Monday, March 8, 2010

Facts about Blood Cholesterol:Diet Recommendations to Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol is important and integral for ensuring a healthy life. As per the American Heart Institute, about 75 percent of cholesterol is generated in the body, whilst about 25 percent is made available from the food that we consume. The focus of a healthy heart diet should be to reduce the levels of LDL ( or bad cholesterol) and improve the levels of HDL ( or good cholesterol) in the body. Simple dietary tips and lifestyle modifications can help control the level of LDL in the blood. Reducing the intake of unhealthy trans fats and consuming a balanced and nutritious diet is the key to ensuring cardiac health. This article provides insight into the dietary strategies to lower the levels of blood cholesterol.
Facts about Blood Cholesterol: Cholesterol for Health
Cholesterol is often misinterpreted
as harmful component
Cholesterol, often portrayed as an evil compound, is actually quite essential for the production of various hormones, and bile acids, and is an important component of the cell membranes.

However, higher than normal levels on cholesterol in the blood, are harmful. Diets high in cholesterol are associated with the risk of developing atherosclerosis, hypertension, stroke, cancer and coronary artery disease.

Statistics about serum cholesterol level that you ought to know:

  • The total blood cholesterol level should be less than 200mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter).
  • LDL cholesterol or ‘bad’ cholesterol should be less than 130 mg/dl.
  • HDL cholesterol or ‘good’ cholesterol should be more than 35 mg/dl.
  • Triglycerides level should be less than 150 mg/dl.
Diet Recommendations to Lower Cholesterol: Diet to Control Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol levels and ratios can be improved by making certain dietary changes and making a conscious effort to include particular heart-healthy foods. Here are certain foods that need to be avoided in order to lower the cholesterol levels in blood. Reducing your overall cholesterol intake and dietary fat intake will enable you to achieve optimum cholesterol levels with ease.
  • Animal Foods ( espeically non vegetarian diet)  that you ought to stay away from are – beef liver (331 mg per 85 grams), egg yolk (213 mg in 1 large egg), prawns (166 mg per 85 grams), beef lean (73 mg per 85 grams), chicken breast (72 mg per 85 grams), and turkey (73 mg per 85 grams).
  • Red meat should be consumed infrequently, and in very small portion sizes.
  • Poultry and eggs ought to be consumed 0 to 3 times per week.
  • Saturated fats (butter, clarified milk fat, and margarine), animal fats, trans fats (biscuits, cookies, and pastries), and hydrogenated oils must be eliminated altogether from the diet. These are loaded with cholesterol, and as a consequence of consuming large amounts of these foods, the cellular membranes become less fluid in nature. Research states that an alteration in the cell membrane structure results in the development of virtually any disease.
Foods to Lower Cholesterol Naturally: Diet for Cholesterol Control
Whilst avoiding the foods mentioned in the list above, it is crucial to incorporate certain foods that are considered beneficial for the heart and also help in controlling cholesterol levels. These foods include,
    Flax Seeds are beneficial
    to lower cholesterol levels
  • Fish provide omega 3 fatty acids which are beneficial for the heart.
  • Incorporate olive oil in to your daily cooking. Olive oil comprises of mono-saturated fatty acids. It also contains lots of anti-oxidants and offers abundant health benefits. Olive oil lowers LDL, and increases HDL. Furthermore, it also prevents oxidative damage to LDL and helps in better control of serum triglycerides. Flax Seed oil is also considered beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels in the blood.
  • Remember to consume milk and its products in moderation, and choose only the low fat varieties. 250 ml of whole milk contains 33mg of cholesterol, while low fat varieties contain 18 mg, and skimmed milk contains 4 mg.
This list of foods and do's and don'ts will keep cholesterol levels in control and also prevent complications related to cardiac disorders.