|High Cholesterol Diets|
Choosing to eat a high "bad" cholesterol diet is one of the worst decisions you can make for your heart. Diets rich in LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol can lead to narrowed and clogged arteries, which lead to heart attack and stroke. HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) is considered "good" cholesterol because it helps remove excess cholesterol from cells in the body - including the LDL cholesterol which is harmful.
Cholesterol is a substance that the body needs. It is made by the liver and travels through the blood by lipoproteins. The human body needs cholesterol to help build cell membranes, make hormones (estrogen, testosterone, adrenal hormones), increase metabolism, make Vitamin D, and make bile acids to digest fat and absorb nutrients. A healthy human body also produces all the cholesterol it needs to perform these functions.
In general, to limit the build-up of cholesterol, it is important to avoid: fatty meats, deep fried foods (most take-out foods), processed meats, snack foods like chips, full-fat dairy products and baked goods like cakes and pastries. Of course, everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb, but if you already have a problem with cholesterol levels, it is good to avoid these foods.
Additionally, these lifestyle tips can help you keep the LDL monster at bay:
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods.
- If you can't ease away from dairy products, choose low-fat dairy products or soy products with calcium added. Instead of butter, use polyunsaturated margarine.
- Eat leaner meats. When possible, substitute sausages and processed sandwich meat with turkey products.
- Eat more nuts and seeds.
- Try oatmeal and more foods from bean plants (legumes). Some studies have shown that eating more of these foods decreases LDL levels. Food elements like saponin (found in chickpeas and alfalfa sprouts) and sulfur compounds (found in onions and garlic) have also been found to lower cholesterol.
- Reduce alcohol consumption or cut out alcohol altogether.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking helps LDL get into artery cells and can increase the damage.
- Watch your weight. Being overweight can raise your LDL levels. Find a regular exercise program that helps you maintain a constant healthy weight and avoid "yo-yo" weight gain/weight loss.
In the case of some people with high cholesterol, following all of these lifestyle suggestions still doesn't help them decrease LDL levels. For some, it's a genetic issue and has to be countered with medication. If you have taken all the other measures and still find yourself fighting high cholesterol, it may be time to consult a physician to see if there is something in your genetic composition that is causing the problem. If you, you may require medications to assist in lowering your levels.
According to the WebMD website, statins are the most effective way and widely used medicines used to treat high cholesterol. They work in a couple of different ways: they can lower the amount of cholesterol your body naturally makes, raise your HDL cholesterol or change the way your body removes cholesterol. You just have to ensure you don't have a high cholesterol diet to help make the changes effective.