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Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that is found in every cell of the body. It is involved in the production of cell membranes, some hormones, vitamin D, bile acids, and other tissues in the body. It also insulates nerves. Cholesterol is produced in the liver, but we also get cholesterol from our diet.
The amount of cholesterol in the body depends on factors such as the rate of cholesterol production in the liver, the rate of cholesterol clearance from the body, the amount of dietary fat (particularly saturated fat) and to a lesser extent, cholesterol consumed.
The excess cholesterol in our body circulates in the bloodstream. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can clog blood vessels and increase the risk fro heart disease and stroke.
Different types of Cholesterol
High-Density Lipoprotein (or HDL) cholesterol is a good type of cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps clear the LDL cholesterol out of the blood and reduces your risk for heart disease.
Cholesterol & Heart Disease
High cholesterol is one of the major contributors to heart disease. Research strongly indicates that lowering of cholesterol leads to a drop in the occurrence of heart disease. The main reason for this is because with less blood cholesterol, there is less plaque formation within the arterial walls. This will reduce the chances or an artery becoming blocked and causing a heart attack or stroke. Also, blood will flow through arteries with greater ease and this can lower blood pressure.
Reasons which lead to a Rise in Cholesterol:
Poor eating habits Smoking Excess weight or Obesity Heredity factor Daily Stress Over Alcohol consumption
Ways to control or lessen Cholesterol:
Good eating habits It is very important to follow good eating habits in order to lower your cholesterol.
Regular exercising Experts recommend at least 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week for at least 12 weeks for significant cholesterol reduction.Weight loss and maintaining it You can lower your LDL ("bad cholesterol") and elevate your HDL ("good cholesterol") just by dropping some pounds.
We really do care about your health and happiness and are thrilled you are interested in our articles, but please always check with your doctor before trying something new!
Lower Cholesterol With Supplements And Eliminating Some Items From Your Diet
Take niacin - carefully
Remember as one of the B vitamins, it is proven effective for lowering LDL and raising HDL. It is also one of the cheapest drugs available for lowering cholesterol. But, without medical supervision it may not be totally safe. A dose high enough to lower cholesterol can cause extremely high blood sugar or liver damage.
Take vitamin E
Studies indicate that vitamin E may have a positive impact on lowering cholesterol when taken in fairly large quantities - up to 800 IU per day. This is more than you can get from your diet alone. Larger amounts do not seem to cause any harm. Further studies showed that even amounts of just 25 IU per day helps in preventing LDL from sticking to blood vessel walls. That amount is only slightly higher than the recommended daily amount (RDA) of 12 to 15 IU. It's interesting to note that even that small amount has an impact on preventing that hardening of the arteries.
One study indicates that when 56 people took a calcium carbonate supplement, their total cholesterol went down 4 percent and their HDL increased 4 percent. That was taking a dosage of 400 milligrams of calcium three times a day with no harmful effects reported. That does refer to calcium carbonate.
Fill up on fiber
Remember several years back when oat bran was the latest craze for lowering cholesterol? Later studies arrived at inconsistent results, but the medical community does agree that soluble fiber, the kind found in oat bran, does help lower LDL and raise HDL. As little as three grams per day of fiber from oat bran or oatmeal can be effective. There are 7.2 grams of soluble fiber per 100 grams of dry oat bran and five grams of soluble fiber per 100 grams of dry oatmeal. There are other sources of fiber as well such as barley,
beans, peas and many other vegetables. Corn fiber is also good for reducing LDL, lowering it by as much as 5 percent in a recent study. Researchers used 20 grams of corn fiber a day. That would be a bit difficult for the average user when you take into account that one serving of corn has three grams of corn fiber. But, every little bit does make a difference. Pectin, which is found in fruits like apples and prunes, reduces cholesterol even better than oat bran, as does psyllium which is the fiber you find in many breakfast cereals and bulk laxatives.
Reduce sugar intake
Many people don't realize that sugar affects cholesterol and definitely affects triglycerides. Sugar stimulates insulin production, which in turn increases triglycerides. Men in particular, seem to be sensitive to this effect from sugar. The mineral chromium which helps to stabilize blood sugar, can also raise the level of HDL. 100 mcg of chromium three times daily can help to improve your cholesterol levels.
The jury is still out and the different schools of thought are still at odds regarding the benefit or lack of benefit to consuming alcohol. This suggestion has nothing to do with our previous discuss on red wine. A moderate amount may be helpful. The problem is that to one person a moderate amount might be a glass of wine with their meal, while to another it might be a half bottle of Scotch! Anything above the arbitrary "moderate" amount elevates serum cholesterol triglycerides and your uric acid levels as well as potentially increasing blood pressure all of which promote heart disease. So, the best bet would be to eliminate it totally.
There is positive evidence that exercise can lower LDL cholesterol and boost HDL cholesterol. Both aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling and cross country skiing and strength training like lifting weights or using weight machines all promote the improvement of cholesterol levels. An analysis of 11 studies on weight training showed that this exercise lowered LDL by 13 percent and raised HDL by 5 percent. If you lift weights, use light to moderate weights and do many repetitions. Eliminate caffeine
We Americans definitely have a love affair with our coffee! People who drink large amounts of caffeine (more than 6 cups a day) are far more prone to elevated cholesterol. That connection does not hold for tea drinkers. Limit your coffee intake to no more than one cup a day and eliminate caffeinated sodas entirely.
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. For the diet products you need to help you lower cholesterol go to http://www.shop4diets.com
Heart disease and stroke are often triggered by high cholesterol in the blood. Lowering your cholesterol for some is just a matter of changing your diet. Others may need to diet and the help of medications prescribed by their doctor. Either way, lowering your cholesterol can save your life.
Take a multivitamin - it can't hurt
While you are building your calcium and vitamin E intake, remember the old standby, vitamin C. It is the number one immune system booster and also drives up HDL. A study of people who took more than 60 milligrams of vitamin C per day (60 milligrams is the RDA) had highest LDL levels.
Changing your diet to lose weight is not the same as changing your diet to control your cholesterol level. While losing weight will certainly improve your health, you also need to monitor your diet to exclude foods that are causing your high cholesterol levels.
Monitoring your diet does not mean giving up all the foods you love. Many foods are healthy and good for you. For instance, a good variety of fruits and vegetables (with five or more servings per day), grain products like bread, cereal, rice, and pasta (choose six or more servings per day). In addition, lean meats and poultry ( without skin and up to 6 ounces per day), fat-free and low fat milk , beans and peas , nuts and seeds in limited amounts, and fatty fish ( which can be baked or broiled , but limited to 2-3 servings per week ). You should use vegetable oils like olive oil or corn oil when preparing your foods. There is also a large assortment of spices to give your food that extra pizzazz.
There are a number of foods you should omit from your diet if you want to lower your cholesterol. Whole milk and ice cream should be avoided. Additionally, butter, egg yolks, and cheese and foods that include them should be removed from your diet. Finally, organ meats like liver, high-fat processed meats (like sausage and hot dogs), and limit your intake of fried foods.
Eating healthier involves knowing how to prepare your foods and changing your diet. If you are not able to lower your cholesterol by diet and exercise alone, your doctor may have to prescribe medication.
Dieting and eating healthier to lower your cholesterol will improve your quality of life and significantly reduce your risk of other health problems. High cholesterol is a serious health problem, and you can take action to avoid further health complications.
For more information about lowering your cholesterol, visit Lower Cholesterol
With all the talks of obesity and America's race for thin bodies, cholesterol has suffered a beating. It is even one of the main figures in the development of hypertension, that contribute much to coronary heart disease. Often seen as the culprit in "fattening" America, cholesterol has become a food taboo, something that must be avoided at all costs.
What people do not know though is that there are two kinds of cholesterol and one kind is actually beneficial to the body. In fact, it is one of the essential substances that our bodies need to maintain balance.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance that can be found in fats or in lipids. Lipids are important because it is used to form cell membrane, used to balance hormones and help in other bodily functions. Too much cholesterol though tends to clog the bloodstream, eventually leading to heart disease. And because cholesterol cannot easily dissolved, only transported, the risk of build-up is great. As mentioned earlier, there two kinds of cholesterol, the LDL and the HDL cholesterol.
The bad cholesterol
The LDL cholesterol is frequently referred to as the "bad cholesterol" because too much of these can accumulate in the walls of the arteries and clog the blood stream that leads to the heart and the brain. This build up, called atherosclerosis, which can eventually lead to a heart attack or a stroke (brain attack) depending on where the arteries are leading to.
Snack all you want
Yep, that's what I said. Snack several times a day on low fat foods. Yogurt, fruit, vegetables, bagels and whole grain breads and cereals are excellent for snacking. In fact, there is evidence that points to lower cholesterol levels in people who eat several small meals a day. Eating often can keep hormones like insulin from rising and signaling your body to make more cholesterol. Make certain that your total intake of calories doesn't go up when you eat more often.
High LDL increases the risk for heart disease so it important that it is kept at normal range, which is below 100 mg/dL.
The good cholesterol
The HDL cholesterol on the other hand is referred to as the good cholesterol as high levels seem to protect a person from heart disease and hear attacks. According to some experts, instead of staying at the arteries like the LDL, HDL leaves the arteries and instead goes to the liver. In contrast with LDL levels, a low HDL increases the risk for heart attack. Levels of HDL should not be below 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women. Regular exercise has been found to increase the levels of HDL.
Cholesterol in food
Foods that come from animals contain cholesterol levels. Just how much depends on the kind of animal food. vegetables however do not contain any cholesterol.
In addition to the cholesterol that we get from food, the body is also capable of producing its own cholesterol. This creates a problem in overproduction since we also take in cholesterol through the foods that we eat. Average individuals or those who do not have any heart problems should only take in about 300 milligrams. For people who are already at risk for coronary heart disease and heart attack, physicians recommend the reduction in the intake of cholesterol. They should only take in less than 200 milligrams. Everyone is also advised to keep their consumption of saturated fats to a minimum, as these can significantly help in lowering the risk for heart disease.
People, who have severe high blood pressure, are however advised to take in no more than six ounces of lean meat and fish daily. They should also choose the products thatv they buy and ensure that they are fat free or low-fat.
Robert Thatcher is a freelance publisher based in Cupertino, California. He publishes articles and reports in various ezines and provides cholesterol resources on www.your-cholesterol-resource.info.
If you are overweight, the chances are almost 100% that you have a problem with high cholesterol. You can lower your LDL and elevate your HDL just by dropping some pounds. Eat fewer fatty foods and more fruits, vegetables, grains and beans and it's a pretty good bet that you will slowly but surely lose weight.
Include your family
Eating habits carry through to adulthood. Get your children on a healthy eating pattern early. Don't begin until they are at least 2 years of age, however. Babies need extra fat calories to develop properly.
Nuts to you!
Do you like nuts?
If you do, sprinkle a few on your cereal, bake them into muffins or pancakes or add them to casseroles or stir-fries. Walnuts and almonds are especially good. Eating about three ounces of walnuts a day is shown to decrease blood cholesterol levels by 10% more than an already low fat, low cholesterol diet. Walnuts are high in fat, but it is mostly polyunsaturated fat, which is the kind that lowers cholesterol. Another study shows that about three ounces of almonds which are rich in monounsaturated fat, lowers LDL by 9%!
Aha! All you chocoholics rejoice! Studies indicate that the fat in chocolate is stearic acid and has no effect on cholesterol levels. The chocolate does not increase LDL and could raise HDL a wee bit. But chocolate is still high in fat and calories so don't go overboard.
Drink fruit juices
You may have read about the low rate of heart disease in France. It led researchers to believe that the French habit of drinking red wine with meals contributes to this. Apparently some of the non-alcoholic ingredients in red wine raises HDL and suppresses the body from producing LDL. Purple grape juice works the same way. It will work like red wine to lower the fat level in your blood. The LDL lowering effect of red wine and grape juice comes from a compound that grapes produce normally to resist mold. The darker the grape juice, the better. Grapefruit juice does the same thing and it may also help your body get rid of that nasty plaque that we discussed earlier.
Cholesterol lowering effects of garlic have been demonstrated repeatedly in people with normal and high cholesterol. Eat all the garlic you can. It also seems to raise the HDL levels as well. If you are worried about the odor, take the tablets instead. They have proven to be nearly as effective as the cooked or raw cloves.
Gregg Hall is a business consultant and author for many online and offline businesses and lives in Navarre Florida with his 16 year old son. Get the diet products you need at http://www.shop4diets.com
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