Courtesy of American House
Cholesterol is a natural substance that the body produces through the liver. It’s waxy and circulates through the bloodstream, feeding the heart and brain. But when cholesterol is derived from foods like saturated fats and trans fats, the body overproduces LDL, which is the “bad” cholesterol.
HDL is the “good” cholesterol our bodies crave. Without HDL, our brains would not function properly, and we would suffer from other bodily disorders, like heart attacks and strokes. HDL helps to remove the bad cholesterol (LDL) from the body. High levels of LDL may also adversely affect overall health by causing atherosclerosis (plaque in the arteries), cardiovascular disease and other disorders.
What are Healthy Cholesterol Numbers?
Your total cholesterol is made up of both LDL and HDL numbers. Your family doctor may order tests in order to check your numbers. The healthiest combination of both types of cholesterol measures HDL, good cholesterol,) around 40, and LDL, bad cholesterol,) around 100.
What are the Risk Factors?
Cholesterol, along with triglycerides in the blood, can form atherosclerosis, which as previously mentioned is the plaque that builds up in the arteries. Excessive plaque can increase the chances of a coronary heart attack, heart disease, stroke and other related issues. Triglycerides are the fat that is stored in the bloodstream from the excess fat in our diets. Triglycerides combine with the high LDL level and create harmful plaque build up.
What You Can Do?
Because high levels of LDL and triglycerides are both associated with food intake and the body’s inability to burn fat, adopting healthier habits can help lower cholesterol naturally.
• Eat a healthy diet
• Quit smoking (contributes to atherosclerosis)
• Start a regular exercise program
• Cut back on alcohol and processed foods
Schedule an annual exam with your physician to check your cholesterol levels on a regular basis. If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower the overall cholesterol levels. In addition to medication, a change in diet can help to decrease LDL and Triglycerides, as well as raise your HDL to optimum levels.
Incorporate Healthy Foods and Nutrients in Your Diet
A significant contributor to successfully lowering LDL is the addition of soluble fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, mono-saturated fatty acids (MUFAs), powerful antioxidants and lutein, to your diet. However, in order to see the benefit of ultimately lowering bad cholesterol, an overall healthy diet must be maintained. This includes decreasing, and in some cases, completely eliminating processed foods from your diet. Cholesterol lowering foods can drop your bad cholesterol levels by 5-10% within a few weeks.
• Cholesterol Lowering Foods
• Oatmeal and Oat Bran
• Red Wine
• Fatty Fish (Salmon and Sardines)
• Black and Green Tea
• Olive Oil
• Apple Cider Vinegar
It’s best to speak with your physician before changing your diet or exercise program. Your doctor will develop a plan to suit your specific needs, along with a coordinated medication and lifestyle strategy.
At American House Senior Living Communities, it matters to us that our residents live a healthy and active lifestyle. That’s why we invite experts over for informative presentations, year-round, to discuss healthy living, providing tips and preventative screenings to help our residents live life to its fullest. Get expert advice when you join us for one of our information health series, or stop in for lunch and enjoy a healthy, chef-
prepared meal with friends and neighbors at our inviting community.
American House has dedicated nearly 40 years to enriching the lives of those we serve. We provide the peace of mind, privacy, services and amenities you want and need. Our communities offer Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care services so you can enjoy access to quality housing, exceptional services, and the freedom to choose. Come experience it all for yourself. Let us show you why so many seniors call American House home!
14001 Metro Parkway, Fort Myers, FL 33912