a. The Myth of Good and Bad Cholesterol
A lot of folks always think cholesterol is not good, but you can actually classify it into two types. LDL and HDL are the two types – the bad one and the good one. If you have plaque build-up in your artery, that means you have too much LDL. This usually results in narrow arterial openings, which will mean a slower and lesser flow of blood. You should stop blaming dietary cholesterol for having a high level of cholesterol in your blood. Instead, you should point the finger at your high levels of both Trans fat and saturated fat. If you take in a lot of healthy, fibrous foods and exercise often, you can keep your cholesterol levels down.
b. What do the Cholesterol Numbers mean?
On an average, adults will usually need to have cholesterol checks every five years. Each time you get a cholesterol check it will yield four results – total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and Triglycerides. You will probably need more exercise and dietary change if you go above or below the healthy levels.
Total Cholesterol – less than 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L)
LDL Cholesterol – less than 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L)
HDL Cholesterol – greater than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L)
Triglycerides – less than 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L)
c. Vitamin E and Heart Protection
Vitamin E is an important vitamin found in leafy vegetables, nuts, and vegetable oils. It was previously believed that a Vitamin E supplement could reduce the risk of heart disease, but several studies in the last few years have shown that this supplement does little to prevent heart attacks or strokes.
d. Five Great Foods to Lower Your Cholesterol
1. Oatmeal and Oat Bran: These contain a high amount of soluble fiber, which can lower LDL.
2. Fish: Fish is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which lowers LDL and raises HDL.
3. Nuts: Not only are nuts high in fiber, but they contain the healthy fats you need to keep LDL in check.
4. Plant Sterols: This is found in foods like margarine, salad dressing, orange juice, and functional cookies. 2 grams per day will lower your LDL by 10-15%.
5. Soy: This popular meat replacement can lower LDL by up to 3%.
e. Benefits Aplenty with Plant Sterols
Foods like granola bars, fat free milk, Benecol Spread and VitaTops Muffin Tops are great sources of plant sterols that you can turn to. Helping your heart starts with eating plenty of these foods rich in plant sterols and nixing your high saturated fat diet. However, these will not make for a saturated fat diet at all. It is still important for you to still need to eat healthy foods and exercise a lot to keep your cholesterol in control.
About the Writer – Deborah H. Land writes for the lowering cholesterol through diet site, her personal hobby blog she uses to help people lower bad cholesterol levels.