It is now firmly established that there is a wide range of heart health benefits to increasing the amount of omega 3 essential fats (DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)) in your diet. One of these important heart benefits, for anyone with high triglycerides, is that increasing your intake of DHA and EPA can help lower triglycerides.
Research has established that almost all of us have levels of Omega3 fats that are too low. Omega 3 fats are found in fish oil and the research also shows that by increasing our intake of fish oil in our diet by way of supplementation we also attract a range of heart and other health benefits.
Some of the important heart health benefits from increasing omega 3 in the diet include reducing blood pressure, reducing the growth of plaque in the arteries, reducing the risk of fatal heart attack and now also helping to lower triglyceride levels.
Triglycerides are a fat that is found in your blood and which is manufactured in your body from the food that you eat. If you have high triglycerides this increases the risk of blood clots and can also lower your HDL (good) cholesterol. The bottom line is that high triglycerides are linked to coronary artery disease which can kill you. High triglycerides is also linked to some other diseases such as diabetes.
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Do you have a lipid disorder? With cholesterol and fatty acids and hypertension, the medical terminology can be confusing, to say the least. A “lipid disorder” is just a blanket term for high cholesterol and triglycerides, meaning that you have too many fatty substances in your body, which puts you at risk for heart disease, heart attacks, coronary artery disease and a stroke. This may all sound like bad news, but you can still live many healthy and happy years if you’re willing to make a few dietary sacrifices and take medication.
To get your triglycerides and cholesterol back down to a normal level, you will have to make some dietary changes. For people who have high cholesterol levels from eating too many fattening foods, cholesterol lowering can be accomplished by as much as 10-20% from dieting alone. Reducing calories to 1,200-1,500 for women and 1,500-1,800 for men will help you lose 2 pounds per week. When losing weight, you shouldn’t drink more than one serving of alcohol per day and you should be ingesting eight cups of water daily. Adding just 30 minutes of exercise per day, either all at once or in 3 intervals of 10 minutes, can work wonders for heart health.
When cooking, replace butter with olive oil, canola oil or peanut oil. In many baking recipes, you can use applesauce instead of butter, believe it or not! Dieticians recommend eating no more than 5 ounces of meat per day, substituting ½ cup of beans to get your protein and eating no more than 2 egg yolks per week. To reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and extend your life, you’ll be limiting carbs, sugars, fat and alcohol but your replacement diet doesn’t have to be torture. In fact, many companies are manufacturing sugar free sweets and low fat ice cream to help tame those cravings. Once you use discipline over an extended period of time, you’ll find that these foods have lost their luster and no longer have control over your life or your health.
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The two sources of cholesterol are food and your own body. Only 25% of the body’s cholesterol comes from food and the rest is produced naturally in your cells and liver. The good news is that you won’t have to give up every egg and cookie to maintain a healthy heart. In fact, even if you are predisposed to heart disease or diabetes, there are many simple lifestyle modifications that you can make to ensure that you live the healthy, happy life you’ve imagined.
The bad cholesterol you’ve probably heard so much about is called Low Density Lipoprotein. The good type goes bad when it stops transporting and oxidizes from exposure to free radicals, leading to conditions like atherosclerosis. If you have 160mg or more of LDL per day, then you have a high level of harmful cholesterol. By contrast, high density Lipoprotein (or HDL) is known as “good cholesterol.” It helps one-fourth to one-third of blood cholesterol to be carried from the arteries to the liver by HDL. Doctors recommend that you have more than 40mg of HDL to lower your risk of heart disease.
As you eat, your body uses the calories it needs and converts leftovers to triglycerides. While some are helpful, excess can lead to metabolic syndrome, which results in diabetes, strokes, heart disease or heart attacks. “Even if you control bad LDL cholesterol to less than 70, you still need to look at triglycerides,” said Dr. Leslie Cho, a cardiologist at the Women’s Cardiovascular Center of the Cleveland Clinic.
Continue reading “Useful Tips To Manage Cholesterol And A Healthier You”