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Cholesterol - All You Need to Know!

When you go to a doctor and he tells you your cholesterol level, you are usually told your TOTAL blood cholesterol level. Ever wondered how cholesterol gets into your blood? Your heart makes the most of the cholesterol you need - yes, it should. Some cholesterol is absorbed from the food you eat.

Why does the body need cholesterol?

The body needs cholesterol to make some important hormones including estrogen and testosterone. In addition, cholesterol is part of the protective lining that surrounds the nerves and membranes of other cells.

Why aren't high blood cholesterol levels good?

Increased cholesterol levels are associated with heart disease. To better assess your risk of heart disease, it is important to know not only your total cholesterol but also your HDL. Cholesterol levels are composed of HDL (high density lipoprotein), LDL (low density lipoprotein), and VLDL (very low density lipoprotein). LDL is a bad guy. HDL is a good guy. Why not? LDL cholesterol attaches to the walls of your bloodstream and can cause blockage. VLDL is the precursor to LDL cholesterol. HDL runs in the bloodstream, collects bad cholesterol, and brings it back to the liver where it is broken down.

What is considered a healthy level in the blood?

It is expected to maintain a total cholesterol level below 200mg / dl. Values ​​above 240 mg / dl are considered significant. If you know your LDL value, it is advisable to have a cholesterol lower than 130 mg / dl. Values ​​for LDL above 160 are considered high. Because HDL is a good guy, you want this level to be high. Values ​​below 35 mg / dl are high risk indicators for heart disease. It is preferable to have HDL levels of almost 50 mg / dl or higher.

Cholesterol Amount: HDL ratio is a good indicator of risk. To calculate this important ratio, divide your total Cholesterol value with your HDL value. The higher the ratio, the greater the risk of heart disease. For example: Amount = 240 mg / dl HDL = 30 mg / dl Ratio = 240/30 = 8.0

* This is a high risk ratio.



What is cholesterol?

It is a candle substance, like fat.

What foods contain cholesterol?

Animal food comes from ONLY foods that contain cholesterol. Foods from plants, even natural fats, do NOT contain cholesterol.

Cholesterol in foods:

There are several factors that affect your blood cholesterol level. One factor, diet is high in dietary cholesterol. Moderation is advised to keep cholesterol levels in check. The American Heart Association and the National Cholesterol Education Program recommend that you take 300 mg of cholesterol or less daily.

As mentioned above, foods from animal foods are ONLY foods that contain cholesterol. Foods from plants, even natural fats, do NOT contain cholesterol. Do certain foods from animals originate higher in cholesterol than others? Yes, yes.

Not many people enjoy eating organ meat, like the liver. If you are someone who does this, you should know that your body's organs are high in cholesterol, 270 mg per 3-ounce liver. While the liver is nutritious, if you are at risk for heart disease then you should limit your intake.

Egg yolk has had a bad rap in the past. Why not? This is because egg yolk is high in cholesterol, 215 mg per egg yolk. Citrus is nutritious, its purpose is to provide nutrients for chick embryos to grow. Unfortunately, it contains too much cholesterol to eat as you like. You should limit the amount of yolks you eat to 3 or less per week. What about white people? Eat as much white as you like. Egg white does not contain cholesterol and is a rich and complete source of protein.

To limit the amount of egg yolk, you can substitute 2 egg whites for one whole egg when roasted. For example, the recipe requires 2 eggs. You can use 1 whole egg plus 2 egg whites or 4 white eggs. By doing this simple replacement, you will reduce your cholesterol content. Another option is to use an egg substitute, check the label for the egg equivalent.

For meat, look for lower cuts of meat, fish, and poultry. Reduce excess fat before cooking. Choose low-fat dairy products. By following these steps, you will not be able to eliminate all cholesterol but you will be taking important steps towards a healthy diet.

Read food labels for low-cholesterol or low-cholesterol foods. How do you know if a cholesterol product is low? The following are the requirements for food labels (regulated by the government):

Label claims - Per Serving:

(1) Free Cholesterol - Less than 2 mg of cholesterol and Less than or equal to 2 g of saturated fat

(2) Low Cholesterol - Less than or equal to 20 mg of Cholesterol and Less than or equal to 2 g of saturated fat

(3) Reduce OR Low Cholesterol - At least 25% less cholesterol than the original and Less than or equal to 2 g of saturated fat

The above shows the need for saturated fat. This is because blood cholesterol levels are significantly affected by dietary fat intake. Cholesterol and saturated fat are usually found in the same foods, so they can sometimes be confused. In animal products, both lean parts (meat or muscle) and fat tissue contain cholesterol. This is why some low-fat (animal) foods can be high in cholesterol. Foods like oysters and meat are high in cholesterol but low in saturated fat.

Quiz Questions:

High fat, 80-89% of calories are from fat. Do they contain cholesterol?

J: No. Peanuts are from plants so they contain NO cholesterol.

Do not assume that meals containing vegetables or cereals are cholesterol-free. Vegetables and cereals are cholesterol-free BUT most recipes include egg yolk, milk, meat, or butter. Cholesterol content depends on the ingredients of the recipe as a whole.

Saturated Fat Effects:

If you have heart disease or have a family history of heart disease, your doctor may have asked you to follow a low-fat diet and cholesterol. Fat to watch is saturated fat. Saturated Fat Increases the "bad" levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood. This is why it is so important to pay attention to the amount of saturated fat in your diet.

You don't have to avoid all the fat. Unsaturated fats really lower LDL cholesterol levels. "Saturated fat" includes unsaturated and unsaturated fats. Single unsaturated fats are considered better than unsaturated fats. Why not? In addition to lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol, unsaturated fats lower HDL "good" cholesterol. As discussed above, HDL is beneficial because it accumulates LDL and brings it back to the liver where LDL is broken down. Fat-free fats leave beneficial HDL cholesterol.

* Insufficient Fat Sources: Corn Oil, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil, Soybean Oil

* Single Saturated Fat Sources: Olive Oil, Canola Oil, Peanut Oil

The main sources of saturated fat are from animal foods and some from plants. High fat saturated animal foods include beef, beef, goat, pork, butter, cream, milk (whole and 2%), cheese, and other dairy products made from whole milk. Highly nutritious foods include coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil and cocoa butter. Check the food labels for the type of oil or fat used in production.

The American Heart Association dietary guidelines recommend that (1) Fat intake be less than 30 Percent of calories daily, and (2) Saturated fat intake should be less than 10 Percent of calories.

Cooking Tips from the American Heart Association -

To reduce saturated fat in meat:

(1) Use a rack to clean fat when roasting, baking, or burning. Instead of seasoning with a solution, save the meat with wine, fruit juice or an oil-based sweetener.

(2) Cook a day ahead of time. Stews, stews, soups or other dishes where fats cook into liquid can be cooled. Then the hard fat can be removed from the top.

(3) Make gravity after the fat has hardened and can be removed from the liquid.

(4) Broil of fried meats such as hamburgers, mutton, pork, and steak.

(5) When the recipe calls for meat first, try stirring it under the meat instead of the pan.

(6) Avoid adding butter or margarine to vegetables while cooking. Instead use herbs and spices for flavor

Cholesterol Reduction:

If you have high cholesterol and you make the necessary changes in your diet and activity levels, your cholesterol levels will start to decline after three to six months. If not your doctor may recommend lowering your cholesterol medication. If you are given a cholesterol reduction medication, keep in mind that this is only part of the plan. For maximum benefits and effectiveness, you must continue to eat low-fat foods and cholesterol and continue to exercise.

Other lifestyle changes you need to take to prevent heart disease include losing weight if you are overweight, quitting smoking if you smoke, controlling high blood pressure, and managing stress in your life. Traditionally, doctors have used drugs to control blood cholesterol.

Here are some facts to consider before you decide to take a cholesterol lowering drug:

75% of all heart disease can be prevented by lifestyle changes including dietary changes and increased activity.

Cholesterol reduction is known as "antihypertensive agent". There are five main groups: (1) Fatty acid derivatives - Atromid-S (clofibrate) and Lopid (gemdibrozil), which work by preventing the liver from making or releasing cholesterol into the bloodstream, (2)) and Colestid (cholestipol), which binds bile acids and prevents their absorption, (3) Nicotinic acid - Nicolar (nicotinic acid) which lowers the secretion of VLDL to the formation of bad LDL cholesterol, (4) Probucol - Lorelco (probucol), which increases the release of cholesterol including LDL and HDL cholesterol, and (5) HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors - Mevacor (lovastatin), Pravastatin, and Zocor (simvastatin), which help lower LDL cholesterol.

Now that you know what medications are and what the general course of action is in the body, you should be able to make informed decisions with your doctor about whether or not to lower the cholesterol of your medications. Again, it cannot be emphasized, proper diet and exercise regimen can help you fight your high cholesterol. Good luck!


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