National Cholesterol Month

 

September is National Cholesterol Education Month, a good time to get your blood cholesterol checked and take steps to lower it if it is high.  It also time to learn about lipid profiles and about food and lifestyle choices that help you reach personal cholesterol goals.  Some of us have family history of high cholesterol but feel that it is nothing since we do not feel any symptoms.

High blood cholesterol affects over 65 million Americans and African-American women are 35% more likely to die of heart disease than Caucasian women, while Hispanic women face heart disease nearly 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.   It is a serious condition that increases your risk for heart disease and the higher your cholesterol level, the greater the risk.

You can have high cholesterol and not know it. Lowering cholesterol levels that are too high lessens your risk for developing heart disease and reduces the chance of having a heart attack or dying of heart disease.

But what are some of the ways that you can lower your cholesterol nutritionally?

  1.  Consume plant foods that are high in fiber, especially soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber is found in legumes, fruit and root vegetables, as well as oats, barley and flax.  For every 1 or 2 grams of soluble fiber you consume daily, you will lower your LDL by 1%.  Try to consume 15 grams of soluble fiber per day.
  2. Eat 6 to 8 small meals daily instead of 1 to 2 large ones.
  3. Base most of your meals on beans, vegetables fruits and whole grains, with a minimum of lean animal protein.
  4. Accumulate 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the weekly, to help raise HDL.  Alternatively, try to walk at least 2-3 miles per day at least 5-6 days per week.
  5. Limit the amount of saturated fat you consume from dairy products, red meat and tropical oils.  Ideally, you should consume no more than 5% of your daily calories from saturated fat (around 10-11 g for most people.)
  6. Limit your daily cholesterol intake to no more than 100 mg.
  7. If you are overweight, lose weight.  This will help lower your total cholesterol and raise your HDL.

Your diet and along with exercise can help lower and improve your blood cholesterol.   Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any nutrition and exercise program.  For more information about a personalized diet and exercise plan check out the Living Healthy website:  www.livinghealthy1.org . Continue to live healthy!

Denine Rogers Rd, Ld

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