High cholesterol is a national health concern that isn’t talked about as much as it should be. “Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all the cells in the body. It is a necessary substance needed to make certain hormones and build cells in the body. Having too much cholesterol, known as hyperlipidemia, can begin to stick to the walls of the blood vessels causing atherosclerosis and cholesterol plaques. This causes potential slowing and blocking of blood flow, or breaking off of the plaques, in organs like the heart and brain which may lead to heart attacks and strokes,” Dr. Theodore Strange, Chair of Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital, tells Eat This, Not That! Health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Nearly 94 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have total cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL. Twenty-eight million adults in the United States have total cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dL.” Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who explain how to lower cholesterol. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD, senior dietitian at UCLA Medical Center, assistant professor at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and author, with Cambridge University Press, of the new book, Recipe for Survival says, “The fibers in” a plant-based “diet along with the healthy fats from nuts and seeds go a long way towards lowering cholesterol levels. Part of the reason is that they are anti-inflammatory, and part of the reason is that they are monounsaturated fats, and some, from walnuts or chia seeds, are omega-3s.”
Hunnes says this might “seem unrelated to diet, but when we exercise we actually increase our HDL cholesterol, which is high-density lipoprotein, which is the healthier/safer cholesterol level. So, combining a healthy diet and exercise can lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, these are good things.”
“Limit/avoid your intake of processed foods, white breads, sugary foods, soda, many things out of a package as they have the healthy nutrients taken out of them and are not much more than high-calorie cardboard that are inflammatory and increase LDL levels owing to their usually high levels of sugar, saturated or trans fats, and lack of healthy nutrients such as fiber,” Hunnes states.
Rachel Fine, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with To The Pointe Nutrition says, “Stop weight cycling (also known as yo-yo dieting). Specifically, weight cycling and chronic dieting has been associated with lower HDL (the “good” cholesterol) and higher LDL (the “bad” cholesterol). It should be considered that any extreme methods to lose weight might be more detrimental for cholesterol than actually staying at a weight that is higher (and perhaps) more comfortable for any one’s body. What can we do instead? Combat systemic weight stigma and discourage restrictive dieting.”
Abdullah Shubayr, Founder at WeightLossCounsellingOnline.com, explains, “Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, both of which can be caused by high cholesterol. quitting smoking can help reduce your risk. Quitting smoking not only lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke, but it can also help reduce your risk of high cholesterol. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, both of which can be caused by high cholesterol. quitting smoking can help reduce your risk.”
According to Dr. Strange, “The causes of high cholesterol include that it may be inherited/ familial; but it is often due to poor diets with unhealthy foods and lifestyle choices high in fats. Also exceeds alcohol intake, obesity and aging can be causes. Other medical conditions can also raise cholesterol like diabetes, hypothyroidism , Lupus, HIV and chronic kidney disease. There are also medications that can elevate cholesterol levels like steroids. Exercise also plays an important role in helping to keep cholesterol low, especially to increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol.” And to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.