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The Cholesterol Diet: Foods To Lower Your Cholesterol And Foods To Avoid
By Frank Clark
Cholesterol comes in two major forms and it is important to not only understand the difference between the two forms, but also understand the types of foods that increase "good" while lowering "bad" cholesterol. Only through such understanding can you choose a diet that can lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease and help prevent a heart attack or stroke.
HDL versus LDL Cholesterol
Because does not dissolve in the blood, it must be transported by lipoproteins to and from the cells within the body. HDL, or "good" is high density lipoprotein and it carries up to 1/3 of the blood throughout the body. HDL is considered "good" because high levels of HDL have been shown to protect against heart disease and heart attack. LDL, on the other hand, is considered to be "bad" cholesterol. When excessive amounts of low density lipoprotein are in the blood, it can accumulate within the inner walls of the arteries over time and form plague that can restrict blood flow through the arteries.
The Sources of Cholesterol
The in your bloodstream comes from both the food you eat as well as naturally from your own body. Nearly 75 percent of the located in your blood is produced by your liver and other cells within your body while the other 25 percent comes from the food you eat. LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, is produced naturally by the body, but hereditary factors may cause your body to produce too much of the cholesterol. This is why it is important to make healthy dietary choices to better control the 25 percent of production that comes from food.
Food to Avoid
Food high in saturated and trans fats: Avoid eating food high in saturated and trans fats. Read food
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labels to determine the amount of saturated and trans fats they contain. These labels will help you avoid foods high in fat and allow you to choose more healthy alternatives. Also look for foods with the heart-check mark symbol on their label. This label indicates that the food is approved by the American Heart Association as part of a healthy diet.
Whole fat dairy products: Avoid whole fat dairy products such as whole milk, butter, full-fat cheese and yogurt. If possible, replace them with fat-free, reduced-fat or low-fat dairy products.
Foods high in dietary cholesterol: Avoid foods high in dietary including whole eggs, shellfish, and organ meats. Replace whole eggs with egg whites and organ meats with lean meats. As a goal, try to limit your intake of to less than 300 mg a day.
Foods to Lower "Bad" Cholesterol
Almonds and walnuts: Almonds and walnuts have been shown to lower LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. Just about a handful of almonds or walnuts a days can significantly lower your levels while improving the health of your blood vessels.
Foods with soluble fiber: Oatmeal contains soluble fiber that can lower LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, while keeping HDL, or "good" cholesterol, constant. Additional foods containing soluble fiber include apples, pears, barley and rice.
Foods with omega 3 fatty acids: Fish contains omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to lower LDL while raising HDL cholesterol. Recommended fish with omega 3 fatty acids include salmon, sardines, albacore tuna and mackerel. Food other than fish containing omega 3 fatty acids include canola oil, flaxseed and soybean oil.
Preparing a Diet
Begin by determining your dietary goals. Do you need to lower your considerably or only slightly? Do you want to lose weight at the same time as you lower your cholesterol? Will this be a short-term dietary change or a complete lifestyle change?
Only once you know your goals can you properly plan your new diet plan and begin to lower your bad and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Frank Clark is a staff writer at Proexercise.com, www.proexercise.com, an online retailer of fitness products including nutritional supplements, vitamins, and herbs.
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