Have you had your cholesterol checked lately? Many people don’t know their cholesterol levels or what natural low cholesterol foods are available to help control bad cholesterol. You might be asking what exactly is cholesterol, and why should it be controlled? Excellent question, read below.
What is Cholesterol?
Without going into great detail, cholesterol is a fatty substance made naturally by the body for use in cell membranes and hormones. A certain amount is needed to maintain health, but when too much is produced, it becomes a concern for heart health. When given your “Total Cholesterol” number, it is a summary of different types of fats circulating in the body. A healthy amount of cholesterol for an average person should be less than or equal to 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL).
Types of Cholesterol
- Good Cholesterol – High-density lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C) protects against heart disease by removing “bad” cholesterol. Men should work to achieve greater than or equal to 40 mg/dL, while women should work towards greater than or equal to 50 mg/dL. We’ll discuss how to increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL-C) later in this article.
- Bad Cholesterol – A person genetics and their diet cause Low-density lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL-C). An average human should aim for less than 130 mg/dL (less than 100 mg/dL for those diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease). Maintaining a healthy weight and limiting the intake of saturated and trans fat can help keep your LDL-C levels low.
- Triglycerides are another major component of blood lipids. Unlike the two listed above, triglycerides are formed when excess nutrients (excess calories from protein, carbohydrates, fat, etc.) are stored as fat. You should work to maintain less than 150 mg/dL.
People who have high cholesterol levels are more at risk at having heart disease, liver disease and many other illnesses. You can work to lower your cholesterol by exercising regularly and eating the correct amount of Low Cholesterol Foods.
Low Cholesterol Foods
1. LEAN MEATS – rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and micro-nutrients
- Lean cuts of red meats
- Lean chicken/turkey meats
- fish (Excellent Source of Omega -3)
2. VEGETABLES – low in calorie-content, high in dietary fibre & dietary nutrient, minerals and vitamins such as vitamins C, E and K, vitamin B-complex, etc
3. GRAINS – high-energy content, high dietary fibre content (Note, start your day with oatmeal. Experts agree this is one of the top cholesterol-lowering superfoods.)
4. NUTS AND SEEDS – Large amounts of vitamins, minerals, high in dietary fibre, low in calorie content
5. FRUITS – low in calorie content, large amounts of vitamins & nutrients
Fighting diseases and building healthier immune systems is an on-going battle in the United States. The first step in combating the effects of high cholesterol is to know your count.
I recommend scheduling a physical with your doctor and requesting a cholesterol check plus purchasing an inexpensive cholesterol monitor to check your cholesterol levels periodically. We recommend storing your pantry and refrigerator with the low cholesterol foods mentioned above. Your health is essential, and you are in control; take control now.
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