High levels of cholesterol, often found in overweight and obese people, usually lead to a higher risk of heart disease and strokes. We all know that both obesity and high cholesterol are bad for your heart health.
But combine them with one or more other health problems — such as high blood pressure or high blood sugar — and these health risks can create a perfect storm known as metabolic syndrome.
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How to Lower Cholesterol with Diet?
Diet changes, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, cooking with herbs and spices, consuming soluble fiber and loading up on unsaturated fats, can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce these risks.
Here are 7 tips to lower cholesterol with your diet and help reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Choose healthier fats. You should limit both total fat and saturated fat. No more than 25 to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from dietary fats, and less than 7 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. Depending upon how many calories you eat per day, here are the maximum amounts of fats that you should eat:
- Limit foods with cholesterol. If you are trying to lower your cholesterol, you should have less than 200 mg a day of cholesterol. Cholesterol is in foods of animal origin, such as liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, shrimp, and whole milk dairy products.
- Eat plenty of soluble fiber. Foods high in soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. These foods include: – Whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal and oat bran – Fruits such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes – Legumes such as kidney beans, lentils, chick peas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can increase important cholesterol-lowering compounds in your diet. These compounds, called plant stanols or sterols, work like soluble fiber.
- Eat fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These acids won’t lower your LDL level, but they may help raise your HDL level. They may also protect your heart from blood clots and inflammation and reduce your risk of heart attack. Fish that are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, tuna (canned or fresh), and mackerel. Try to eat these fish two times a week.
- Limit salt. You should try to limit the amount of sodium (salt) that you eat to no more than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon of salt) a day. That includes all the sodium you eat, whether it was added in cooking or at the table, or already present in food products. Limiting salt won’t lower your cholesterol, but it can lower your risk of heart diseases by helping to lower your blood pressure. You can reduce your sodium by instead choosing low-salt and “no added salt” foods and seasonings at the table or while cooking.
- Limit alcohol. Alcohol adds extra calories, which can lead to weight gain. Being overweight can raise your LDL level and lower your HDL level. Too much alcohol can also increase your risk of heart diseases because it can raise your blood pressure and triglyceride level. One drink is a glass of wine, beer, or a small amount of hard liquor, and the recommendation is that.
Cholesterol and Obesity
Cholesterol is produced by the liver and found in high fat foods. It is a waxy substance that our body requires to help build cell walls, make vitamin D, make some hormones, and help us digest fats.
Our bodies make it naturally so the added cholesterol we get from fatty foods; is not required. In fact it is in excess and thus why it can cause health issues.
Cholesterol is a type of lipid, the part of our cells that help with energy storage, found in all animals. Any products coming from animals like milk, cheese, meat, eggs, and anything produced from these products, all contain cholesterol. Our livers already make enough cholesterol for us to survive.
Effects Of Eating Foods High In Cholesterol
When eating foods high in cholesterol, we are taking in more than our bodies can handle, so it builds up. Unfortunately, one of the places it likes to build up is in the arteries leading to our organs, especially our hearts. Cholesterol travels through our blood and the excess tends to stick in spots and form plaques. When this happens, blockages occur. These blockages, if severe enough, then result in heart attacks and strokes.
Cholesterol is not the only cause of heart disease and strokes, but it is high up on the charts. There are many myths when it comes to cholesterol. One of the biggest myths is that only overweight and obese individuals have high levels of cholesterol. This is not true.
High levels of cholesterol are due to the types of food we eat. The more fast, convenience, and processed foods we eat, the more likely we are to have higher levels of cholesterol. A person could be six feet tall, weigh 180 pounds and yet have a higher level of cholesterol than the person next to them who is five foot seven and weighs 300 pounds. It’s all about the food.
Another myth is that we have to be old to have these high levels. Again, this is not true. Since children are exposed to fast foods at a very young age, they are more likely nowadays to develop heart disease at a younger age than their parents before them. Many doctors’ advise getting heart check-ups starting from the age of twenty.
Regardless of the method of treatment taken, having bad cholesterol is not permanent. It can be reduced. By lowering these levels, we are diminishing our risk of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.