Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lowering Cholesterol With Diet - It Can Be Done

Excessive cholesterol in the bloodstream is one of the major causes of heart attacks and other cardio vascular diseases. However, despite this, cholesterol is essential for building membranes, manufacturing of bile, cell walls, nerve sheaths and the production of hormones. While many doctors prescribe medication to lower cholesterol or maintain levels in high risk patients, lowering cholesterol with diet is the preferred option for most people.

A cholesterol reading is made up of a number of parts but the two major ones are Low and High Density Lipoproteins (LDL and HDL). LDL is known as "bad" cholesterol which leaves plaque-like deposits in the arteries, which can ultimately narrow to such an extent that blood flow to the heart is interrupted, causing a heart attack. Scientific research has proved that consumption of large quantities of saturated fat raises the level of LDL cholesterol.

HDL is known as "good" cholesterol and it can help to clear away the LDL in the blood. Omega 3 from oily fish as well as lots of fruit and vegetables can raise the levels of HDL.

Unfortunately, diet isn't the only culprit here; high cholesterol levels can also result from smoking, lack of exercise, drinking alcohol and fluctuating hormones.

Lowering cholesterol with diet really involves a lifestyle change, particularly for those with a fondness for red meat, charcuterie and deep fried foods so here are some tips for keeping that cholesterol down.

1. Red meat is higher in saturated fat than fish or chicken (without the skin). If you must eat red meat, choose lean cuts and remove the fat. Grill or barbeque without additional fat or just a spray of olive oil. Grill or poach fish and chicken.

2. Use a low fat spread rather than butter or margarine and choose other low fat dairy products such as yoghurt and skimmed milk.

3. Avoid cakes and other baked foods which can be high in fat.

4. Do eat wholemeal bread and use brown rice and pasta.

5. If you have to fry food, use olive oil, rapeseed oil, corn oil or vegetable oil rather than butter or lard.

6. Do eat your five portions a day of fresh fruit and vegetables.

7. Use plenty of garlic as it is said to have cholesterol lowering properties.

Lowering cholesterol with diet is not too difficult, but don't forget to include regular exercise in your new lifestyle. If you possibly can, give up smoking and keep alcohol intake to a minimum. Don't forget to check your cholesterol level after three months. If you've stuck to your healthy diet and your cholesterol hasn't reduced, you must see your doctor as you may be one of those who needs medication to keep your cholesterol under control.

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