Articles on cholesterol

How Bad Is Your Cholesterol – Find This Out!

Dr. Chhavi Bansal, Homeopath
Cholesterol is just another organic molecule in our body and IT IS NOT BAD, RATHER IT IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL FOR OUR EXISTENCE. It plays a significant role in:Synthesis of cell membrane’sSynthesis of steroid hormonesSynthesis of vitamins, it plays precursor to vitamin D synthesisDigestion by synthesising bile acidsLearning and Memory – brain cells need cholesterol for making connections with one anotherUnderstanding your Cholesterol or Lipid Profile!Your Lipid profile gets the levels of yourTotal cholesterolHDL – High Density LipoproteinLDL – Low Density LipoproteinVLDL – Very Low Density LipoproteinOut of these, LDL is the bad one. HIGH LDL is a RISK FACTOR for development of HEART DISEASES AND STROKE as it can get deposited into arterial walls as PLAQUES.Bizarrely, HDL plays a PROTECTIVE ROLE because it picks up bad cholesterol and carries to liver to be disposed off.Cholesterol and Lifestyle!30 years back, no one knew of cholesterol and its effects. With changing lifestyle, we have developed the need of keeping a check of our its values and to be cautious.Coming to the DIET, roughly only 25% of cholesterol comes from the food that we eat. Rest 75% is synthesized by our body and this depends on factors like physical activity.MANAGING CHOLESTEROLLOSING WEIGHT is very effective way of keeping balanced levels. It has been found that losing 6 Kgs can cut LDL by 10%DIETARY CHANGES likeAdding more of fruits and veggies in our dietIncrease intake of soy proteinsHigh fiber dietPHYSICAL EXERCISES– 80% of cholesterol is synthesized in our body. Exercising keeps this metabolism healthy.Know more about STATINStatins are medicines that lower blood cholesterol levels. But patients who use prolonged doses of Statins are diagnose with:Muscle pain and muscle damagesLiver damageRisk of increasing diabetes (Type 2)Statins can be very well avoided with lifestyle changes and dietary changes (As stated above)Note: If your risk of cardiovascular diseases is more than borderline, please seek your physician’s advice on the use of statins.

7 Cholesterol Lowering Foods to Stay Healthy

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Has your doctor told that you have high cholesterol? Then you know you need to change your lifestyle and diet to include cholesterol lowering foods to lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart diseases. Our body needs a small amount of cholesterol to function properly. LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in arteries, leading to heart diseases. HDL Or “good" cholesterol, on the other hand, helps clear bad cholesterol from blood. You want to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Eating low cholesterol foods and doing regular cardiovascular activity does exactly the same, i.e. lower LDL levels and increase HDL levels.Here are some cholesterol lowering foods that can lower the cholesterol levels and help in protecting heart:Oatmeal: Oatmeal contains soluble fiber & cholesterol lowering components which reduces the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad," cholesterol. Soluble fiber is also found in kidney beans, apples, pears, barley and prunes. Soluble fiber can reduces the absorption of cholesterol into bloodstream. Use oats, oat bran or oat flour when you cook and bake.Beans: Beans are also one of the effective cholesterol lowering foods. Same as oats, chickpeas, lentils, soybeans and kidney beans are high in soluble fiber, prevents cholesterol from being absorbed into the body. Soluble fiber forms a gel in water that helps bind acids and cholesterol in the intestinal tract, preventing their re-absorption into the body. This is why soluble fiber helps to lower cholesterol levels (and decreases the risk of heart disease). Include such low cholesterol foods in your diet and reduce your risk of coronary heart diseases.Fish: Eating fatty fish can be heart healthy because of it's high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce blood pressure and risk of developing blood clots. In people who have already had heart attacks, fish oil or omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of sudden death. You should eat Fish as cholesterol lowering foods by baking or grilling the fish & avoid adding unhealthy fats. If you don't like fish, you can also get small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like ground flax-seed or canola oil. Ground flax-seed or canola oil are also low cholesterol foods.Nuts: Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. These cholesterol lowering foods are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. Eating about a handful a day of most nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachio and walnuts, may reduce the risk of heart diseases. People who eat nuts regularly have less heart disease and other illnesses than people who don't eat them. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats they contain are also better for body joints than the polyunsaturated fats found in corn and safflower oils.Olive Oil: One among the best cholesterol lowering foods, Olive oil is a nutritional superstar. Olive oil which is high in monounsaturated fat seems to help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels without affecting good HDL cholesterol. Diets rich in olive oil, fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are associated with lower risks of heart disease and stroke. Olive oil is also rich in healthy vitamin E, an antioxidant. Other healthy oils include canola and flax-seed.Apples: Apple pectin is a soluble fiber that helps draw cholesterol out of the system. The flavonoids (Quercetin) in apple act as a powerful anti-oxidant that seems to short-circuit the process that leads “bad” LDL cholesterol to accumulate in the bloodstream. This cholesterol lowering food will help you to keep your heart safe.Spinach: Green vegetables are also a great source of vitamin and minerals and spinach is one of the best green vegetables. This low cholesterol food contains around 13 flavonoids compounds which keep us away from cancer, heart diseases and osteoporosis. 1/2 cup of this lutein-rich food daily guards us against heart attacks.To reduce bad cholesterol & lower your risks of heart disease choose from a wide variety of cholesterol lowering foods, and follow a healthy route towards a healthy heart.

Tips To Control High Cholesterol

Dr. Siddharth Dagli, Cardiothoracic Surgeon
If you've been diagnosed with high cholesterol, you'll be advised to make changes to your diet and increase your level of exercise.After a few months, if your cholesterol level hasn't dropped, you may be advised to take cholesterol-lowering medication.Changing your diet, stopping smoking and exercising more will also help to prevent high cholesterol developing.The various treatments for high cholesterol are outlined below. DietEating a healthy, balanced diet that's low in saturated fats can reduce your level of LDL (bad cholesterol). Try to avoid or cut down on the following foods, which are high in saturated fat:• fatty cuts of meat and meat products, such as sausages and pies • butter, ghee and lard • cream, soured cream, crème fraîche and ice cream• cheese, particularly hard cheese • cakes and biscuits• milk chocolate • coconut oil, coconut cream and palm oil It is recommended that a maximum of 11% of a person's food energy should come from saturated fat. This equates to no more than:• 30g of saturated fat a day for the average man • 20g of saturated fat a day for the average woman Children should have less.Check the labels on the foods you're eating to find out how much saturated fat you're consuming.Omega-3 fatty acidsMany experts believe that the fats found in avocados and oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon and tuna, are good for you. These are known as omega-3 fatty acids and high doses can improve (lower) triglyceride levels in some people. However, too much omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to obesity.For people with a high triglyceride level, at least two portions of oily fish a week is thought to be beneficial. However, there's no evidence that taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements has the same benefit.Cholesterol-lowering medicationStatinsStatins block the enzyme (a type of chemical) in your liver that helps to make cholesterol. This leads to a reduction in your blood cholesterol level.You'll usually be started on atorvastatin,simvastatin or rosuvastatin.Recent developments in statin treatment Statin benefits outweigh risks. One of the biggest studies to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the anticholesterol drugs statins has found that side-effects do not occur routinely and are outweighed by benefits. The study looked at data from 135 studies published between 1985 and 2013. When someone has side effects from using a statin, it's described as having an "intolerance" to it. Side effects of statins include headaches, muscle pain and stomach problems, such as indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation.Statins will only be prescribed to people who continue to be at high risk of heart disease, because they need to be taken for life. Cholesterol levels start to rise again once you stop taking them.Aspirin In some cases, a low daily dose of aspirin may be prescribed, depending on your age (usually over 40 years old) and other risk factors.Low-dose aspirin can help to prevent blood clots forming, particularly for someone who's had a heart attack, has established vascular disease, or a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).You may also be advised to have periodic blood tests to ensure your liver is functioning well.Ezetimibe is a medication that blocks the absorption of cholesterol from food and bile juices in your intestines into your blood. It's generally not as effective as statins, but is less likely to cause side effects.You can take ezetimibe at the same time as your usual statin if your cholesterol levels aren't low enough with the statin alone. The side effects of this combination are generally the same as those of the statin on its own (muscle pain and stomach problems).You can take ezetimibe by itself if you're unable to take a statin. This may be because you have another medical condition, you take medication that interferes with how the statin works, or because you experience side effects from statins. Ezetimibe taken on its own rarely causes side effects.

Lowering Your Cholesterol, It's in Your Hand

Dr. Shelja, Homeopath
Cholesterol is an essential lipid that helps your body function properly. It has many functions including helping your glands make hormones, your liver to produce bile, and your cells to maintain their structural integrity. However, too much of certain types of cholesterol exposes you to a number of health risks, namely atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attacks.You can lower your cholesterol levels by certain lifestyle changes like:Diet: Heart-healthy diets promote fruits, vegetables,whole grains, and legumes and limit foods high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. Vegetable shortening and any item made with hydrogenated oil ,white rice,white bread, soft drinks, and baked goods contains trans fat and should be avoided.Eat a fiber rich diet: oatmeal,beans , barley, peas,apples are good source of fiberOpt for olive oil instead of butter or gheeSpices like cinnamon,pepper, garlic, ginger increase the good cholestrolWeight loss: Losing weight can help bring your good cholesterol up and your bad cholesterol down. Exercise: Moderate activity like brisk walking can also help lower triglycerides,while vigorous exercise like running can boost HDL.Avoid smoking:  Giving up cigarettes can increase a person’s“good” HDL by 4 mg/dL, on average. HDL helps clear the body of artery-clogging “bad” LDL cholesterol.Laugh more: Increase good cholesterol and keep bay your stress.Medication: Drug therapy tends to affect cholesterol levels more quickly, So if your doctor feels it’s important to get your cholesterol down immediately, he or she will likely opt for medication. There are several different types of cholesterol-lowering medications. Homoeopathy has many medicines to combat cholestrol by lowering its level as well has power to dissolve the cholestrol deposits. some of medicines are:Baryta murAurum metAllium sativaCrataegus oxyCalcareacarbStropanthusCholestrinumCurcumaFel tauri 

Can Strawberries Lower Cholesterol?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Strawberries are known for their flavour, flashy red colour and pleasant aroma. It’s favourite among all age groups and geographies. It is probably the most desired fruit in the world. The strawberry flavour is incorporated into various sweets and delicacies across the world. This delicious and healthy fruit can be easily incorporated in salads, healthy desserts, smoothies and other healthy snacks.Strawberries contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as flavonoids, anthocyanins and ellagitannins. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties which can prevent certain cancers and heart ailments. Additionally, strawberries also help control blood sugar level.A recent research study has also examined the effect of strawberry consumption on cholesterol levels, and the results of these studies appear to show a promising link between the two.The research team set up an experiment in which they added 500 grams of strawberries to the daily diets of 23 volunteers over the duration of a month. They took blood samples before and after this period to compare data.Researchers found that the total amount of bad cholesterol level, that is the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL or bad cholesterol) or triglycerides fell by 8.78%, 13.72% and 20.8% respectively. The high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol) remained unchanged.The reason behind this was the presence of anthocyanins, which are a sub-class of flavonoids that can help dilate arteries and prevent plaque build up, thus improving heart health and cholesterol levels.Strawberries also contains soluble fibre, which is known as pectin. Fibre lowers the blood cholesterol by interfering with the re-absorption of bile salt in the intestine. The bile gets excreted in the faeces. To make up for this loss of bile, the liver produces more bile salts. The body require cholesterol to make bile salts. So in order to obtain the cholesterol necessary to make more bile salts, the liver increases its production of LDL receptors, thus eating into the body’s bad cholesterol levels.Not only bad cholesterol level, but strawberries even improve other parameters like plasma lipid profile. Strawberries contain antioxidants like vitamin C that has anti aging properties and helps in wound healing, apart from playing a role in collagen formation. Strawberries even contain antihemolytic factors, which prevents breakdown of Red Blood Cells.Fresh strawberries are available only seasonally, so indulge in them when they’re available to derive maximum benefit. But their benefits are only limited to the consumption of the actual strawberry, not the unhealthy sugary desserts and cakes that just have their flavour and none of strawberry’s actual benefits.

Reduce Cholesterol – Tips to Lower Cholesterol

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
High cholesterol levels are a very common health problem in India. The good news is that you can reduce cholesterol easily through a few changes in your life. Once you understand how to manage your cholesterol, it’s much easier to lower your cholesterol levels without drugs – as in lower your LDL cholesterol and raise your HDL cholesterol levels.Cholesterol is needed for cell membranes and the production of hormones. So, it is produced by your body. The body makes what cholesterol it needs; the more cholesterol that comes from food, the less the body makes. An unhealthy diet may overload the body beyond its ability to regulate its cholesterol levels. High-density lipoproteins (HDL or good cholesterol) sweep the blood of excess fat and cholesterol while low-density lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol) are the bad guys, because they can contribute to the build-up of plaque in arteries, and in turn clog your arteries. Similar to our body,The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) recommends lifestyle therapies, which include a combination of diet and exercise modifications, in place of drug treatment for patients who fall into an intermediate range of coronary heart disease (CHD) risk.Combination therapies of diet and exercise are particularly beneficial, as they produce complementary effects on lipid profiles. Diet lowers total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) while exercise increases HDL (good cholesterol), besides helping you lose weight.Between diet and exercise, let’s first talk about diet tips to lower cholesterol:Diet: There are many sources of cholesterol in your diet- All animal food sources contain cholesterol. Whether, its meat, dairy or eggs. The lower fat versions contain less cholesterol, than the high saturated fat animal foods. Don’t stop eating dairy or meat- just eat lower fat versions of them. Eggs have their own health benefits.- Besides saturated fat, trans fats (hydrogenated oils) in foods are - chips, biscuits, samosas (cause of refrying) are loaded with trans fats.- To reduce cholesterol levels, incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, “good” unsaturated fats (almonds, walnuts) and soluble-fiber (oatmeal, fruits and dried beans). This will help lower LDL cholesterol and boost HDL cholesterol. Omega 3 (also found in eggs, fatty fish, flax seeds) supplements can help you raise HDL cholesterol.Exercise: Exercise can reduce triglyceride by around 15 percent to 25 percent. The American Heart Association recommend up to 30 minutes of physical activity per day. That does not mean 30 minutes at one stretch- it can be a 3 sessions of 10 minutes. Studies have shown that if exercise is divided up in intervals throughout the day, for instance, two 15 minute exercise sessions the healthy benefits would be same. Dr. Wood, at Stanford University, observed that benefits of exercise started almost immediately and just a couple of months of exercise showed significant good effects. We don’t recommend walking, since it’s not active enough. Instead try light jogging or skipping. Active cardio exercises like running, cycling, swimming, etc, and weight training increase the rate of improving cholesterol levels. Try any of these active sports.There are lots of tips here to lower cholesterol. Start with making one change, and then add other changes gradually. And you don’t need drugs to lower cholesterol levels. These simple lifestyle changes can help you reduce cholesterol levels, be healthier and fitter. If you need help to control cholesterol with diet & exercise, get some.

Eggs: Are They Bad for Your Cholesterol?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Remember seeing the ad on television saying ‘Sunday ho ya Monday, roz khao ande’? It was an initiative taken by the government to bring about awareness about the health benefits of egg which is a cheap and complete source of protein.Eggs have always been known as the perfect way to start your day because of it near perfect dietary composition of nutrients. However, off late there have been a lot of debates about the health benefits of eggs because of the cholesterol content in the yolk.The daily requirement of cholesterol is around 300 mg for a healthy individual and less than 200 mg for those with diabetes. A large egg contains around 186 mg of cholesterol, most of which is in the yolk. Cholesterol in increased amounts is known to be harmful for cardiac health.Cholesterol needs proteins called lipoproteins to move around in blood, and on ingesting eggs concentration of cholesterol in blood increases, especially circulating low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) which are bad cholesterol. However, it's been seen that eating eggs can be beneficial as they increase the amount of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs)—the good cholesterol. People eating three or more eggs per day made bigger LDL- and HDL-lipoprotein particles. These larger LDL shave lesser chances than the smaller ones to enter the artery walls and contribute to the cholesterol load that causes artery-clogging plaque. In the same way, larger HDLs are stronger than smaller ones in the process of removing cholesterol from the bloodstream and, ultimately, from the body.It also depends on person’s body and how it reacts to consumption of eggs. Most of us react to it in a positive way that has least chances of harming the heart.There are individuals known as ‘hyper responders’ who on consuming eggs showed an increase in the amount of cholesterol circulating with lipoproteins, but they were all via large lipoprotein particles. Hence, it turned out to be beneficial for the heart.Eggs are also a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are responsible for much of an egg yolk's color. Both of these carotenoids diminish the macular degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65. Also, lutein seems to inhibit the processes that cause development of atherosclerosis. Most healthy people can eat up to seven eggs a week with no increase in their risk of heart disease. Also, studies suggest that this level of egg consumption may actually prevent some types of strokes. Eggs do increase the cholesterol levels but in such a way that it is beneficial for the body.

8 Foods That Help You Lower High Blood Pressure

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Your lifestyle is the primary reason for your high blood pressure. So if you change that you can easily control and even reverse your condition. Even if high blood pressure runs in your family you can keep it away from your body. High blood pressure can be a result of many environmental factors like poor food habits (eating out a lot, eating processed food etc), lack of physical activity, work/travel/personal stress. The biggest problem with having high blood pressure is that it is asymptomatic, meaning it was no apparent symptoms. This is one of the most compelling reasons for anyone to get health conscious as they get older.To help you manage your blood pressure better here are some foods that you must include in your diet every day:• Fennel: A cup of Fennel tea in the morning or just chewing handful of fennel can actually do a trick. You can easily prepare fennel tea by boiling 1 teaspoon of fennel in 1 cup of water and add half a teaspoon of sugar in it. Fennel is a rich source of nitrates which helps in maintaining the flow of blood thus reducing the pressure on heart.• Sprouts: A bowl full of mix sprouts salad with vegetables is a richest source of protein, potassium and fiber. Pulses can be included for sprouts are green gram, bengal gram, cow pea and red gram. All of these are helpful in maintaining the healthy heart. They create an appropriate balance of minerals required for blood pressure regulation.• Beetroot: A glass of beetroot juice or consuming beetroot in salad is also found to be beneficial in lowering the blood pressure. Beetroot is rich in nitrogenous compound which regulates smooth blood flow through the vessels.• Lentils and Beans: Due to their high protein content lentils and beans are put under the category of foods which are found to reduce blood pressure. You should include these pulses in your diet to control your blood pressure levels. You can include them in the form of salads, soups or as a main dish.• Fish: As we all know that omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial in maintaining heart health and prevents from cardiovascular disorders. Cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackreal, sardines are rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. 70-80 gms portion of tuna, herring, salmon, mackerel or sardines provides about 150-170 calories. Grilled, baked or broiled fish is the healthier option instead of frying and you should also skip the heavy batter and curries to keep fat and calorie content low.• Almonds and walnuts: Almonds and walnuts contain good fat which reduces bad cholesterol levels and increases the amount of good cholesterol in blood. 3-4 almonds and walnuts each in your daily routine keep you away from hypertension and prevent heart related disorders.• Milk: There is common myth that people with cardiovascular problems and hypertension should consume lesser amount of milk and milk products. In fact milk helps in maintaining your heart health and also manages your blood pressure because of its calcium and magnesium content which are responsible for proper heart contraction and relaxation respectively. But yes, you need to choose low fat milk instead of full fat.• Green leafy vegetables: As we already know that green leafy vegetables are rich source of fiber but along with it they also offers food amounts of vitamins and minerals specifically vitamin-c, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium. Greens like spinach, kale, collard, beet greens are easily available and can be included in various forms like soup, salad, stuffings, vegetables in your daily diet. In this way you can reduce your blood pressure through your daily diet and without any supplements or medicines.

The Secret to Reducing Cholesterol Is Revealed

Dr. Adil Hingora, Homeopath
High cholesterol continues to afflict countless of individuals. However, studies have now shown that high cholesterol can be treated with a number of healthy foods. The National Institute of Nutrition recommends that every individual should consume at least 300 g of vegetables (50 gms of green leafy vegetable, 200 gms of other vegetables and 50 gms of root vegetables) and 100 gms of fruit daily. We have listed the top 23 foods that will fight the evil.1. Beans and lentils help lower cholesterolBeans, lentils and peas are good source of soluble fibre which helps lower cholesterol levels. Beans and pulses are high in fibre, high in protein and low in fat. Beans also contain lecithin, a nutrient that also helps in lowering it.Fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna, Halibut are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that has many heart protective properties and also helps improve your blood cholesterol profile.. Just be sure to bake or grill the fish, not fry it.Avocados, Peanut butter, Hazelnuts, Almonds and Pecans contain heart-healthy MUFA, which helps lower Cholesterol levels. Olive and Peanut oils are also rich in monounsaturates. Note all are high in fat calories.Soluble fiber found in oats and oat bran, barley, brown rice, helps lower Cholesterol. Soluble fiber binds to bile acids and cholesterol an helps their excretion. Beans, apples, carrots also contain soluble fiber.Nuts contain plant sterols and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol. Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachio, Pecans) are rich in heart healthy - fiber, Vitamin E and Selenium.Apples, Pears, Oranges and Grapefruit contain soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol. Include other soluble fibre rich foods such as psyllium, barley, apples, pears, kidney beans...Fruits like Blueberries, Cranberries and Grapes, protect LDL (bad) Cholesterol from being damaged. Only damaged Cholesterol forms sticky plaques that may lead to development of Atherosclerosis and increase risk of heart disease.Foods that are fortified with plant sterols and stanols, substances naturally found in many plant foods, unds help block the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. Foods such as orange juice and yogurt drinks are often fortified with sterols and stanols.Walnuts contain monounsaturated fats that helps reduce total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fats and antioxidants in Walnuts work to reverse the arterial damage caused by saturated fats.Blueberries contain antioxidant Pterostilbene that effectively hels lower Cholesterol levels. Blueberries are also rich in soluble fibre and other powerful heart healthy vitaminsSalmon or fatty fish is a good source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids - which has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Omega 3 fatty acids are noted for its triglyceride-lowering power.Many studies have demonstrated that eating garlic regularly reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) level as it conains active substance called Allicin.