The Skinny on Cholesterol
5 tips on how to lower the BAD (LDL) Cholesterol
Well, what the heck is Cholesterol anyway?
Cholesterol is actually made by the body by the liver to keep us healthy. The liver makes all of the cholesterol that we need.
Why should I care about cholesterol?
Our other source of cholesterol comes from the foods that we eat, in particular, animal sources such as meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products. This then puts our liver into overdrive as it produces, even more, cholesterol when we eat diets high in saturated and trans fats. It is this excess cholesterol that puts us at risk for things like heart attacks and strokes.
Stroke or heart attack??? How does it do that?
It does so by forming plaque between the layers of artery walls, making it harder for our heart to pump blood like it’s supposed to the rest of your body. If the plaques break open it can cause blood clots. If a blood clot blocks an artery, the organ that it feeds can be affected like the brain (stroke) or the heart (heart attack).
So what should I know?
All cholesterol is not created equal! Bad cholesterol (LDL) contributes to these detrimental plaques, good cholesterol (HDL) helps to remove these plagues. Too much LDL and not enough HDL puts you at greater risk for cardiovascular disease.
5 Cholesterol Lowering Tips…
1. Decrease trans and saturated fats in the diet. These include red meat, poultry and dairy (whole and reduced fat products).
2. Increase fiber in your diet, this includes soluble and insoluble fiber. Good sources are oatmeal, beans, pears, apples, oranges, and eggplant.
3. Increase plant-based protein, substituting for red meat and poultry. Legumes, nuts, and seeds are examples.
4. Get at least 8-10 hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation spikes LDL (bad cholesterol).
5. Get up, get out, and get moving! Exercising 30-60 mins a day doing moderate to vigorous activity has been shown to decrease cholesterol levels.
Dr. Shanicka is a board certified family medicine physician with a passion for empowering individuals to take control of their health. Dr. Shanicka is licensed and able to treat patients virtually across 14 states and coaches individuals nationally. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Shanicka, or to book for personal transformational health coaching or speaking engagements visit her website @ www.drshanicka.com