Lower Your Cholesterol the Healthy Way!
High cholesterol levels can kill you! That’s right, high “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, elevated triglycerides and low levels of “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol in the bloodstream constitute a recipe for disaster. So, it’s not just one of the many so-called “health concerns” we can take lightly—this one’s for real.
Nutritionists and physicians recommend lipid profiles for everyone over the age of 20 every five years. For men over 35 and women over 45, cholesterol screenings are encouraged more frequently, ideally at regular doctor’s visits. If your doctor or nurse doesn’t offer a screening at your next appointment, just ask for it. The process is simple and covered by most insurance policies. Chances are, your health professional will appreciate your concern for your health and recommend a lipid profile to test your cholesterol levels.
Those with existing heart and artery disease are especially susceptible to the build-up of dangerous plaque-causing LDL cholesterol. As such, not only levels of LDL cholesterol must be kept in check but higher levels of HDL cholesterol need to be maintained. HDL cholesterol takes the “bad” cholesterol out of the bloodstream, protecting your arteries from the clogging that leads to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Hardening of the walls of arteries can result in several fatal occurrences, including the sloughing off of plaque, causing blockages, stroke and aneurisms. Blood flow can be negatively impacted, limiting adequate oxygen to starved organs and adversely impacting brain function. Further, unhealthy arteries can’t supply vital blood flow to muscles and tissues for overall health. Again, the impacts of excessive cholesterol and triglycerides aren’t just unhealthy—they can be downright deadly.
Now that you’re sufficiently concerned, you’re probably wondering what you can do to fight cholesterol and save yourself from these dangerous conditions. Well, that’s exactly why we are here. At Duke and the Doctor, we make it our top priority to advise you on ways to avoid potential health hazards and suggest steps to keep you healthy, wealthy and wise!
The most important factors in keeping cholesterol levels in check involve what we eat. We produce enough cholesterol naturally to fulfill our needs for the most part. Hence, limiting the amount of HDL cholesterol we take in at mealtime has everything to do with maintaining healthy lipid levels. As such, there are 5 top foods which have the ability to make a significant impact in our cholesterol intake.
- Oatmeal. Oatmeal is an outstanding cholesterol lowering food. It’s rich in soluble fiber and reduces LDL cholesterol. Generally, high-fiber foods including fruits and vegetables help reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Most experts suggest 5 to 10 grams of fiber per day to effectively reduce LDL cholesterol. In the case of oatmeal, 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal can provide 6 grams of this needed fiber. Add some fruit and viola—you’ve just cut your risks for developing many of the serious conditions we’ve just summarized!
- Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Many cold-water fish are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t let the “fatty” in “fatty acids” fool you. These fats are excellent at reducing risks of high blood pressure and preventing blood clots. Even if you don’t like eating fish such as mackerel, trout, salmon, tuna or halibut, supplements are an easy and convenient way to consume these vital plaque-whacking fatty acids. Include an all-natural, Vita Logic Fish Oil capsule once a day and you’ve just received all the Omega-3’s you need for healthy living.
- Nuts. Most all nuts like walnuts, almonds, pecans and even peanuts are chocked full of polyunsaturated fatty acids that keep the circulatory system running clean. The Food and Drug Administration confirms that eating a handful of nuts every day can reduce your risk of heart disease. Pretty easy regimen to follow and remember that eating too many nuts can put on unwanted pounds as they are typically high in calories. Everything in moderation!
- Olive Oil. Using as little as 2 tablespoons of olive oil in lieu of comparable fat in your diet can effectively reduce your bad LDL cholesterol without lowering good HDL cholesterol. As a substitute for butter or other cooking oils, olive oil is a superior heart-healthy choice for dipping bread, sautéing or for use in salads with vinegar for dressings. Extra-virgin olive oil retains more of the powerful antioxidants that are key in reducing your risks, as opposed to further processed versions of olive oil.
- Plant Sterols and Stanols. Now these things don’t necessarily sound like foods and they’re not exactly foods, per se. Rather, these compounds are used to fortify foods and work to block the absorption of bad cholesterol. Plant sterols and stanols are frequently used in margarines, orange juice and yogurt, reducing LDL cholesterol by as much as 10 per cent, if consumed in amounts of at least 2 grams. That’s equivalent to about two 8-ounce glasses of fortified orange juice every day. Again, it’s pretty easy to down two glasses of juice every morning to significantly cut our chances of developing heart disease.
Just remember—high levels of cholesterol can lead to dangerous conditions and even fatal consequences. Keep track of your numbers and ask for screenings whenever the opportunity presents itself. Get your cholesterol checked because knowledge is power and in this case, it might just save your life!