When you and your doctor discuss your cholesterol level, do you understand what it means? Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is present in the blood. Not all cholesterol is considered to be bad for you. LDL cholesterol levels are the type that doctors monitor and is considered to be “bad cholesterol.” This is the type that can build up and actually block your arteries, leading to heart attacks. Less than 100 mg/dL is the level of LDL cholesterol you want to have in your blood. In contrast, once the LDL cholesterol levels reach 160 mg/dL or higher, you have high cholesterol. Some types of foods and supplements lower LDL and leave good HDL cholesterol levels intact. Consider eating walnuts, cooking with more olive oil, consuming Metamucil and/or fish oil (Omega-3 fatty acids) every day. These things will help lower your LDL cholesterol.
Did you know that the foods you choose to eat have a direct effect on your heart health? They certainly do! While you may be drawn to foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar, since they tend to be appealing, a better choice is to load up your plate with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Do include whole grains and low-fat dairy products in your daily eating plan. Your heart will definitely thank you for it, and if you decide in advance that you are on an adventure in healthy eating, you won’t find it boring to eat well.
The term "heart attack" is one that we are all familiar with, but do you know what it means? A heart attack occurs when blood cannot reach the heart due to a blockage. The human heart operates like the other organs, in that it cannot function properly blood flow is impeded. Most people who suffer a heart attack have a buildup of plaque, which is a fatty substance, in their arteries. A blood clot can break away and block off the already-narrow arteries leading to the heart, with sometimes fatal results for the victim. We plan to discuss heart attacks at greater length in a future blog post.
You may be trying to eat well, but it can be challenging to get all the nutrients your body needs to stay heart healthy from diet alone. There is a place for dietary supplements for the heart in your overall eating plan. Start by taking a multi-vitamin daily. You may be curious about using herbal remedies to help you get and stay healthy, but do educate yourself about these products before you decide to use them. Tell your doctor what (and how much) you are taking the next time you go for a visit; this is information that he or she needs to know. Believe it or not, if you have high cholesterol you can take Metamucil, a source of fiber, which has proven an effective means of lowering bad cholesterol levels.
When you make a point of being physically active, you are taking one of the best steps to improve your overall health. Your heart is first and foremost a muscle, and it needs regular cardio exercise to get and stay strong. Other benefits of exercise include increased ability to deal with the stresses and strains that go with everyday life. Since exercise releases endorphins, which are the body’s own "feel good" hormones, you will have a more positive outlook after undertaking any kind of physical activity. Making exercise a part of your regular routine is a great way to overall good health! Even setting aside 30 minutes per day to walk, climb stairs, or swim will do more good than you can imagine.
You do have the power to get your cholesterol numbers down, and putting these 5 tips for lowering your cholesterol into practice will help.
1. Eat less red meat.
Instead of picking up a lot of beef when you go to the grocery store, choose chicken or fish more often. Both of these two choices have less fat than beef and can be prepared in a number of tasty ways.
2. Cut back on saturated fat as much as possible.
What does this mean in practical terms? Well, you will need to switch to low-fat or skim milk, for starters. When you buy cheese, look for "light" versions as often as possible.
3. Fill up on fiber.
There are good reasons to add more fiber to your diet. Choosing whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals more often means that you will feel full for a longer period of time. You also get the benefit of lower cholesterol levels with time, since these foods are low in fat. If you decide to switch to whole wheat bread, watch the amount of butter or spread you are adding to it, though. The same advice goes for whole wheat pasta. You don’t want to blow the potential health benefits by combining it with a heavy cream sauce.
4. Get active.
Regular exercise will only help to lower cholesterol levels. You don’t need to plan to run a marathon next week to reap the health benefits of getting off the couch. Start by taking a brisk walk a few times a week and see how that feels.
Just when you were thinking that you weren’t able to enjoy life while trying to lower your cholesterol levels, here’s a bit of good news for you.
5. Drink red wine. A glass a day will help to lower your cholesterol.
Drinking to excess will not help you to become more heart-healthy, but enjoying a rich Bordeaux or Merlot can help to lessen your risk of developing heart disease. It also adds to the experience when you are having dinner, so feel free to indulge a little in the evening.
Welcome to the HeartMart blog. The Heartmart website is chock full of information about heart health, heart conditions, heart-healthy diets, and much more.
Our goal here at HeartMart is to keep you informed about new medications being used to treat heart conditions, as well as the latest advances in surgical procedures. If it’s in the news and relevant to the subject of heart health, you will find it right here.
The Heartmart blog will cover the following topics:
- Cardiovascular exercise
- Cardiovascular System
- Diet supplements
- Heart conditions
- Heart disease
- Heart drugs
- Heart disease facts
- Heart health products
- Heart healthy diet
- Heart procedures
- Medical news
- Weight loss
We want to hear from you, too. If there is a topic that isn’t being covered that you would like to learn more about, please let us know and we will add it to our list to address in future posts.
You can look forward to new content being posted here every week, so be sure to bookmark this page and come back to visit often.