Thursday, May 14, 2009

Components Of A Diet To Lower Cholesterol

Components Of A Diet To Lower Cholesterol

The first line of defense against rising cholesterol levels is a healthy diet. The National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III report has targeted lowering LDL cholesterol as one of the most important aspect of heart disease prevention. This report recommends that in order to lower the risk of coronary heart disease that a therapeutic lifestyle change (TLC) must be undertaken. The components of this therapeutic lifestyle change include a diet to lower cholesterol that includes the following.

1. Saturated Fat and Cholesterol – Reducing saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet is the foundation of the TLC diet. The strongest nutritional influence on serum LDL cholesterol levels is saturated fats. There is also a dose response relationship between saturated fats and LDL cholesterol levels. For every 1% increase in calories from saturated fats as a percent of total energy, serum LDL cholesterol increases roughly 2%. On the other hand a 1% decrease in saturated fats will lower serum cholesterol by about 2%. Although a weight reduction of even a few pounds will reduce LDL levels, weight reduction achieved with a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol will enhance and maintain LDL cholesterol reductions. Although dietary cholesterol does not have the equivalent impact of saturated fat on serum LDL cholesterol levels, high cholesterol intake will increase LDL cholesterol levels.

2. Monounsaturated Fat – Substituting monounsaturated fat for saturated fats at an intake level of up to 20% of total energy intake is recommended with a cholesterol lowering diet. Monounsaturated fats lower LDL cholesterol levels relative to saturated fats without decreasing HDL cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Plant oils and nuts are the best sources of monounsaturated fats.

3. Polyunsaturated Fats – When used instead of saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats such as linoleic acid reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Unfortunately they can also cause a decrease in HDL cholesterol when compared to the effects of monounsaturated fats. The recommended intake of polyunsaturated fats is about 10% of total energy intake. The best sources for this type of fat include liquid vegetable oils, semi-liquid margarine, and other margarines low in transfatty acids.

4. Total Fat – Saturated fats and transfatty acids increase LDL cholesterol levels, while serum levels of LDL cholesterol do not appear to be affected by total fat intake. For that reason the report suggests it is not essential to limit total fat intake as long as saturated fats are decreased to goal levels.

5. Carbohydrates – LDL cholesterol decreases when saturated fats are replaced with carbohydrates. But high consumption of carbohydrates, over 60% of total energy intakes, are shown to decrease HDL cholesterol and increase serum triglycerides. This response to carbohydrate intake can be decreased by increasing soluble fiber intake. In fact by increasing soluble fiber to 5 to 10 grams a day LDL cholesterol can be decreased about 5%.

6. Protein – Although dietary protein generally has little effect of serum LDL cholesterol levels, substituting plant-based proteins for animal proteins appears to lower LDL cholesterol. This may be caused by the lack of cholesterol and lower saturated fat content of plant based protein foods. Of course not all animal proteins are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Fat-free and low-fat dairy products, egg whites, fish, skinless poultry, and lean cuts of beef and pork are low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Using diet to lower cholesterol is the first step for anyone who has tested for high LDL cholesterol levels. By lowering serum cholesterol the risk of coronary heart disease is lessened, along with all the other health benefits of eating a more healthy diet.

By: Andrew Bicknell
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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Control Ldl Cholesterol To Control Heart Disease

Control Ldl Cholesterol To Control Heart Disease

Cholesterol is a substance that is found in our blood. It is usually associated with other substances, notably the lipoproteins named LDL and HDL. The association with HDL is good for our health whereas the association with LDL is bad. Let us find out how these associations actually affect our health and how we can guard against their adverse effect on our health.

The LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels are maintained within a normal range by the body's natural regulatory mechanism. Sometimes this regulatory mechanism malfunctions, or maybe the body is flooded with cholesterol by ingestion. In any case the blood cholesterol level exceeds the normal range. This leads to a serious condition which can lead to severe health problems.

LDL cholesterol tends to stick to the inner walls of the blood vessels it moves through. The coating reduces the blood flow through the affected vessels. This means poor circulation which translates to poor health. The coating may increase to an extent where the blood vessel is severely constricted. This condition is known as arteriosclerosis.

Blood backs up from this point leading to high blood pressure which severely stresses the heart. Worse, small bits of the LDL cholesterol blockage can get dislodged and flow down with the blood. If these bits of LDL cholesterol enter a capillary, which is a very fine blood vessel, the capillary gets blocked starving the areas served by the capillary network of vital blood. If this happens in the brain, then areas of the brain just shut down leading to a form of paralysis called a 'stroke'.

If the blood flow to the heart itself is cut off, a heart attack occurs possibly leading to a fatality. These are just two situations which can occur when LDL cholesterol exceeds the normal limit. There are a great number of similar situations, collectively called cardiovascular disease, which are directly linked to the excessive LDL cholesterol level.

There is just one thing we can do to guard against heart disease caused by excessive LDL cholesterol: assist the body in regulating the blood cholesterol level. The most effective way is by controlling what we eat. Medical researchers tell us that the most common reason for excessive LDL cholesterol is our over-indulgence in saturated fats, both directly and indirectly.

We can have fatty foods which are good for health, like the omega-3 group of fats. The omega-3 fats actually work to reduce the LDL cholesterol in the blood, so we should have a lot of tuna and salmon because they are rich sources of omega-3 fats. Studies show that drinking a lot of water helps to increase the blood circulation which goes a long way in reducing LDL cholesterol.

Stop using heavy cooking oil to cook food in. Switch to virgin olive oil which is highly recommended as a healthy cooking medium. Changing your cooking oil is a very effective way to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Smoking actually helps to elevate the LDL cholesterol level in the blood. Give up smoking and see the LDL cholesterol beat a hasty retreat. Follow the other steps in this article to ensure your freedom from a dangerous heart condition.

Medical research shows that stress leads to LDL cholesterol buildup. Lowering your stress level will lower your blood LDL cholesterol too. The moral of the lesson is that you should relax more often, give up those activities that add to your stress, and pick up those activities that reduce your stress.

To sum up, LDL cholesterol can be controlled by eating foods which are free of saturated fats, exercising, quitting smoking and ridding yourself of stress. The worst thing you can do is to panic about high LDL cholesterol levels. This article is meant to educate you about the cause and prevention of heart disease, not scare you. Use what you have learnt in this article to control the LDL cholesterol situation. Once that is under control, you can say that the risk of heart disease is under control.

By: Ned Best
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