Cholesterol is a natural substance that the body produces through the liver. It’s waxy and circulates through the bloodstream, feeding the heart and brain. But when cholesterol is derived from foods like saturated fats and trans fats, the body overproduces LDL, which is the “bad” cholesterol.
HDL is the “good” cholesterol our bodies crave. Without HDL, our brains would not function properly, and we would suffer from other bodily disorders, like heart attacks and strokes. Higher levels of HDL helps to remove the bad cholesterol (LDL) from the body. Consequently, High levels of LDL may also adversely affect overall health by causing atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries), cardiovascular disease, and other disorders.
Your total cholesterol is made up of both LDL and HDL numbers. Revello Medical & Wellness Center’s physicians order tests in order to check your numbers accurately. The healthiest combination of both types of cholesterol measures HDL, good cholesterol,) around 40, and LDL, bad cholesterol,) around 100. Other contributing numbers within total cholesterol are essential to your overall number and used as biomarkers.
Cholesterol, along with triglycerides in the blood, can form atherosclerosis, which as previously mentioned is the plaque that builds up in the arteries. Excessive plaque can increase the chances of a coronary heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and other related issues. Triglycerides are the fat that is stored in the bloodstream from the excess fat in our diets. Triglycerides combine with the high LDL level and create harmful plaque build-up.
In addition to medications like statins, a change in diet can help to decrease LDL and Triglycerides, as well as raise your HDL to optimum levels.
Diet & Exercise
Healthier habits can help lower cholesterol naturally.
• Eat a healthy diet (such as the Mediterranean, Vegan or Dash)
• Quit smoking (contributes to atherosclerosis)
• Start a regular exercise program (30 minutes per day, 5 times per week is recommended)
• Cut back on alcohol and processed foods
Incorporate Healthy Foods and Nutrients
A significant contributor to successfully lowering LDL is the addition of soluble fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, mono-saturated fatty acids (MUFAs), powerful antioxidants and lutein, to your diet. However, in order to see the benefit of ultimately lowering bad cholesterol, an overall healthy diet must be maintained. This includes decreasing, and in some cases, completely eliminating processed foods from your diet. Cholesterol-lowering foods can drop your bad cholesterol levels by 5-10% within a few weeks; your cardiologist can speak with you about a personalized dietary plan.
Diets like the Mediterranean or the Dash diet are viable options for individuals that want to have healthy cardiovascular systems but still consume some animal products. These diets are based on eating mostly plant-based foods while consuming smaller amounts of lean proteins like finfish, shellfish, lean beef, or poultry. With a heart-healthy diet, the best advice is to load up on fresh organic produce, limit refined or processed foods, limit dairy, reduce alcohol and sugar intake, eliminate processed meats and excessive saturated fats.
If being vegan or vegetarian is better suited for one’s personal preference or needs, that is absolutely a remarkable way to stay healthy and protect
the heart. But the one thing we know from various studies and research is that processed carbohydrates, sugars, and trans fats cause inflammation and can exacerbate disorders, such as cholesterol, diabetes, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular conditions.
Food sensitivities or allergies to even “healthy foods” (gluten, eggs, dairy, etc.) can also cause this inflammatory effect and inadvertently raise cholesterol. If you’re eating healthy, but it’s ketogenic and high in fats, even healthy avocado and coconut oil, your numbers are inevitably going to be higher. It’s always best to speak to your physician about your diet and exercise plans.
The most common cholesterol-lowering drugs are statins. In recent years there have been other medication developments that may help to lower your total cholesterol levels.
It’s best to speak with your physician before changing your diet or exercise program. Your doctor will develop a strategy to suit your specific needs, along with a coordinated medication and lifestyle strategy.
Revello Medical and Wellness Centers
Revello Medical and Wellness is a family owned and operated medical practice founded in 1992. The vision of Revello Medical has always been to set our practice apart from the rest, and that starts from the moment you enter through the door. We are not your typical medical practice, upon arriving, our patients feel the warmth and familiarity from our front office staff, and that continues all the way through your visit with one of our dedicated physicians.
Our Physicians are always prepared to give you the personalized care you need and deserve and to pursue quality of excellence in your care.
Revello Medical Wellness & Activity Center
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