Is Your Cholesterol High?

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor is concerned about your health. There are three types of cholesterol in the body: LDL (low density lipoproteins), HDL (high density lipoproteins) and triglycerides. Ideally you want your total cholesterol number to be below 150. High levels of LDL and triglycerides can be attributed to heart disease, stroke risk and even diabetes.

In people with high cholesterol, the LDL and/or triglycerides are too high to be safe. LDL plaques can be sticky. They adhere to the vessel walls, narrowing the lumen. The blood is under high pressure to get moved thorough those vessels and supply the body with oxygen. These plaques can break loose and lodge in other areas of the body creating dangerous embolisms. Thrombosis can also stop blood from flowing to the extremities and can be very painful.

But, you can control your cholesterol with diet and medication. Even with medication, if your cholesterol numbers are still high it may be due to your diet. Here are some tips for eating and shopping that can help you to lower your cholesterol.

* Read the labels – Many of us trust that when the label says “low fat” that it is actually low fat. However, look at the composition of fat that remains. Higher levels of saturated fat are not good for the body. We already get too much of this in fast foods.

Also look at the serving size. If you are eating five crackers and getting eight grams of fat, then your percentage of fat to calories is too high to be worth eating that food. Look at the cholesterol amount. We often skip this because most foods have little to none. However, some foods have a fair amount of it per serving and need to be watched.

* Avoid animal protein – While animal products are one of the best sources of protein, they are not the only source. Choose lean poultry or seafood which is high in healthy fats. There are a lot of saturated fats in red meat, chicken with skin and fatty pork.

* Watch whole milk – Milk contains milk fats. Skim is the ideal to drink since there are no milk fats in it. But, if you drink milk, even a reduced fat milk is better than whole.

* Dairy products – Butter may be okay for cooking or sautéing food, but not as a main ingredient. This includes ice cream, heavy cream and cream cheese.

There are also foods that may not contain high levels of cholesterol, but can raise LDL cholesterol. These foods are high in saturated fat and trans fats and are best left alone.

Are you trying to lower your cholesterol? Read food labels to get the information you need. Then, select your fresh foods and meats carefully to avoid adding more cholesterol to your diet.