The doctor told us that we must reduce our cholesterol levels but it is too early to start medicating. What strategy can we adopt for the cardiovascular risk to which we are exposed and thus slow down the time to start treatment?
Both diet and lifestyle changing is required. We have to learn what foods suit us and will help to relocate our levels in normal numbers. If you have to get your cholesterol down but are lost in a sea of diets, recipes and dietary restrictions, do not panic: common sense is your best ally. With the doctor’s help, some information and of course, leaving up smoking, you can implement a series of measures to regulate your cholesterol levels.
1. Take cholesterol lowering supplements in moderation
There are many supplements that can help lower cholesterol [source], and more and more physicians who recommend their use, of course with a balanced diet and always after clinical consultation. The artichoke leaf extract, for example, has proven effective to reduce levels of low-density lipoproteins, which also sometimes called bad cholesterol. Many also recommend red yeast rice, whose ability to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels has been extensively scientifically studied, and green tea, which also helps us increase levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol – the good. [source]
2. Avoid foods bad for the heart
Refined sugars, white bread, or animal protein-rich food should be avoided… When it comes to caring for the health of our heart and against hypertension, it is important to dispense with certain foods and eating a diet low in fat. The vegetarian diet can also help reduce our cholesterol, but before undertaking, you must necessarily consult with your doctor.
When our diet is low in fiber, 94% of the cholesterol is reabsorbed and recycled by the body, according to the AHA – American Heart Association. Oats, barley, prunes, and beans, among others, are rich in fiber. There are also artificial supplements that help us to consume more of this compound, which helps remove cholesterol from the body through digestion. Depending on whether it is soluble in most common vegetables and certain fruit – or insoluble – which is more present in cereals, fiber acts in different ways during its passage through the digestive tract. If you suffer from intestinal disorders, you should consult a doctor before planning to eat more fiber.
4. A glass of wine
With its concentration of saponin and continued moderate consumption of wine -preferably, wine or grape juice lowers levels of bad cholesterol and raises the good, as demonstrated in 2003 a study by the University of California. Saponin can also be eaten with olive oil or soybean.
5. Against cholesterol, phytosterol
Phytosterols are the plant equivalent of cholesterol takes place in the metabolism and thus prevents its absorption. Combined with a low-fat diet, their continued use can help our body to assimilate less cholesterol and, eventually, accumulate less of the same diet. The natural concentration of phytosterol is very low even in products where it is abundant (corn, soybean or sunflower-oil). So it is incorporated in many industrially processed foods like margarine, milk or yogurt.
Excessive alcohol intake is a toxic habit. However, in different research, it has been shown that moderate alcohol consumption may help protect the body against heart disease. This is possible because there is a relationship between cholesterol and alcohol.
When we say drinking moderately, we are referring to no more than one drink per day for women and as for men, one to two drinks per day. Recent studies claim that people who drink in moderation are between 14% and 25% less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease compared to people who do not consume alcohol in moderation.
Effect on HDL
Other research has shown that a moderate alcohol intake could improve the level of HDL cholesterol (known by some as good cholesterol), which is protective against heart disease.
Notably, the reports say that the health benefits are provided by the alcohol content and not the type of alcoholic beverage (wine, vodka, whiskey or beer). Also, many experts have noted that these investigations seem to support that drinking alcohol not excessively may help the heart.
Effects of wine on oxidation of LDL cholesterol
The alcohol contained in the various beverages is not the only substance that interacts with lipoproteins. Red wine contains phenolic substances which can act as antioxidants. Studies show that wine phenolics inhibit oxidation of normal LDL. As is known, when LDL undergo oxidation, it is converted into particles that can be phagocytosed by macrophages, and contributes to the formation of the foam cell, one of the first stages in the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. So, wine’s antioxidant properties might reduce atherogenic LDL.
Important dietary guidelines
We must also clarify that it is important to maintain a proper lifestyle to help improve your cholesterol levels, and strengthen cardiovascular health. Therefore it is recommended to drink alcohol moderately, quit smoking, physical exercise 5 times a week (after consulting your doctor) and eat a balanced diet (low in fat and salt, low intake of red meat and high consumption of fish and chicken, soluble fiber, fruits and green vegetables).
Finally, do not forget that only moderate alcohol consumption may benefit to cardiovascular health. Alcohol in excess is very harmful to health.
– http://www.cholesterolmenu.com/alcohol-and-cholesterol/ “Does Alcohol Consumption Affect Your Cholesterol Levels?”
In this article, we will answer the following questions:
– What is cholesterol and what does it mean to have high cholesterol?
– What is LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol?
– What are the high cholesterol foods that should be restricted?
– How to lower cholesterol by natural means (diet and healthy lifestyle).
What does having high cholesterol mean?
Cholesterol is a lipid generated internally by the liver, and that in itself is necessary for the proper functioning of certain hormones, digestive and body functions. There are two kinds of cholesterol or lipoprotein that shape its structure. The most popular is known as “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and “good cholesterol” (HDL). It is known that LDL cholesterol deposits in the arteries, thus increasing the different coronary risks, while HDL removes cholesterol from the arteries.
Hypercholesterolemia is diagnosed when levels of total cholesterol are over 240 mg/dl, or also when levels of LDL is above 130 mg/dl. Having also HDL below 35 mg/dl in men and 40 mg/dl in women poses also heart disease risk. Cholesterol is essential for our body. But high or very high levels can be very dangerous. Having high cholesterol, and not remedy to lower it puts you at risk for arteriosclerosis and eventually cardiovascular disease. In fact, having much bad cholesterol can increase the likelihood of suffering a stroke, heart disease, and other problems.
Also consider that people who are smoking, have high blood pressure, problems with both diabetes and obesity will be more vulnerable to the harmful effects of bad cholesterol.
What would be the consequences?
If after a blood analysis (lipid panel test), you have been diagnosed to have cholesterol above what is considered “normal” and do nothing to lower it, as time passes, consequences for your health can be quite dangerous. Namely:
Arteriosclerosis: due to obstruction of the veins because of cholesterol, restricting proper blood circulation both to our hearts as the rest of the body.
Stroke: due to the lack of blood supply to the brain. It is very dangerous because it can cause death.
Angina: due to lack of blood supply to part of the heart. It occurs especially when carrying out some sort of effort, gradually disappearing when resting.
Coronary heart disease: can result in a heart attack.
What foods are dangerous and need to be restricted? What causes high cholesterol?
There are some high cholesterol foods that are particularly harmful to our body by increasing levels of cholesterol in the blood. Basically, they are:
– Foods rich in saturated fats: red meat, lamb, pork, sausages (ham, bacon), burgers, crustaceans, animal lard.
– Bakery: Cupcakes, cakes, donuts and muffins, sweets, candies, and biscuits…
– Junk food in general: hamburgers.
– Salty snacks: especially chips, fried nuts, crackers …
– Whole milk products: whole milk, mature cheese, milk creams…also avoid butter and margarine.
– Certain sauces: such is the case with mayonnaise.
How to lower cholesterol naturally
Follow a healthy, natural and balanced diet
– Opt for especially for foods low in saturated fat or cholesterol.
– Avoid fried foods. It is better to opt for olive oil or other vegetable oils, such as soybean, sunflower or corn.
– Add to your diet foods rich in fiber, which will help to lower high cholesterol according to CholesterolMenu website. Among these, there are cereals and whole grains, oats, rice, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
– Use skim milk instead of whole.
– Limit consumption of eggs to 3 or 4 per week.
Practice exercise regularly
Exercise is essential for enjoying good health. It also helps positively in maintaining our levels of blood fats at bay. Practice at least 40 minutes of exercise every day, especially emphasizing aerobic exercise because it slightly increases the heart rate: brisk or fast walking, running, swimming, cycling … Choose from your favorite, you will realize how quickly your LDL cholesterol was reduced significantly (also including triglycerides). Remember, the most important thing is not the intensity but the duration of the exercise.
Did you know that smoking, although it does not increase cholesterol levels, is able to reduce HDL (good cholesterol)? Therefore it is advisable to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke daily until completely eliminate it from your routine.
Are you overweight? Reduce it
When high cholesterol is accompanied by excess weight, a suitable option that helps very positively to reduce levels is to lose weight. We should note that obesity increases LDL cholesterol levels one hand, while on the other tends to reduce HDL cholesterol. A helpful option in reducing your weight is regular physical exercise, following a balanced diet low in calories, and eating fewer quantities of food a day (ie, eat fewer calories than you actually consume according to your daily physical activity).
How to raise good cholesterol HDL?
Opt especially for the following foods:
Oils: choose olive oil and sunflower oil in your diet, but without subjecting them to cooking to avoid losing their virtues and properties.
Nuts: eat each day a handful (3 oz maximum) of certain nuts, such as walnuts, almonds and peanuts (yes, natural and never fried).
Also practice regular exercise, which not only lowers bad LDL cholesterol but is also able to increase good cholesterol levels. As mentioned above, the best exercise is aerobic exercise.