- Risks of Drinking Alcohol
- Whole milk is okay. Butter and eggs too. What’s next — bacon?
- Mayo Clinic Q and A: Dairy milk, soy milk, almond milk — which is the healthiest choice for you?
- Q.Does drinking almond “milk” provide the same health benefits as consuming the actual nut?
- Is low-fat or full-fat the better choice for dairy products?
- The debate in the dairy case may come down to limiting overall fat intake.
- Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- 1. Eat less fat
- NUTRITIP: How to Control Your Cholesterol Every Day
- 2. Eat the right fats
- 3. Cut cholesterol-containing foods
- NUTRITIP: Overweight Cholesterol
- 4. Eat cholesterol-lowering foods
- NUTRITIP: Can Yogurt Help Control Your Cholesterol?
- NUTRITIP: Read the Fine Print
- 5. Get lean.
- 6. Exercise.
- NUTRITIP: Is Cholesterol Really the Cardiac Culprit?
- 7. Relax.
- 8. Graze.
- 9. Don’t smoke.
- 10. Raise low cholesterol kids.
- Related posts:
Risks of Drinking Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can actually increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, raise blood pressure, contribute to obesity, and increase the levels of fats called triglycerides in the blood.
Excessive drinking also can lead to heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), and stroke. Eventually, heavy alcohol use can leave the heart too weak to pump efficiently, a condition called congestive heart failure.
Because drinking alcohol also has other downsides, including increased risk of some cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, and an increased risk of accidents, the American Heart Association does not recommend that you start drinking wine or any other alcoholic beverages specifically to lower your cholesterol or improve your heart health. Instead, the organization advises watching your weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
If you do plan to drink, check with your doctor first, and drink in moderation — (one glass of wine or beer a day for women, two for men). Some people, especially pregnant women, and those who take certain medicines regularly, should avoid alcohol entirely.
Whole milk is okay. Butter and eggs too. What’s next — bacon?
(iStock) By Joel AchenbachJoel Achenbach Reporter covering science and politics October 7, 2015
Here with a blog item to read as you digest your lunch — a bacon cheeseburger with an egg on top, with jumbo side orders of onion rings, Hollandaise-covered asparagus (gotta have a healthy vegetable!) and chocolate lava cake a la mode.
The story of the day is Peter Whoriskey’s meticulously reported tale of whole milk — demonized for decades, accused of harboring killer fats, but on closer analysis not actually bad for us. In fact, studies suggest that people who drink whole milk appear to have lower rates of heart disease than people who drink low-fat or skim milk. This appears to be another reminder that nutrition, and biology more generally, is much more complicated than we’d like to think.
The slur on whole milk came from logical thinking. Whole milk is loaded with saturated fats. Saturated fats increase “bad” cholesterol. The bad cholesterol can contribute to heart disease. Thus you should avoid whole milk, right?
The problem is, many people who avoid whole milk replace those saturated fats with carbohydrates — and junk food. Except, as Whoriskey reports, saturated fats can also boost “good” cholesterol, which can protect against heart disease.
This story serves as an indictment of “nutritionism,” the belief that a good diet merely requires that we avoid a few potholes on the road to satiation.
Probably the most articulate and persuasive writer on the dangers of nutritionism is Michael Pollan (“The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and many other books). For years, Pollan has argued that you should eat the kind of food that your grandmother would recognize. That probably includes eggs and whole milk — but not Twinkies.
We e-mailed Pollan for comment on the possible rehabilitation of whole milk.
Pollan tells us:
I’ve long felt that skim milk was silly. Think about what it means to remove fat from milk: you end up with a more sugary beverage, since the amount of lactose per ounce rises. And we’re learning that sugar is probably a more serious nutritional problem than fat. Then think about what happens to the fat that was removed from all that skim milk. It is turned into cheese and sold back to us as pizza. As we consumed less butterfat in milk, we consume more of it as cheese, so in addition to fooling ourselves in thinking we were cutting down on fat, in the end we paid twice for the same fat! It’s a bit like refined white flour. So I’ve been drinking whole milk for a long time and, if you haven’t tasted it in a few decades, it is delicious. You also drink less of it since it is more filling. Last point to consider: some kinds of skim milk add powdered milk to improve the body of that watery, tasteless swill, and whatever you think of milk powder — some people think it’s not good for you — you’re ending up with a processed food, rather than the sort of simple food your grandmother would recognize.
We asked him to elaborate on his famous instruction to “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” He writes:
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. All you need to know. Yes, we constantly divide the nutritional landscape into good and evil nutrients. There are several problems with this manichaen approach to food, but one is that, as soon as you demonize one nutrient — say, fat — you give a free pass to another, supposedly less-evil nutrient — carbs. What I call the Snackwell’s phenomenon, after that Nabisco line of no-fat junk food in the 1980s. Since these cookies, crackers and chips didn’t contain any of the evil nutrients, people felt they could binge on them. This is story of the low-fat campaign writ small: consumption of fat in absolute terms remained steady while consumption of supposedly innocent carbs skyrocketed. Nutritionism is a great way to sell food, since you can market the absence of evil nutrients or the presence of blessed ones, but its not a good way to eat. Which is why we got fat during the years of the low-fat campaign.
A final thought: There is 10 times as much non-human as human DNA in our bodies. We contain trillions of microbes. We are composite organisms. How this system works is not simple. We should be intellectually humble about what we know and don’t know about our own biology. Already in recent years the biologists have come to realize that the decoding of the human genome isn’t going to explain as much as they had hoped. That’s why there’s so much interest in epigenetics.
Apparently we’re still a long way from The End of Science.
FDA moves to ban trans fat from U.S. food supply
These friendly food scientists want to make you feel good about eating chemicals
Why is the Halloween Whopper turning poop green? A Washington Post investigation.
It is still important to have 2-3 Food Guide Servings of Milk & Alternatives a day, as recommended in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. Decreasing the amount of total fat, especially saturated and trans fat, is more effective at decreasing blood cholesterol levels than decreasing the amount of cholesterol ingested from foods. Choose lower fat milk such as skim, 1% and 2% milk.
Ideas for Action:
- If you are concerned about heart disease, consult your physician to determine if you are at risk. If you are at risk, consider all contributing lifestyle factors: smoking, exercise, alcohol, dietary fat and body weight.
- Follow the recommendations provided in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.
- Choose skim, 1% or 2% milk. Choose fat-free, 1% or 2% yogurt. These are low in fat, saturated fat and trans fat.
- Choose vegetables and fruit, grain products and lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
- Have lower fat meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often.
- Use lower fat cooking methods. Instead of pan-frying or deep-frying, try baking, steaming, stir-frying, broiling, grilling or roasting (on a rack, so fat can drip away).
- Limit commercially fried foods and foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or shortening, such as stick margarines, non-dairy coffee creamers, pies, biscuits, muffins, cookies, pastries, and many snack foods. They may be high in saturated fat and trans fat.
- Find out how much fat you are getting in your diet. Download or order FoodTrack™—Check on Fat.
- To help understand how milk products contributes to total dietary fat, check the page, “Are milk products high in fat or calories?”
Consuming milk and milk products contributes to higher nutrient intakes without adverse impact on fat or dietary cholesterol (1).
Making lifestyle changes (smoking cessation and weight loss), and reducing total dietary fat (especially saturated and trans fat) are more effective at lowering blood cholesterol than reducing cholesterol intake. Sources of saturated fat include higher fat milk products, fatty meats, cream, butter, lard, shortening and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil. Trans fats are found in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils used in some margarines and in shortening. Sources of these trans fats are foods (such as fries or doughnuts) fried in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and baked products (such as cookies or crackers) made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Remember, when you make dietary changes to control fat and cholesterol, it’s still important to eat a balanced diet that includes all four food groups. By following the recommendations in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide (2). you will meet your nutrient needs while keeping your intake of total fat, saturated fat and trans fat low.
Mayo Clinic Q and A: Dairy milk, soy milk, almond milk — which is the healthiest choice for you?
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I’ve always enjoyed drinking a glass of milk with most meals, but now there are so many options other than cow’s milk. Are plant-based milks, such as soy milk or almond milk, healthier options?
ANSWER: Cow’s milk (dairy) and other plant-based beverages, including soy milk and almond milk, all can be healthy choices. However, there are wide nutritional differences, depending on the type of product and the brand. Generally, you can break down the benefits by reviewing the nutritional information for each beverage. Things that are important to focus on are fat content, protein, calcium and the amount of added sugars, if any, in each product.
In terms of fat content, skim milk has negligible amounts of fat, but the amounts of cholesterol-raising saturated fat increase stepwise with 1 percent, 2 percent or whole milk. This is important to pay attention to, as the American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to no more than 7 percent of calories in your overall diet. Soy and almond milks contain about 2 to 4 grams of fat per cup, but those fats are predominantly healthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Comparing protein content, dairy milk takes the protein title with a little over 8 grams per cup. Soy milk comes in a close second with about 7 grams per cup. Traditional almond milk lags behind with just 1 gram per cup. Of note, some newer nut milk varieties have added pea protein.
When considering calcium, dairy milk naturally has about 300 milligrams per cup, and dairy products generally are considered the best absorbed source of calcium. Many soy or almond milks are fortified with calcium to at least match the amount of calcium in dairy milk. That said, your body may not absorb all of the calcium in soy milk since soy contains a natural compound (phytate) that inhibits calcium absorption.
And then there are added sugars. Unflavored white dairy milk and unsweetened soy and almond milk contain no added sugars. However, for some, the taste of unsweetened soy or almond milk can be an issue. You may find 4 to more than 20 grams of added sugars in a sweetened — or flavored — beverage. Checking the Nutrition Facts label is the best way to find a taste you like with minimal added sugars. Remember, unflavored white dairy milk will have sugar listed on the label, but it’s lactose, which is naturally occurring milk sugar.
In summary, it’s tough to beat dairy milk for balanced nutrition — with nonfat skim milk the best choice for most adults. Still, not everyone can tolerate dairy milk, and some may prefer to avoid animal products — or simply want to mix in something different. Unsweetened soy milk is the closest match nutritionally, plus you get a few grams of healthy fats that you won’t get from skim milk. Almond milk — while not unhealthy — is less nutrient dense, especially in terms of its limited protein content. With soy or almond milk, check the Nutrition Facts labels for adequate calcium and minimal added sugars. (adapted from Mayo Clinic Health Letter) — Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., Endocrinology/Nutrition, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
- Infectious Diseases A-Z: Raw milk, cheese linked to brucellosis published 2/18/19
- Mayo Clinic Minute: How to get calcium without dairy products published 9/19/18
November is Vegan Awareness Month and so it might be timely to discuss milk alternatives carried in the dining halls. Veganism is one reason a person might seek a dairy milk alternative, but other reasons include a milk allergy, lactose intolerance, and potential health concerns (antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones).
Nutritionally speaking, cow’s milk has an impressive nutrient profile. It is rich in protein, provides a solid mix of leader nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, folate, and vitamin B12, and is fortified with vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin). The question then becomes what milk alternative(s) compares or comes closest to the nutritional value of dairy? The two most popular alternatives are soy and almond and also happen to be the ones available at North and South Dining Halls.
For comparison’s sake, lower fat dairy milk has approximately 100 calories and 8 grams of protein per cup. Soy milk comes closest to matching that at approximately 95 calories and 7 to 12 grams of protein per cup. Almond milk comes in the lowest in the way of calories (30 to 50), but also in protein at only 1 gram per cup. Soy milk also contains phytonutrients known as isoflavones, which have been shown to have cancer-fighting properties. Soy milk provides a source for heart healthy polyunsaturated fat. Almond milk, on the other hand, is a good source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamins A and E. As listed above, calories are the lowest, but with fewer calories comes fewer nutrients. A recent paper published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology looked at this very subject and concluded “it is quite clear that nutritionally, soy milk is the best alternative for replacing cow’s milk in the human diet”. However, they acknowledge that more people prefer the flavor of almond milk over soy milk.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and balance. Both milks are usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D. They are both also available sweetened or unsweetened—and while they aren’t quite the heavy hitters in terms of the nutritional package provided in cow’s milk, they can be great substitutes as long as you read labels and seek out other foods for those nutrients that fall short.
Q.Does drinking almond “milk” provide the same health benefits as consuming the actual nut?
A. Drinking almond milk may share some of the healthy properties of eating almonds, but its not quite the same as consuming the actual nuts, according to Helen M. Rasmussen, PhD, RD, senior research dietitian at Tufts Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. To make milk, almonds are soaked in water until soft, then blended into water to create a consistency similar to dairy milk; finally, any solid particles are removed.
Low in saturated fat, almond milk instead contains heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, much like the nuts. When fortified, almond milk contains roughly as much vitamin D and vitamin A as dairy milk, and typically two-thirds the calcium; it has no vitamin B12, however, and less phosphorus and potassium than dairy. Although low in protein, almond milks minimal calories and saturated fat make it a good choice for adults who otherwise are eating a diet with adequate protein and other nutrients.
For more on non-dairy milks, see our September 2013 Special Report.
A three-week crossover study shows that drinking full fat, whole milk led to improved cholesterol levels compared to drinking skimmed milk.
For decades, skimmed and semi-skimmed milk has been advised as a way of reducing weight and helping to prevent heart disease. However, these guidelines were introduced before rigorous research was carried out to see if the theory was true.
In recent years, research has been carried out to test whether eating low fat has scientific validity. So far, the research suggests that full fat dairy is no worse than low fat dairy and may be healthier. Previous studies have shown full fat dairy to be associated with lower risks of type 2 diabetes, for example.
In the new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen tested the effects of having 500ml per day of either skimmed milk or whole milk for three weeks and then repeating the test with the other type of milk. The study was randomised so that some participants started with skimmed milk whereas others started with the whole milk first.
Cholesterol tests were taken to measure how the different types of milk affected blood lipids such as LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. 18 healthy adults took part in the study and all but one completed it.
The results of the study showed that LDL cholesterol did not differ significantly between the two types of milk. However, whole milk was shown to increase the level of HDL cholesterol which reflects a healthier effect on cholesterol levels.
The findings provide more evidence that low fat foods are not advantageous and that full fat dairy is likely to be the healthier choice.
For up to date guidance on healthy eating for diabetes, join the award-winning Low Carb Program. The program will guide you through making healthy food choices that help to improve your diabetes, help with weight management and can help reduce to reduce dependence on medication.
The study is published online of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Is low-fat or full-fat the better choice for dairy products?
The debate in the dairy case may come down to limiting overall fat intake.
Published: October, 2018
Image: © Lise Gagne/Getty Images
In the 1980s, fat came under fire, and low-fat or fat-free products became a dietary staple. But today, nutrition experts largely agree that dietary fat should have a spot at the table.
Healthy fats, including those found in olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados, can help your body absorb crucial nutrients and contribute to overall health. But does the same advice apply when it comes to dairy products? Is it time to trade in your low-fat and skim milk for whole milk and cheese? “Is whole milk better than low-fat milk? The answer is no,” says Dr. Frank Hu, The Fredrick J. Stare Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “The evidence doesn’t really support that.”
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With every one percent reduction of total blood cholesterol, there is about a two percent reduction in the risk of heart attack. Getting your total cholesterol down and your HDL, or good cholesterol, up is good medicine. Here’s what you can do to control your cholesterol.
1. Eat less fat
Keep your total daily fat intake below 20 percent of your daily calories. If you average 2,250 calories a day, eat no more than 450 calories from fat, or 50 grams of fat (there are 9 calories per gram of fat).
NUTRITIP: How to Control Your Cholesterol Every Day
The American Heart Association recommends that people keep their total daily cholesterol intake under 300 milligrams.
2. Eat the right fats
Eat foods that are low in saturated fats, that contain mostly monounsaturated fats, and that are high in essential fatty acids. This means eating fats from seafood and plant sources. Minimize foods of animal origin, which are high in saturated fats. Keep your saturated fats to less than ten percent (better is seven percent) of your total daily calories.
Get used to checking the package label for grams of saturated fat per serving. Avoid “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils and shortenings. New insights into the fatty food/heart disease correlation reveal that the amount of saturated fats and hydrogenated fats in a food may actually do more harm to the fats in your blood than the cholesterol in the food. The trans fatty acids in hydrogenated fats do all kinds of bad things to blood fats, such as: increase LDL (bad) cholesterol, decrease HDL (good) cholesterol, increase triglycerides, and increase lipoprotein A – the blood fat that contributes to plaques in the arteries. Look for labels that claim “contains no saturated fats” or “contains no hydrogenated oils.”
Eat more fish that contain omega 3 fatty acids (coldwater fish: seabass, salmon and albacore tuna), which help lower blood fat levels and reduce the risk of blood clots, which can clog arteries and cause strokes and heart attacks. Replacing saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated ones (for example, vegetable and fish oils) can reduce blood LDL levels. Yet, a diet that is too high in polyunsaturated fat (more than 10 percent of daily calories) can suppress production of HDL. Choose monounsaturated fats instead, such as olive oil, canola oil, and nut oils. These monounsaturated fats do not lower HDL levels.
3. Cut cholesterol-containing foods
Too much cholesterol in the diet increases the number of LDLs, the bad cholesterol. As we said above, cholesterol is found only in animal products, not plant foods. Therefore, eating less animal foods and more plant foods will lower the blood cholesterol. While eating lean beef and peeling the skin off chicken reduces the cholesterol in these foods, there is still cholesterol and saturated fat within even lean meat and poultry. Organ meat (such as liver) is particularly loaded with cholesterol. (Making cholesterol is the liver’s job.) Lean beef, lean lamb, and lean chicken are all about the same in the amount of cholesterol they contain. Egg yolks, milk fat, and shellfish (shrimp and lobster) are high in cholesterol. Other oily fish (such as salmon and tuna) are much lower in cholesterol. White-fleshed fish tend to be the lowest in saturated fat.
While your goal may be to raise the good cholesterol, you can’t get “good cholesterol” directly from foods. If you already have a high cholesterol, temporarily switching to a vegetarian diet (with fish and non-fat dairy products, such as yogurt) may help lower your levels quickly. Persons who go on a vegetarian diet and reduce their fat intake by 26 percent have shown a significant drop in blood cholesterol levels in just six weeks. One study showed that switching from whole milk to nonfat milk lowered the total cholesterol of people in the study by seven percent and the LDL (bad) cholesterol by eleven percent after six weeks.
NUTRITIP: Overweight Cholesterol
We think of fatty foods as the cause of high cholesterol, yet eating more calories than we need from any food (fats or carbohydrates) can raise blood cholesterol, since being overweight itself raises blood cholesterol and increases the risk for heart disease. So, controlling your intake of all foods is important in controlling your cholesterol.
4. Eat cholesterol-lowering foods
Besides avoiding cholesterol-containing foods, plant foods actually lower blood cholesterol. Plant foods have chemicals in them called sterols which, like cholesterol, hold the cell membranes together. By a fortunate biochemical quirk, plant sterols are not absorbed through the intestines and into the bloodstream, but they do decrease the absorption of sterols (cholesterol) in animal foods. The following are some plant foods that lower blood cholesterol.
- Soy protein. Switch from sirloin to soy. Replacing animal protein with soy protein reduces blood cholesterol levels, even when the total amount of fat in the diet remains the same. A recent review of 38 studies concluded that eating soy protein lowered blood cholesterol by an average of 32 milligrams (9 percent), LDL cholesterol by 22 milligrams (13 percent), and triglyceride (total fats) concentrations by ten percent. As an added perk, the HDL cholesterol increased a bit. Soy protein worked best in people who needed it most. While the amount of soy protein it takes to lower your cholesterol varies considerably among individuals, as a general guide, if half of your daily protein comes from soy (between 30 and 40 grams of soy protein a day), you should notice the cholesterol-lowering effect. This can be accomplished by simply changing from cow’s milk to soy milk, meat to soy substitutes, or from dairy products to tofu. As an added health benefit, soy products contain phytonutrients called “isoflavones,” which reduce the risk of some cancers.
- Fiber. Soluble fiber slows the absorption of the cholesterol from animal foods and acts as an intestinal broom to sweep the cholesterol out. Top-billing for research-backed, cholesterol-lowering effects of fiber goes to oatbran . Eating one to two ounces a day (30-60 grams) along with a lowfat, low cholesterol diet can reduce blood cholesterol by ten to fifteen percent. Similar benefits can be obtained from other soluble fiber-rich foods, such as beans, cruciferous vegetables, apricots, prunes, and a super-soluble fiber-rich food, psyllium, a bran-like grain which has been shown to lower cholesterol by fifteen percent within two to four months, after eating an average of ten grams (three tsp.) per day.
NUTRITIP: Can Yogurt Help Control Your Cholesterol?
While medical studies are inconclusive about whether or not yogurt lowers cholesterol, there is some experimental evidence to suggest that byproducts of lactobacilli fermentation (which is what turns milk into yogurt) inhibit the body’s ability to make cholesterol. Obviously, the cholesterol-lowering effect was greatest with non-fat yogurt. The most striking results were seen in experiments on swine. Since these animals seem to metabolize cholesterol similar to humans, it is possible that yogurt may lower cholesterol in humans, too.
- Nuts. A recent study showed that volunteers who got 30 percent of their daily calories from fat, yet got two thirds of this fat from walnuts lower their cholesterol by twelve percent within four weeks. The cholesterol lowering effect of nuts was thought to be due to the combination of fiber, B- vitamins, and vitamin E, and to the fact that these fats are primarily unsaturated ones. Yet, don’t go too nutty. Since nuts are high in fat, it’s important not to eat too many.
- Garlic. The jury is still out on whether or not garlic will lower your cholesterol. Powdered garlic supplements probably will not. Eating one clove of garlic per day may. Watch the medical news for a garlic update. Until then, stick to the proven cholesterol-lowering foods, soy and fiber, and eat garlic because you enjoy it.
- Alcohol. You may also read that 1 to 2 alcoholic drinks a day can raise HDL cholesterol. Yet, similar to garlic, the jury is still out on whether the HDL-raising effect is significant enough to lower the risk of heart disease and to outweigh the potentially harmful effects of alcohol abuse.
NUTRITIP: Read the Fine Print
While some foods boast “cholesterol-free” on the front of the package, the fine print on the back tells you they are full of saturated and fake fats. Highly saturated tropical oils, such as palm kernel oil, may have a worse effect on cholesterol levels than foods that contain cholesterol. Hydrogenated fats will also push cholesterol levels higher. Some cereals, for example, may be labeled “cholesterol-free” on the front of the package, yet if you read the fine print these contain hydrogenated tropical oils.
5. Get lean.
Trimming excess body fat can increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL). It is not only excess body fat that influences cholesterol levels, it’s where you carry it. Studies show that men who carry excess fat around the middle (a body type we refer to as “apples”) are at a higher risk of coronary artery disease than those who carry excess weight around the hips and buttocks (“pears”). Research has shown that apple-shaped people should pay even more attention to staying lean through a combination of exercise and a lowfat diet. Being over-fat increases LDL and decreases HDL, just the reverse of what you want, and this effect seems to be more aggravated in “apples” rather than “pears.”
Aerobic exercise (the kind that gets your heart rate up) raises the level of HDL cholesterol and may also reduce the level of LDL. In fact, since there is no such thing as eating foods high in HDL cholesterol, the only two ways you can raise HDL cholesterol is by exercising and reducing your body fat. Exercise is one of the few cholesterol-lowering activities that accomplish all three goals: lowering total cholesterol, raising HDLs, and lowering LDLs. Exercise stimulates the body to manufacture more HDL. The cholesterol level of athletes is much lower than that of sedentary individuals.
NUTRITIP: Is Cholesterol Really the Cardiac Culprit?
The healthcare industry has built a whole cardiovascular complex (almost a religion) around heart disease and cholesterol, and certainly experimental evidence seems to indicate that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between high cholesterol diets and a high incidence of heart disease. Yet, other factors may be involved. Is it really the cholesterol in the food that causes problems, or could there be something else present (or absent) in high cholesterol foods that affects heart disease? Why do plant-food-eaters have lower cholesterol than animal-food-eaters? While the obvious answer is that plant food doesn’t contain cholesterol and animal food does, could there be another explanation? Plant foods are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, and fiber. Meat, on the other hand, is low in vitamin C and fiber. Our belief is that while it’s easier to blame heart disease on the one chemical-cholesterol-the connection is more complex. Switching from a primarily animal-based diet to one based on plant and seafood sources may be just what the heart doctor ordered.
Stress releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline, which can elevate blood cholesterol levels. A daily relaxation program, such as meditation, deep-breathings or mental imagery can lower blood cholesterol.
Grazing on many mini meals throughout the day rather than eating three big meals can lower cholesterol. In studies comparing frequent snackers to three-meal-a-day eaters, the grazers had lower cholesterol.
9. Don’t smoke.
Smoking makes everything that’s bad for the heart worse.
10. Raise low cholesterol kids.
Children who grow up with a plant and seafood-based diet rather than one high in animal-based foods are more likely to grow up with healthier hearts.
August 9, 2013 October 16, 2017 Dr. Bill Sears