Cholesterol – Specifically Low-Density Lipoproteins or LDL
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Cholesterol – Specifically Low-Density Lipoproteins or LDL

Cholesterol – Specifically Low-Density Lipoproteins or LDL

What is LDL Cholesterol

LDL (AKA ‘L’ for lousy) Cholesterol and is the major carrier of cholesterol in the blood.  Too much saturated fats and Trans Fats in the diet can cause LDL cholesterol to build up in the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain.  This in turn can cause the formation of thick hard deposits called plaque that can clog these arteries.  This condition is known as atherosclerosis.  If a narrowed artery is blocked, this can cause a heart attack or a stroke.  Ideal blood levels are less than 100 mg/dL.

Ways to reduce LDL

Ways to reduce LDL cholesterol: 1) Decrease intake of saturated fats. This comes primarily from processed foods such as ice cream and baked goods, full fat dairy products such as cheese and whole/2% milk;

2) Consistent evidence continues to support avoiding the intake of trans fat. Processed foods are the culprit here. Read both the nutrition facts panel as well as the ingredients. If you see words like partially hydrogenated, then the product contains trans-fat even if the panel reads 0 grams;

3) Limit dietary cholesterol. Saturated fats come naturally in animal based protein, shellfish and egg yolks.  Limit these sources (portion size and selecting lean cuts is key). Egg yolks are naturally a high source of dietary cholesterol as well as an excellent source of choline and other essential nutrients. Recommend limiting egg yolks to one per day; and

4) Consume adequate dietary fiber.  Dietary fiber exists in two forms.  Soluble fiber has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp.   Insoluble fiber doesn’t seem to help lower blood cholesterol, however it’s an important aid in normal bowel function. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, wheat cereals, wheat bran, cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower and apple skin.

Food Labels

Read the label and check out the %DV column. If it read 10% of higher, this means the product is a relatively high source of saturated fat per serving. Make an informed choice based on your eating pattern for that day.

Summary

Know your numbers! Get bloodwork annually and discuss results with your physician!