A cholesterol lowering diet is recommended as the first line of response to high cholesterol. Once you go on cholesterol lowering drugs, you are never supposed to go off. Therefore, if you can change your cholesterol level through diet modifications, you will be better off.
Cholesterol is found in the lipids (which are the fats) of the blood stream and cells of the body. It is a soft, waxy substance which helps to form cell membranes and some hormones, and performs other functions necessary in a healthy body. Cholesterol and other fats do not dissolve in the blood, and are transported to and from cells by carriers called lipoproteins. The two significant lipoproteins are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL (âbadâ cholesterol) is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. Too much LDL circulating can gradually build up artery causing plaque in the walls of the arteries feeding the heart and brain. A clot forming near this plaque can block the blood flow to part of the brain, causing a stroke or to part of the heart muscle causing a heart attack.
A Cholesterol lowering diet aims to balance LDL and HDL cholesterol to reduce the risks. Increasing the fiber in your diet and lowering the fat is key. There are certain foods which you need to include in any cholesterol lowering diet.
For instance, starting your day with 1 and a half cups of cooked oatmeal (not the instant kind) garnished with a banana will provide all of the soluble fiber you need in the day. It is a great breakfast on any diet.
At lunchtime, have a salad. Instead of using cheese, meat or croutons, add 2 ounces of walnuts for protein and crunch. Almonds are another nut which have a similar effect.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in most fish help the heart in many ways such as reducing blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. If you have already had one or more heart attacks, fish oil â” or omega-3 fatty acids â” significantly reduces the risk of sudden death. You should have two servings of baked or grilled fish a week.
When you are going to use fat, always opt for olive oil first. Olive oil contains a mix of antioxidants which lower your “bad” cholesterol and leave your “good” cholesterol untouched.
Meanwhile, there are a number of foods modified to be good on a cholesterol lowering diet. Certain margarines, orange juice and yogurt drinks have all been fortified with plant sterols to help reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 10 percent. You need at least two grams of plant sterols every day. This equals about two 8-ounce (237 milliliters) servings of plant sterol-fortified orange juice.
A cholesterol lowering diet can mean changing your eating patterns. The heart benefits to making the changes are great. The consequences for not making the changes can be fatal. Fortunately, it is even easier than ever to introduce a cholesterol lowering diet into your lifestyle today.