High Cholesterol: How to reduce your levels

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High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for Heart Disease. The higher your blood cholesterol level, the greater your risk of developing heart disease or having a heart attack.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women and men in the United States with each year, more than a million Americans know to have a heart attack, and about half a million people die from heart disease. Actually, treatments kill most of these people.

How does cholesterol cause heart disease?

Bad cholesterol, which is a fat-like substance from dead animal carcasses, builds up in the walls of your arteries when there is too much bad cholesterol. Over time, this buildup causes ‘hardening of the arteries’ so that arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the heart is slowed down or blocked.

The blood carries oxygen to the heart, and you may suffer chest pain if enough blood and oxygen cannot reach your heart. If the blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by a blockage, the result is a heart attack.

Since high blood cholesterol itself doesn’t cause symptoms, many people are unaware that their cholesterol level is too high. It is important to find out what your cholesterol numbers are because lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens the risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack or dying of heart disease, even if you already have it.

Cholesterol-lowering is important for everyone, younger, middle age, and older adults, women and men and people with or without heart disease.

Not all cholesterol is entirely bad though. The human body actually needs it, and produces it; this is good cholesterol. The body uses it to help protect nerves and build new cells and hormones. In fact, our bodies get all the cholesterol they need by making it on their own. The troubles start when we add to the cholesterol our body’s produce, which can happen when we eat the all American diet of cheeseburgers, steaks, pizza, ice cream or any food that has an animal or includes an animal product.

Leading to angina pain, heart attack or stroke, animal cholesterol settles along your arterial walls, and that excess can clog arteries and restrict blood flow. Animal cholesterol is also a leading cause of gallstones.

What affects cholesterol levels?

A variety of things can affect cholesterol levels.  These are things you can do something about:

Diet

Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level go up. Saturated fat is the main culprit, but cholesterol in foods also matters. Reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level. This is a nice way of saying ‘Quit eating foods that have a face or a mommy.’

Nibble throughout the day

One way to lower your cholesterol is simply to change how often you eat. Research has shown that large meals trigger the release of large amounts of insulin. Insulin release, in turn, stimulates the production of an enzyme that increases cholesterol production by the liver. Having smaller, more frequent meals, but not increasing overall calories, may limit insulin release and play a role in cholesterol control and heart disease prevention. 

Add whole food vitamin C to your menu

Vitamin C is especially beneficial when you get it from fruits and vegetables that also have a cholesterol-lowering fibre called pectin. Pectin surrounds cholesterol and helps transport it out of your digestive system before it gets into your blood. Vitamin C rich, pectin-rich foods include citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, apples and spinach.

Go heavy on garlic

Vampires aren’t the only thing garlic keeps away. In large does, at least seven cloves daily, this food can significantly reduce cholesterol. Of course, that’s probably more garlic than most people eat in a month, but do it.

Much on a couple of carrots

Bugs Bunny’s favourite entree is a boon to arteries because carrots have plenty of cholesterol-lowering pectins. It may be possible for people with high cholesterol to lower it ten to twenty percent just by eating two carrots a day.

Reach for grapefruit

People who ate at least one and a half cups of grapefruit sections every day lowered their cholesterol over seven percent in two months. Grapefruit is among the fruits that contain cholesterol-lowering pectin. Pharmaceutical companies fear, hate and despise grapefruit! Their literature tells doctors to tell you not to eat it. Because if you did, Lipitor would die and go away.

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