vegetables such as apples, citrus fruit, berries, carrots, apricots, cabbage, and sweet potatoes are high in soluble fiber as well as pectin. Both are shown to be helpful in lowering cholesterol. At least five servings a day is recommended to benefit the full effect.
Flaxseed - Flaxseed is high in alpha-linolenic acid a polyunsaturated fat which has been shown to lower cholesterol. Flaxseed also providing much needed soluble fiber.
Olive Oil - Olive oil is one of the mono-saturated fats, studies have shown that it lowers blood cholesterol. It's suggested that extra virgin olive oil is better than other varieties of olive oil.
Fish - fish contain high levels of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. This stands to make the blood more slippery, and less likely to stick to artery walls.
Looking For A Tasty Snack That Will Help Lower "LDL" Bad Cholesterol? - Grab a handful of pistachios.
Pistachios And Health Benefits
A recent Penn State study says that one or two handfuls of pistachios a day may help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering the "bad" cholesterol as much as 12%. I for one was delighted to hear this, "I love pistachios". Pistachios are not only delicious and satisfying but a good source of fiber. They're loaded with fiber, and actually higher in antioxidants than one cup of cancer fighting green tea. Another plus you get from snacking on pistachios, they are low in calories. This makes them a great snack choice for anyone on a reducing diet. The pistachio nut has been dubbed "the skinny nut" by nutrition experts, containing about 100 calories per 30 nuts. They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, and are a top source for antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to aid in fighting cancer and Alzheimer's. Pistachios are high in Lutein, which has been associated with lowering incidence of eye diseases, like cataracts. Another great benefit for women who snack on pistachios, studies have shown that woman that eat pistachios on a daily bases are less likely to face surgery for gallstone disease.
Please Consider ...
Keep in mind high cholesterol is only one of the risk factor that can lead to heart disease.
There are many other risk factors that can lead to heart disease. Most of these factors can be controlled with simple lifestyle changes. Changes that you may want to consider. Risk factors such as, obesity, high blood pressure, lack of exercise, smoking, and drinking alcohol to excess. All of these risk factors can lead to an unhealthy heart. However, if you committed to good health, and makes the necessary lifestyle changes, you can be assured of not only a healthier heart, but a healthier body.