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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Cholesterol Cholesterol

high fiberfoods like fruit and nuts help reduce bad cholesterol

Practical ways to lower
cholesterol in your diet:

• Skip the eggs and start the day with oatmeal, one of the top cholesterol-lowering foods.

• Substitute butter with canola oil, olive oil, or plant sterol spreads like Promise or Smart Balance.

• Rather than beef or pork, add more poultry (with the skin removed) and fish to the menu.

• Skip the cheesecake and other high fat desserts, and opt for angel food cake, fresh fruit, gelatin, or yogurt.

Cholesterol is a term we hear quite often in reference to our health. But what exactly is cholesterol?

Cholesterol refers to a waxy substance found in the bloodstream naturally produced by the body and from the foods we consume. Cholesterol is necessary because it serves several bodily functions, but too much cholesterol can result in a build up of plaque which can clog the arteries, resulting in risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

Good & bad cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol. LDL (low density lipoprotein) is known as bad cholesterol.

HDL (high density lipoprotein) is referred to as good cholesterol, which carries plaque to the liver for disposal.

LDL cholesterol carries substances that are necessary for cell function and development, but when there is an excess of LDL it can build up in the walls of arteries slowing or even stopping the flow of blood.

Cholesterol dangers

People who have high cholesterol levels are often unaware of the condition since there are no symptoms.

Plaque builds up in the arteries over time and can take several years before serious health conditions result. Plaque causes a narrowing of the arteries, decreasing proper blood flow through the circulatory system. If the flow of blood becomes blocked, a stroke or heart attack can occur.

It is important to have your cholesterol levels checked periodically so that you know whether you are at risk. Although certain types of cholesterol lowering drugs like statins and other medications may be prescribed, you can also lower your cholesterol levels by simply watching your diet.

Diet & cholesterol

Fatty meats such as beef and pork are quiet high in cholesterol. Egg yolks and dairy products should also be avoided. If you already suffer from high cholesterol levels it is important that you limit these and other foods high in cholesterol.

The good news is that high-fiber foods can actually help reduce bad cholesterol levels. They include oatmeal, beans, nuts and fresh fruit, as well as fish and oils high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have also shown that when taken in moderation red wine can also help reduce cholesterol levels.

What's more, by eating wisely and choosing high cholesterol food substitutions you can help to avoid having to take statins or other cholesterol lowering drugs that often present adverse side effects.

also see -> Homocysteine

More about cholesterol around the Web:

Low Cholesterol Foods - Good discussion on how to lower cholesterol through diet with lists of foods and substitutes, with more information on high cholesterol foods to avoid.

11 Tips to Lower Cholesterol Fast - WebMD guide with facts & information on HDL, LDL and tryglyerides, overview of statin drugs and other cholesterol-lowering medications, plus tips & advice on low cholesterol foods and exercise to reduce risk.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.

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