Nov 152012

Is there a particular approach to diet that lowers cholesterol. Or is the only practical way to lower cholesterol through prescription medication? These are important questions to answer so that you can decide how best to manage your cholesterol levels.

For many of us when we were young we exercised often and exercised little control over what we ate. Our metabolism worked well and we were typically very active with various sports and regular activities. As we get older many people have limited activities and for most of the waking day is confined in an office. Eating choices become more habitual and many of us find that we tend to gain weight easily. As this happens it is not unusual for our cholesterol levels to rise and we start to experience health issues.

To maintain your health it is essential to have a diet that will lower cholesterol levels but firstly you should know how cholesterol works in our body.

The body needs some cholesterol in order to function properly. Its cell walls, or membranes, need cholesterol in order to produce hormones. Cholesterol has a role in production of vitamin D and the bile acids that help to digest fat. But the body needs only a limited amount of cholesterol to meet its needs. When too much is present health problems such as vascular disease may develop. Plaque (a thick, hard deposit) may form in the body’s arteries narrowing the space for blood to flow to the heart. Over time, this buildup causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can lead to heart disease. The root cause of this plaque can be excess cholesterol, specifically LDL cholesterol.

I have here a few simple food tips for a diet that lower cholesterol and can help lower your risk of vascular disease and heart disease.

1. Check the food labels and don’t eat anything that contains trans fats or excessive cholesterol.

2. Start eating more ‘smart’ fats. An example is by substituting canola oil or olive oil for vegetable oil, butter, stick margarine, lard, or shortening while cutting back on meat and eating more fish.

3. Eat more fiber. Fruits and vegetables, including whole grains, are good sources not only of heart-healthy antioxidants but also cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. Soluble fiber, in particular, can help lower your LDL cholesterol.

4. Drink green. Green tea is a healthier alternative to sodas and sugary beverages. Indeed, research in both animals and humans has shown that green tea contains compounds that can help lower LDL cholesterol. In a small-scale study conducted recently in Brazil, people who took capsules containing a green tea extract experienced a 4.5% reduction in LDL cholesterol.

5. Learn the good carbohydrates from the bad ones. Good ones include whole grains, vegetables, and fruit. Bad ones are starchy foods such as white pasta and white rice, candy, cakes, and sugary drinks. To lower cholesterol, eliminate or limit bad carbohydrates.

6. Eliminate trans fats from your diet. These are particularly bad for you in that they increase LDL and also lower HDL. The source of these is as a result of the process (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated) to change oils to a semi-solid state. Also reuse of cooking oils and overheating cooking oils can produce trans fats.

So it is important to know what you are eating and to know what those things actually do inside your body. With that knowledge, if you can develop healthier dietary habits based on a diet that lower cholesterol level is the focus then you will be on the path to better health.


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