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Benefits of Cholesterol Lowering Diet
- Reducing cholesterol can reduce your risk of cardiovascular-related death by up to 42%
- High cholesterol levels lead to atherosclerosis which narrows arteries and increases risks of blockages
- Low cholesterol diet can lower LDL cholesterol levels, increase HDL levels and improve blood circulation
Having high cholesterol can be dangerous to your health. That’s not news to most of us. Unfortunately, too many of us are putting our lives at risk by eating a diet that contributes to higher levels of cholesterol in our blood. The answer is to choose a cholesterol lowering diet which will not only reduce your LDL numbers but may have some other positive health effects as well.
Why Shoot for Normal Cholesterol Levels
During the last two decades, many studies have been conducted to determine the benefits of opting for a diet to lower cholesterol to recommended levels. In 1994, a study was conducted in Scandinavia that involved 4,400 patients who already had been diagnosed with heart disease and who had cholesterol levels over the recommended level of 200 mg/dL. Reducing their cholesterol levels by about one-fourth reduced many of the participants’ health risks: heart disease death risk was cut by 42%, the need for bypass operations was reduced by 37%, and the number of nonfatal heart attacks was reduced by about one-third.
The Dangers of High Cholesterol
Why does lowering your total cholesterol numbers have these effects? When you have too much cholesterol in your body, the excess ends up moving through your bloodstream and getting trapped on the walls of your arteries. Over time, other minerals and debris combine with this cholesterol and it begins to harden. This process is known as atherosclerosis. This causes several things to happen: the artery passages become narrower which constricts blood circulation throughout your body, the arteries become less flexible which further hampers blood flow, and parts of the hardened cholesterol can break off into the blood then cause a blockage. Those blockages can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and death.
Basics of a Cholesterol Lowering Diet
Because your body already makes most of the cholesterol you need for good health, you can easily reduce your intake without causing any problems. The main diet recommended by the American Heart Association is known as the Step 1 diet. This is for people who are trying to find ways to lower their LDL cholesterol levels through lifestyle changes for the first time.
To lower your cholesterol, you need to reduce the amount of fat you consume. No more than 30% of your calories per day should come from fat and less than 10% should come from saturated fat which is found most often in red meats. You also want to keep the amount of cholesterol you consume to less than 300 mg per day while also keeping your sodium intake below 2,400 mg per day. Additionally, you want to increase the amount of monounsaturated fat, such as that found in olive oil, to about 15%. This type of fat can increase your HDL cholesterol level which is also good for your health. In addition to following this type of diet, your physician might also recommend lowering cholesterol supplements, such as garlic.
By following this type of diet, you’ll not only drop your cholesterol levels but can also decrease your blood pressure and lose weight.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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