Lowering your Cholesterol

Cardiogram and heart

Having difficulty lowering your cholesterol? You’re not the only one. By the time that Canadians reach the age of 40, a whopping 40% already have higher than ideal cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is linked to heart disease, stroke, dementia and diabetes, just to name a few.

Knowing your Cholesterol

The first step to understanding healthy cholesterol is knowing the different types of cholesterol.

High Density Lipoproteins HDL – AKA “Good Cholesterol”, which helps the body get rid of bad cholesterol

Low Density Lipoproteins LDL –  AKA “Bad Cholesterol”, which sticks to the walls of your arteries. More LDL means a higher risk of heart disease.

Very Low Density Lipoproteins VLDL – Similar to LDL and associated with heart disease.

Triglycerides – A fatty substance carried by VLDL.

Having good cholesterol is about having the right ratios, as well as overall low cholesterol levels. As a rule of thumb, we aim for having high HDL levels (good cholesterol) and low LDL, VLDL, and Triglycerides.

Cut Down On that Saturated and Trans Fat

Cutting down on saturated fat can help improve cholesterol levels substantially. Foods which contain saturated fat include:

– Red meat – beef, lamb, pork
– Processed foods – sausage, bacon, fried snacks
– Full fat dairy
– Fast foods

Be Mindful Of Dietary Cholesterol

The recommended amount of dietary cholesterol from the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation is around 300 mg per day. This may be lower for individuals who have a history of heart disease or high cholesterol. To see a picture of what 300 mg of Cholesterol looks like, see check out this link.

Try cutting down on egg yolks, shellfish, and red meat to meet your daily cholesterol targets.

Eat more Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids are great for warding off many diseases, as well as helping you gain more good cholesterol. Try avocado, olive oil, fish (especially salmon), and nuts.

Eat More Dietary Fiber

Oatmeal, bran, beans, and fruit all contain soluble fiber. Soluble fiber can slow the uptake of cholesterol and fats into the body, and help you lower your overall cholesterol levels.

Studies show that exercise can lower cholesterol levels by quite a bit. Go for a walk after dinner, or take up a dance class at the community center. Anything to get you moving!

Although many of us have a predisposition, cholesterol can be lowered if we make the right choices. Keep talking with your doctor, keep up your diet, and keep active.