Lower Cholesterol Levels

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Top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol

Lifestyle changes can help reduce cholesterol, keep you off cholesterol-lowering medications or enhance the effect of your medications. Here are five lifestyle changes to get you started.

By Mayo Clinic Staff
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. You can improve cholesterol with medications, but if you’d rather first make lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol, try these five healthy changes. If you already take medications, these changes can improve their cholesterol-lowering effect.

1. Eat heart-healthy foods

Even if you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt, making a few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health.

Choose healthier fats. Saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and dairy products, raise your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol. As a rule, you should get less than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat. Choose leaner cuts of meat, low-fat dairy and monounsaturated fats — found in olive and canola oils — for healthier options.
Eliminate trans fats. Trans fats affect cholesterol levels by increasing the “bad” cholesterol and lowering the “good” cholesterol. This bad combination increases the risk of heart attacks. Trans fats can be found in fried foods and many commercial products, such as cookies, crackers and snack cakes. But don’t rely on packages that are labeled “trans fat-free.” In the United States, if a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in a serving, it can be labeled “trans fat-free.”

Even small amounts of trans fat can add up if you eat foods that contain small amounts of trans fat. Read the ingredient list, and avoid foods with partially hydrogenated oils. By Mayo Clinic Staff

Best and Worst Foods for People With High Cholesterol if you want to know what tkose foods are then read on..

By Elizabeth Shimer

Making changes in your eating habits can be confusing when you’re trying to lower high cholesterol — are you eating foods high in cholesterol without realizing it? When it comes to a cholesterol-lowering diet, in terms of foods high in cholesterol and foods that lower cholesterol, it turns out the most important element — and the most dangerous — is fat. “Bad” saturated and trans fat raises the dangerous low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries. “Good” unsaturated fat helps lower LDL cholesterol and raise beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which can remove LDL cholesterol and help keep arteries clear.

“Of course, genetics play a role in our heart health as we age, but an unhealthy diet is a leading contributor to poor heart health,” says Meghann Featherstun, MS, RD, LD, clinical dietitian at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood, Ohio.

If a cholesterol-lowering diet is your goal, getting the right amount of fat — in the right forms — is important. The National Cholesterol Education Program’s Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet suggests a total fat intake of 25 to 35 percent of total calories, and less than 7 percent of your calories to come from saturated or trans fats.

What Is a Healthy Cholesterol Level?

According to the American Heart Association, healthy cholesterol levels include the following:

Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol: 40 mg/dL or higher for men; 50 mg/dL or higher for women
LDL cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dL
What Not to Eat: Foods That Raise Cholesterol

Whether you have high cholesterol that needs to be lowered or you simply want to keep an already-healthy cholesterol level in check, avoiding certain foods can help.

Any food that contains saturated fat is a no-no for a cholesterol-lowering diet. Trans fats are equally as bad, if not worse, for people eating with high cholesterol. “Trans fats are a double whammy — they raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol,” Featherstun says.

Specific types of foods to avoid include:

Anything fried. You’d be hard-pressed to walk into a restaurant in the United States and not find a deep fryer. But if you’re on a cholesterol-lowering diet, pass up the greasy stuff. Not only does deep frying cause foods to lose water and suck up fat, making them more calorie-dense, but it also transforms oils into trans fats, the worst offenders for eating with high cholesterol.

If you can’t bear the thought of never eating another crunchy onion ring, consider using olive or sunflower oil when frying. A recent study published in the science journal BMJ found that in Spain, where olive and sunflower oils are used for frying, eating fried food is not associated with increased rates of heart disease as it is in Western countries, where saturated fats, like lard and butter, are used.

Hydrogenated oil. These are the trans fats found in packaged foods, such as cookies, pastries, mayonnaise, crackers, microwave popcorn, and frozen dinners, and they’re used because they increase a product’s shelf life. You can stay away from these high-cholesterol culprits by checking food labels carefully. “If a food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving, the nutrition label may still read ‘0 trans fat,’ when in fact the food does contain trans fat,” Featherstun explains. “Instead, check the ingredients list,” she advises. If you see the word ’hydrogenated,’ don’t buy it.”

Meat. If it comes from an animal, it’s most likely a food high in cholesterol. Meat with visible fat is a particularly unwise choice as part of a cholesterol-lowering diet. Try to reduce the amount of meat in your diet. When you do eat meat, trim off any visible fat on steaks and chops, and always remove the skin off turkey and chicken, Featherstun says. When you have to satisfy a hamburger craving, choose the leanest ground meat possible, but bear in mind that even 90/10 ground beef still has 8.5 grams of fat and 4 grams of saturated fat in a 3-ounce serving. learn more…..

Written by Jacquelyn Cafasso

What is high cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat like substance that your liver produces. It’s vital for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D, and certain hormones. Cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in water, so it can’t travel through the body by itself.

Particles known as lipoproteins help transport cholesterol through the bloodstream. There are two major forms of lipoproteins.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also known as “bad cholesterol,” can build up in the arteries and lead to serious health problems, like heart attack or stroke.

High-density lipoproteins (HDL), sometimes called “good cholesterol,” help return the LDL cholesterol to the liver for elimination.

Eating too many foods that contain high amounts of fat increases the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. This is known as high cholesterol, also called hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia.

If levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, or levels of HDL cholesterol are too low, fatty deposits build up in your blood vessels. These deposits will make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. This could cause problems throughout your body, particularly in your heart and brain, or it could be fatal.

What are the symptoms of high cholesterol?
High cholesterol typically doesn’t cause any symptoms. In most cases it only causes emergency events. For instance, a heart attack or stroke can result from the damage caused by high cholesterol. more…..

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