- AUSTIN, Texas -- One of the hallmarks of adulthood, along with marriage,
getting a mortgage and signing up for a 401K, is having your cholesterol
level measured. If you're older than 20, you should have it checked periodically,
especially if you have heart disease in your family. If you're in your
40s or 50s, you're way behind schedule if you haven't had it checked recently.
All it takes is a quick blood test.
- If your numbers are low, you know you're
doing something right; if they're high, you and your physician can take
- High cholesterol is one of the major
risk factors for heart disease, although it's far from the only one. Much
of the treatment for high cholesterol is simple - eating in a healthy way
- Many people know they have high or borderline-high
cholesterol and aren't doing anything about it. They figure they feel fine,
and they lost that pamphlet their doctor or nurse gave them at their last
appointment. If you're one of those people, this guide is for you, or anyone
else you know who's at risk for heart disease.
- WHAT IS A HEALTHY LEVEL?
- Cholesterol is measured in milligrams
per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Knowing your total blood cholesterol level
is important in determining your risk for heart disease. If you have high
cholesterol, you're not alone. Nearly 97 million Americans have levels
that are borderline-high or high. Cholesterol levels are graded on this
- Less than 200 mg/dL is desirable
- 200 to 239 mg/dL is borderline-high
- 240 mg/dL and up is high
- WHO SHOULD HAVE THEIR HIS OR HER CHOLESTEROL
- In general, adults who are older than
20 should have their cholesterol levels tested every five years, according
to the American Heart Association. You may need to be tested more frequently
depending on your health history and family history.
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ``GOOD''
AND ``BAD'' CHOLESTEROL?
- The ``good'' cholesterol is HDL-C, high-density
lipoprotein cholesterol. HDL-C is thought to aid in the removal of excess
cholesterol from the blood. High levels of HDL-C are associated with a
decreased risk of heart attack. Your HDL-C level should be 35 mg/dL or
- ``Bad'' cholesterol is LDL-C, or low-density
lipoprotein cholesterol. Too much LDL-C in your blood can stick to the
walls of your arteries, narrowing them and reducing their ability to transport
blood. In people without heart disease, the LDL-C level should be lower
than 130 mg/dL.
- Here's an easy way to remember the difference.
L stands for life-threatening or LDL cholesterol, and H stands for healthy
or HDL-C. Ask what your levels of each one are.
- HOW CAN I LOWER MY CHOLESTEROL?
- The American Heart Association's most
important piece of advice is: Watch what you eat. To help lower your cholesterol,
eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Eat a wide
variety of foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- You also should exercise. Aerobic activities
such as dancing, brisk walking, jogging, biking or swimming will help.
Activity that increases your heart rate for 30 or 60 minutes or longer
each day is best. On busy days, remember that even 10 or 15 minutes of
physical activity is better than none.
- FOODS LOW IN SATURATED FAT AND CHOLESTEROL
- Lean cuts of red meat, chicken or turkey,
roasted or baked with the skin removed, fresh or canned fruits and vegetables,
whole grains, beans, pasta, breads, potatoes, hot and cold cereal, taco
shells and plain tortillas, olive oil, corn oil, canola oil, baked or broiled
fish, skim milk, low-fat or nonfat yogurt, low-fat or part-skim cheese,
angel food cake, fig bar cookies, gingersnaps, animal crackers, jelly beans,
hard candy, popsicles and frozen yogurt.
- FOODS HIGH IN SATURATED FAT AND CHOLESTEROL
- Fatty cuts of red meat, fried chicken,
avocado, coconut, gravy, french fries, cream sauces, butter, shortening,
mayonnaise, fried fish or fish in cream sauce, whole milk, cream, ice cream,
eggs, cream cheese, cheese, doughnuts, pastries, cakes, cookies and pies.
- WHAT ARE EASY WAYS TO GET MORE FRUITS
AND VEGETABLES INTO MY DIET?
- Drink V-8 or other fruit or vegetable
juices, says Cynthia Hanes, dietitian for Austin Regional Clinic. Other
suggestions: Eat carrot sticks. Bring portable fruit like apples, pears,
bananas and oranges to work or to school. Eat fruit with yogurt. Marinate
carrots, celery, broccoli or cauliflower in a low-calorie dressing. Buy
varieties that don't spoil fast - apples, oranges, carrots, cauliflower,
celery (store it wrapped). Steam a vegetable on top of your meat dish.
Eat canned fruit. Eat dried fruit. Order a salad with your fast-food meal,
or get a sub sandwich with all the vegetables. Put a bowl of fruit on your
kitchen counter, instead of hiding the fruit in the crisper. You're more
likely to eat it if you see it all the time.
- HOW MUCH IS ONE SERVING OF FRUITS AND
- A serving isn't as big as you think:
one medium fruit, one-half cup of fruit salad, one-fourth cup of dried
fruit, 6 ounces (about one glass) of fruit or vegetable juice, a half-cut
cup raw or cooked broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini or one-cup leafy vegetables,
like romaine lettuce.
- CAN CERTAIN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES LOWER
CHOLESTEROL MORE THAN OTHERS?
- Yes. A pigment called anthocyanin lowers
cholesterol levels. It's found in red wine (hence, the study some time
ago that said drinking a glass or two of red wine a day would help lower
your cholesterol). It's also found in pink grapefruit, radishes, eggplant,
blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and watermelon.
- WILL DRINKING TEA HELP?
- Yes. Five or six glasses a day of green
or black tea, caffeinated or decaffeinated, can lower cholesterol levels
5 percent, Hanes says.
- CAN EVERYONE LOWER HIS OR HER CHOLESTEROL
LEVEL BY A CHANGE IN DIET?
- No. A small group of people cannot lower
their blood cholesterol level with dietary changes, but they may keep it
from rising. Many people, especially those who have had heart attacks,
take medications to help control their cholesterol levels.
- WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?
- The American Heart Association (800-AHA-USA1)
can send you free information about lowering your cholesterol.
- From Gary Via <GVia.email@example.com 3-3-99
- For a website which specializes in valuable and suppressed
information, your cholesterol article is quite disappointing and misleading.
It spouts the same establishment drivel that gave us the deadly "food
pyramid." The government/AHA/ADA/etc advice on diet and health is
inappropriate for most people's metabolism and quite dangerous for many.
- For myself, I eliminated arthritis pain in my hips and
raised my HDL cholesterol from 50 mg/dl ("fair" to "good")
to 72 mg/dl (off the scale, past "ideal") and lowered my TC/HDL
ratio from 3.28 ("good") to 2.81 ("ideal") by dropping
grains and potatoes and adding more red meat and animal fat to my diet.
- The raging heart disease, diabetes, and obesity in this
country is NOT caused by animal fat and cholesterol but by refined carbohydrates
(bread, pasta, cereals, sugar) and hydrogenated vegetable fats. This was
shown conclusively back in the '30's by a dentist named Weston Price who
travelled the world studying indigenous cultures and their diets. Read
his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, available from the Price-Pottenger
Nutrition Foundation at 1-800-FOODS-4-U. Also consult the book Nourishing
Traditions by Sally Fallon and any of the books by Dr. Robert Atkins, who
for the last 30 years has specialized in treating the hyperinsulin syndrome
in thousands of people suffering from high blood pressure, high triglycerides,
obesity, low HDL, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.
- Also, people have different metabolisms, and one diet
does not fit all. As said by Udraka, the great Hindu healer and one of
the teachers of Jesus (as noted in The Aquarian Gospel), "one man's
meat is another man's poison." Check out Eat Right 4 Your Type by
Peter D'Adamo and the website http://www.healthexcel.com/ to begin learning
about your own genetic and metabolic profile and what foods are biologically
appropriate for you.
- Please replace the disinformational cholesterol piece
with guidance from these sources that will allow each reader to determine
his own best diet and regain his health and vitality. Thanks for listening.
- Gary Via