Thursday, January 24, 2013

7 Secrets to Lowering Cholesterol


Secret #1 – Avoid Saturated Fats
Cholesterol is a waxy substance made by the liver and used by the body to make hormones, vitamin D, and other materials. It is essential to your body in order to function properly, and the human body makes all it actually needs.

Cholesterol can also be found in food; this is called ‘dietary cholesterol’ and it’s found in animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy. For most people, the mix of fats in the diet influences cholesterol in the bloodstream far more than cholesterol in food does. Good fats—meaning mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—are good for the heart and many other parts of the body. Bad fats—meaning trans- and saturated fats— do just the opposite; they increase the risk for certain diseases.
In the past, the medical community believed the key to lowering high cholesterol was to cut back on eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods. Now, it’s accepted that dietary cholesterol isn’t the main culprit. “One of the first things to do when you’re trying to lower your cholesterol level is to take saturated fat down a few notches,” says Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, and the author of several nutrition books, including the forthcoming
Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Heart Disease. “The second thing to do is to start eating more ‘smart’ fats,” Magee says. Try substituting canola oil or olive oil for vegetable oil, butter, margarine, lard, or shortening, cut back on meat, and eat more fish.

Over 100 million Americans have cholesterol levels that exceed the recommended level, with 20% of these considered to be in the “high” category. The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee strongly advises these fat guidelines for healthy Americans over age 2:

• Limit total fat intake to less than 25–35 percent of your total calories each day
• Limit saturated fat intake to less than 7 percent of total daily calories
• Limit trans-fat intake to less than 1 percent of total daily calories;
• Source the remaining fat from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
fats, such as nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetable oils
• Limit cholesterol intake to less than 300 mg per day

Secret #2 – Get Moving
We all know the health benefits that result from good cardiovascular exercise. Although researchers aren’t entirely sure how exercise lowers cholesterol, they all agree that it does. “Lots of people, even lots of doctors, assume that exercise lowers cholesterol,” says Amit Khera, MD, director of the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center’s Program in Preventive Cardiology. “But until recently, most of us weren’t sure just what the connection was.”

Researchers now believe there are several mechanisms involved. First, exercise stimulates enzymes that help move LDL from the blood (and blood-vessel walls) to the liver. From there, the cholesterol is converted into bile (for digestion) or  excreted. So the more you exercise, the more LDL your body expels.

Weight loss and diet can account for up to a 20% reduction in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Aerobic exercises, such as running, cycling, jogging, and swimming, appear to benefit cholesterol the most by lowering LDL by 5% to 10%. Other forms of exercise, such as yoga, walking and weight-bearing exercises, have also been shown to decrease LDL levels.

However, these forms of exercise have not been as extensively studied as aerobic exercise. In general, most public health organizations recommend, at a minimum, 30 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous exercise, such as walking, jogging, biking, or gardening. A 2002 study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that more intense exercise is actually better than moderate exercise for lowering cholesterol.
Whatever form your exercise takes, the key is to do it regularly.

Secret #3 – Eat More Fiber
You probably already know that fiber is good for you, and that you’re probably not getting enough of it
in your diet. So, what can you do about it? And why should you?

What are the benefits of fiber? Soluble fiber has been clinically shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. The typical American diet has somewhere between 5-14 grams of dietary fiber per day.

In 2002, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences Research Council issued
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for fiber. For men 19-50 it is 38 grams of fiber per day; for women in the same age category it is 25 grams of fiber per day. Past the age of 50, the amount of fiber necessary decreases to 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women. At best, the typical American is only getting 50% of the fiber needed in their daily diet.

Fruits and vegetables, including whole grains, are excellent sources not only of heart-healthy antioxidants but also cholesterol-lowering dietary fiber. Soluble fiber, in particular, can help lower cholesterol. Think of it like a sponge that absorbs cholesterol in the digestive tract. Good sources of soluble fiber include dried beans, oats, and barley, as well as fiber products containing psyllium.

How can you increase the amount of fiber in your diet? Here are a few suggestions:

• Add fruits, vegetables, and nuts to your diet
• Switch to whole grains; substitute wheat bread for white bread
and whole wheat pasta for traditional pasta
• Eat more beans - legumes are a good source of fiber and protein
• Add Bios Life Slim® to your diet; each serving of Slim contains 4
grams of dietary fiber, of which the majority is soluble fiber

Secret #4 – Go Fish!
Fish is an outstanding source of omega 3 fatty acids - which has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. In particular, Omega 3 fatty acids are noted
for triglyceride-lowering power.

How much do you need? In 2002, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommended eating at least two servings
of fish per week, particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, lake trout, albacore tuna, and herring. If you have high triglyceride levels, the AHA recommends two to four grams of EPA and DHA (two specific
types of Omega 3 oil) as supplements, under your doctor’s care.

The impact of fish oil on cholesterol: the fish oil will work to decrease certain body fats, often referred to as triglycerides; the lower the levels of triglycerides circulating throughout the body, the healthier your heart will be. When you add fish oil to your diet, you increase your levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, which then helps offset the effects of bad (LDL) cholesterol.

Although you can get a healthy portion of Omega 3’s in other foods, fresh fish or fish oil supplements are the most efficient ways to do so.

Secret #5 – Green, Green, Green
Botanical evidence indicates that India and China were among the first countries to cultivate tea.
Today, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, second only to water. Hundreds of millions of people drink tea around the world, and studies suggest that green tea in particular has many health benefits.

The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols. Catechins block the formation of bad (LDL) cholesterol in the body and, at the same time, increases good (HDL) cholesterol levels.

Researchers believe that green tea lowers blood cholesterol by reducing its absorption in the digestive tract, while increasing its rate of excretion. But perhaps even more important than removing excess cholesterol is green tea’s ability to fight the conversion of LDL to its more dangerous, oxidized form.

When LDL is oxidized, it gets sticky and tends to cling to the walls of your arteries. Oxidized LDL is a major factor in the development of atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaque in the arteries), and greatly increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Green tea, through its antioxidant action, does much to protect LDL from oxidation, thus helping to keep your arteries “clean.”

Secret #6 – It’s OK to Go Nuts
Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium. Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3s - the good fats) which have all been shown to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. Walnuts and almonds seem particularly beneficial in reducing blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy.

In 2003, the FDA recognized the benefits of nuts and their role in heart disease prevention by approving a health claim for seven kinds of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts), as these nuts contain less than 4 grams of saturated fat per 50 gram serving: Scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 oz. per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

The best way to reap the health benefits of nuts is to eat them as a replacement for foods high in saturated fats, such as meat products. Just make sure the nuts you eat aren’t salted or sugar-coated; raw is usually best. To avoid eating too many nuts, which could result in weight gain (e.g. adding nuts to your diet rather than using them as a substitute food), replace foods high in saturated fat with nuts. For example, instead of using cheese, meat or croutons in your salad, add a handful of walnuts or almonds.

Secret #7 – Medically Speaking
Lifestyle is still key to lowering your cholesterol. But beyond that, many people are prescribed one of the many available cholesterol-lowering medications by their doctor; statins are the treatment of choice for most doctors. “Statins can lower LDL cholesterol by 20% to 50%” says Pamela Peeke, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.

“Statins have many biological effects that appear to be quite meaningful,” said Dr. Valentin Fuster, director of the heart program at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan and past president of the American Heart Association. “But I don’t think the answer is a magic drug to prevent disease. The answer is to change behavior.”

If you have high cholesterol, meaning your total cholesterol level is 240 milligrams per deciliter, or mg/dL, (6.22 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L) or higher, or your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) level is 130 mg/dL (3.68 mmol/L) or higher, your doctor may recommend you begin to take a statin. While there arebenefits to taking a statin medication to manage your cholesterol, there is a growing population who would prefer natural alternatives to manage their cholesterol.

How does Unicity fit into the picture?
Unicity offers a clinically proven alternative to statin medication, Bios Life Slim. Bios Life Slim is a revolutionary, fiber-based, vitamin-rich product that helps improve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels … without adverse side effects. Slim has been shown to lower total cholesterol levels, lower LDL cholesterol level, and moderate glucose levels in four ways:

1. Fiber helps block the re-absorption of cholesterol from the intestines
2. Plant sterols block the absorption of cholesterol from food
3. Policosanol reduces cholesterol production by the liver
4. Chrysanthemum enhances enzymatic breakdown and the removal of bad cholestero

A Note From Me:
I have hereditary high cholesterol, I was doing everything the Dr. recommended in my diet, and still no changes, I was told I needed to go on meds. if my cholesterol didn't lower soon.

So....I started taking Slim, my cholesterol is now at normal levels!  I would much rather take Slim for the rest of my life than medications that are going to create other complications!

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