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Friday, September 17, 2010

Lowering High Cholesterol

Cholesterol: we all have it and need it. What however is the difference between good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol? What are the possible health problems caused by too high bad cholesterol and what can we do to lower our LDL levels?

I hope all these questions will be answered by the following article and other facts I found on the Internet:


Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found only in animal based foods. Cholesterol is necessary for many important functions of the body, including cell membrane formation, but it is not considered an essential nutrient as our livers can make virtually all the cholesterol we need-and often much more.

Too much cholesterol circulating in the blood (serum cholesterol) can increase the risk of developing clogged arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke. While dietary fats can raise blood cholesterol levels, there does not seem to be a simple relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends keeping cholesterol consumption to less than 300mg per day. Findings from a small University of Connecticut study published in the June issue of Metabolism suggest that while egg cholesterol does raise levels of certain, less dangerous LDL (bad) cholesterol molecules, it has virtually no effect on those smallest, densest LDL particles most closely linked with heart damage.

Saturated fats, so-called because they are “saturated” with hydrogen atoms, raise cholesterol levels and are found in animal products like meat, butter and cheese. Coconut oil, although technically more “saturated” than butter, not only fails to raise LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, it may actually help to increase HDL (good) cholesterol. According to the American Heart Association, trans fats raise levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and also lower HDL ("good") cholesterol.
~Source; Dole Food Facts.

In case you are diagnosed with a too high level of bad cholesterol, the first thing you can do is start cutting out the fatty foods like: chips, crackers, cookies, croissants, doughnuts, other baked goods and deep-fried foods fried in vegetable oil. If that presents a problem, then a good alternative is choosing the lower-fat, or fat free snacks and foods which can be found galore in the stores.

Eat less fat and especially saturated fat and trans fatty acids. Don't add extra fat such as butter, margarine, cream sauces, or salad dressings to your vegetables and use skim or 1% milk, low-fat yogurt or cottage cheese, lower-fat cheeses, and reduced-fat deli meats, lean ham, or turkey.

Try buying leaner meat, poultry and fish and ensure to take off the excess fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry. You don't have to become a vegetarian, but enjoying more meatless meals and incorporating a variety of fruits like apples, dried apricots, berries, pears, prunes, raisins and oranges in your daily diet, helps tremendously.

Eat more fibre and vegetables. Certain types of fibre have shown aiding in reducing fat build-up on artery walls and helping in lower blood cholesterol levels. Those good fibres can be found in whole-grain breads and cereals made with wheat, oats, or rye. Healthy veggies are green peas, baked beans, lentils, chick peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, potatoes with skin, corn, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and dark yellow squash.

Instead of fish canned in oil, buy canned fish packed in water and try lower-fat ways of cooking foods. Baking, broiling, microwaving, or using a non-stick frying pans, are all good ways to decrease your fat intake. Don't forget to exercise; being active helps in many, many ways.

The problem with high cholesterol is that you experience no problems, until it is too late and your arteries are all clogged up. That doesn't mean that you constantly have to live in fear with every bite you take. It just means being conscious about what you sink your teeth into.

It is about the same with life; you don't constantly have to be afraid who will attack you, or what fiery dart will be coming your way. It just means trusting God and living according to the fruit of the Spirit!

Isaiah 35:4
Say to those who are fearful-hearted, " Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, With the recompense of God; He will come and save you."


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