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Better Cholesterol Level Less Risk of Disease

Posted Jun 01 2008 11:01pm
It’s common knowledge that people have to eat in order to live and have the energy to do the things people do, but what’s easy to forget is - it’s what we eat that makes a lot of difference to our quality of life and whether or not we put ourselves at risk - knowingly or unknowingly.

While some are able to make three or four trips to the buffet table, others are full and satisfied after one round. Those who love to eat red meat and other dishes that are fatty or oily run the risk of contracting a serious condition, which could be life threatening due to the amount of bad cholesterol being taken into the body.

Although cholesterol is one of the main culprits that increases high blood pressure, although not all cholesterol that we take in is essentially bad. In fact, small amounts of cholesterol is being used by the body in the production of bile salts and in the transformation of Vitamin D. Cholesterol also plays a role in balancing hormones, especially in women.

So what is cholesterol?

Basically there are two kinds of cholesterol. It’s often talked about, but there still seems to be confusion as to the good and the bad cholesterol.

The bad cholesterol or the LDL (low density lipoprotein) is the kind that is often found in saturated fats and trans fatty acids. These are taken into the body mainly through foods that are pre-packed and prepared such as potato chips, some canned foods, etc.

LDL cholesterol sticks to the walls of the arteries. High levels of LDL can form plaque on the arterial walls that may eventually cause clogging in the blood passageway. This slows down the blood flow, which in turn makes it hard for the heart to pump. This scenario describes the initial stages of hypertension and coronary heart problems.

The good cholesterol HDL (high density lipoprotein) monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, these on the other hand lower the levels of LDL by helping to transport the LDL to the liver where it is excreted, lowering the risk for disease. HDL cholesterol can be found in fish as well as nuts.

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Food that helps to lower cholesterol levels09320028

Other foods that can lower the cholesterol levels are fruits and vegetables. This type of food doesn’t contain that much cholesterol so whatever you eat, you won’t be adding to its levels.

Another great thing about fruit and vegetables is the fact that they are great sources of fibres that the body also needs to combat LDL cholesterol. Berries as well as fruit that is citrus and carrots are just some of the fruit you can count on for combating LDL.

Soya is another food that can dramatically reduce the levels of cholesterol in the body. Fibre rich food, soya as well as almonds and plant sterols also reduce cholesterol levels by as much as 20 percent, according to a recent study. Eating oats, olive oil and barley are also great ways to lower LDL.

To lower LDL, it’s important to consciously avoid foods that are deep-fried. If you have to eat fried foods, make sure that the oil that you use is vegetable oil.

Never use butter as this is rich in saturated fats. Instead, use margarine as a substitute. Steam, braise, boil or bake your food these are both tastier and healthier.

It’s not just the food

There are many factors that contribute to the rise in the levels of cholesterol. In addition to one’s eating lifestyle, there is the age, gender, genes, family history and of course the amount of physical activity that’s done. Exercise is certainly very important in keeping LDL cholesterol at bay. Not only that, it strengthens the body’s resistance as well as improves blood circulation.

One reason for the high levels of cholesterol, could be due to the wide variety of fast food being offered these days at the grocery store and in restaurants. But is there one food product that can be called the best to lower cholesterol? Probably not as a well balanced diet comes from all of the food groups.

09320027Lowering cholesterol quick tips

  • Instead of drinking full cream milk on cornflakes or whole grain, try using non or low fat milk instead. The taste is almost the same, but is much healthier.
  • Instead of ordering a steak change your menu to lean meat instead, but be careful as even lean meat has fat, although not as much and tastes just as good as the big steak.
  • The healthiest thing to have either for lunch and/or dinner is food that comes from the ocean. Fish or shellfish is known to contain concentrates of Omega 3, which is very effective in lowering cholesterol.
  • Eating a candy bar or a slice of cake is tempting, but they are rich in fat - although there are low fat and cholesterol free chocolate cake recipe. Try nuts or fruits instead, which are rich in fibre as well as contain vitamins and minerals that are lots healthier than the candy or cake.
  • In each meal, don’t forget to add fruit where possible. A salad works well or grated carrots as a side dish. There should be a balance whenever eating meat or fish.
  • Chicken is not so good if it’s fried, steamed is far better and a healthier way of cooking it - but remember to remove the skin.

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It’s never too late to make some lifestyle changes in order to live a longer and healthier life. As always you should consult with your doctor to make sure that any dietary changes you may be thinking of making - are suitable for you.

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