Expert Tips on Fighting Cholesterol | Health beat
So your cholesterol levels are not where you want them to be and you think you did everything possible to bring them down.
Do not throw in the exercise or diet towel yet.
Consider investigating why your numbers are so high.
There are many possible reasons, noted the Spectrum Health preventive cardiologist Thomas Boyden, MD.
Maybe people aren’t eating the right food or aren’t getting enough exercise.
Maybe they have a disease, possibly genetic, that requires medication.
To bring the numbers down, some people need to combine exercise, diet, and medication.
There’s no single answer because everyone is unique, said Dr. Boyden.
The lower the better
He acknowledged the numbers can be confusing. It is therefore best to let your family doctor guide you in analyzing and combating the causes of high cholesterol levels.
Dr. Boyden suggests looking at that first LDL cholesterol Number. This is the “bad” cholesterol, and it is best if kept low, below 100.
Medically it is advisable to check your LDL. to reduce Cholesterol levels Because the higher the number, the higher the risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke or heart attack.
Dr. Boyden said many people could lower their cholesterol levels by changing their diet or lifestyle.
Some people may need to take medication, but the type and amount will depend on the risk factors they have.
For example, people with diabetes are at greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and high cholesterol would greatly increase the risk.
For most people, a concerted focus on their diet will turn off some of the bad LDL cholesterol and improve their “good” HDL cholesterol levels for better balance, said Dr. Boyden.
People who want a healthier lifestyle should try one of the three eating patterns described by Holly Dykstra, MA, RDN, Cardiovascular Dieters for Spectrum Health.
Dykstra said that one of the most beneficial diets for lowering cholesterol is a whole plant-based diet. It mainly contains minimally processed or unprocessed plant-based foods. Products, whole grains, beans, and lentils make up the bulk of the diet. The diet doesn’t include meat, fish, poultry, or dairy products, so protein comes from plants like beans, vegetables, and whole soy products like tofu or edamame.
the Pescetarian diet is similar to the above diet, but allows the occasional consumption of seafood as a source of protein. It is also high in fruits and vegetables, with the occasional space for eggs or dairy products.
She said that Mediterranean cuisine is similar to pescatarian in that it is rich in products, whole grains, beans and lentils, and also contains herbs and spices to flavor dishes instead of salt. It contains unsaturated fats like fish, nuts, and seeds, as well as dairy products and some eggs. Small amounts of poultry can be eaten regularly, but red meat is limited. Sweet and fried foods are also rarely eaten.
Dykstra said the Mediterranean diet is probably the most popular because it is also the easiest to follow.
“Everyone is different, so I like to make decisions,” she said. “We want people to have guidelines for the best health practices, but the diet has to be sustainable. These three diets are packed with nutrients, and research shows that they all support great results for cardiovascular health. But the best thing for you is that with which you can feel comfortable in the long term. “
Dr. Boyden strongly supports and encourages following each of the three diets. He said they offer healthy benefits regardless of a person’s cholesterol levels.
“Usually following any of these diets will lower your cholesterol if people follow the diets the way they should,” he said.
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