All Cholesterol is not equal
Cholesterol cannot disolve but is carried around our blood stream by lipoproteins, it is these lipids which determine wheather the cholesterol is good or bad. We know that not all cholesterol is equal, and to make it clear, in cholesterol terms LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is bad and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is good cholesterol. So if you are suffering from high cholesterol levels (Hypercholesterolemia) in your blood it is the LDL’s you want to reduce.
Lets look at the goodies first – HDL. Just over a quarter of blood cholesterol is carried around our blood stream by high-density lipoprotein. High levels of HDL seem to protect against heart attack, whereas low levels of HDL (less than 40 mg/dL) also increase the risk of heart disease. Medical experts think that HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it’s passed from the body. Some experts believe that HDL removes excess cholesterol from arterial plaque which in turn slows its buildup. I think we will all agree that that does sound good.
On the other hand – LDL carries cholesterol in the blood, depositing it on the inner walls of the arteries that feed the heart and brain. Together with other substances, it can form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, heart attack or stroke can result.
So how can we reduce LDL?
What you eat can have a significant effect on your cholesterol levels. There are 5 main food groups that have been identified as being able to help reduce LDL cholesterol. These are Oatbran or other soluble fibre, walnuts and almonds, oily fish with omega-3’s and plant sterols. The first 4 are often mentioned so I wanted to tell a little more about plant sterols.
Plant Sterols may lower bad cholesterol by as much as 9%
Phytosterols may lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by as much as 9%, according to a new study reported on by Dr Jane Hart.
Such plant sterols or phytosterols are naturally found in some vegetable oils, fruits, nuts, grains and vegetables, but in such small amounts that it would be difficult to get the sterols you need to reduce your LDL cholesterol just from a normal balanced diet. In fact it would take about 100 pounds of fruits, vegetables or nuts to get 2 grams of natural plant sterols. So some large margerine and dairy drinks manufacturers have added plant sterols to their wares. This is commendable and does go some way to answering the problem but such foods containing at least 0.4 grams per serving of plant sterols would need to be eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 grams, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol,and that may well reduce the risk of heart disease.
Another way to make sure you get enough phytosterols often enought and consistently enough to make a difference is to take them as a food supplement.
– a food supplement containg Beta-sitosteral a naturally cocurring plant substance.. Lestrin delivers plant sterols in a unique tablet form, meanig you do not have to uptake your diary intake to contribute to your sterols intake. Lestrin contains free sterols as opposed to chemically changed sterols and is suitable for vegetarians. Whereas most dairy products on offer with sterols contain chemically changed sterols which have been shown to be less effective than ‘free’ sterols. Not only do plant sterols reduce LDL levels but also increase HDL levels and so bring relevant imporrovements in health.
Lestrin definitely offers an easier way to control cholesterol levels without having to uptake intake of certain food groups and maintain these changes long term.
By lowering chelesterol levels, improvements in health are attained and heart protecion offered for the future.