Personal LDL cholesterol levels are of concern to many Americans who want to protect their heart and vascular system from disease and subsequent heart attacks, strokes and arteriosclerosis. Cholesterol is a natural substance that is produced by the liver as well as a substance that is found in many edible products including diary and meats. In order to lower LDL cholesterol in the body, a combined approach of menu planning, exercise, and sometimes added medications are necessary to combat its build up on artery walls. There are also some naturally healthful foods and supplements that can be added to the everyday diet that will provide a preventive measure for those who wish to attack this common health problem with alternative measures before it becomes apparent.
Cholesterol is necessary to the body in order to provide acids derived from bile that helps to digest many different foods. Too much, however, leads to high LDL cholesterol levels that can put a person at risk for coronary heart disease. When a person eats too many fatty foods, plaque is produced from the excess fat and adheres to the walls of human arteries. It has been found also that many people have a genetic propensity for high buildup of plaque and no matter how dedicated they may be to a low fat diet, plaque continues to increase in the arteries. Many patients, however, can control plaque buildup by eating a low fat diet, exercising, and taking supplements. Good eating habits should be started as a young child since scientific tests have revealed that large amounts of fatty foods consumed by children can affect their LDL levels later in life.
Many people go for years without knowing that they have large deposits of plaque continually adhering to the walls of their arteries. In order to determine whether or not a person has high LDL levels, it is suggested to have blood work done every five years. Even those just out of the teen years should begin to have proper blood screening in order to lower cholesterol levels that may be creeping up. Those who experience problems due to poor lifestyle and eating choices can more easily lower LDL cholesterol levels than those whose bodies simply manufacture too much plaque. Controlling fat consumption by changing to a low fat diet can significantly alter dangerously high levels. Offending fats are found in many animal products and plants as well, so an in depth education on foods and supplements are usually necessary in order to avoid problems.
When a blood screening is processed, there are two categories of cholesterol that are tested. HDL and LDL levels provide a good indication of the future coronary health condition of any patient. Those who have high levels may not have any symptoms for years until a sudden coronary problem develops. That is why it is important to test early in order to combat the disease with a healthy lifestyle adopted early in life. Those with high levels must lower LDL cholesterol since it is the ‘bad’ lipoproteins that adhere to the walls of arteries. This type of lipoprotein is less dense and can easily clog arteries over time with a build up of plaque. The ‘good’ type of lipoprotein is HDL and is more dense and can actually sweep away some of the bad lipoprotein produced by fats. HDL seems to actually help protect against heart disease, so doctors are actually pleased at increased proportions of this lipoprotein in the blood. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:14a)
While most patients are familiar with the two types of cholesterol in the body, most are not as aware of a third type of lipoprotein found in the blood. Triglycerides are the third lipoprotein components found in blood and are an extremely low density lipoprotein. Fats are high in triglycerides and people who test high in this component most likely have high LDL cholesterol levels as well. Patients who present with high triglycerides are candidates for strokes and other cardiovascular problems. Triglycerides and LDL levels are compatible problems making it necessary to lower LDL cholesterol in conjunction with triglycerides. The strategy is to lower LDL while raising HDL through proper eating habits from a young age. However, it is never too late to begin and many middle-aged to older patients have seen phenomenal results from cutting back on harmful fats while consuming beneficial fats.
The body needs fats for energy and providing the bodys requirements through unsaturated fats such as olive, soy, and canola oil is helpful. Taking a tablespoon of virgin olive oil a day has shown to effectively reduce plaque levels on the artery walls. Other foods and supplements that can help to improve bad LDL cholesterol levels are oats and red yeast rice. There are multiple scientific studies to prove that a cup of oats eaten everyday can measurably reduce bad levels. Red yeast rice is a popular supplement found in health food stores that can be taken in capsule form everyday that may lower LDL cholesterol as much as 40 percent in some patients. Much can be done to elevate the bodys defense against heart disease by choosing to regularly get a simple blood test, eat well and raise the heart rate through systematic exercise.