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Low Cholesterol Diet


* Low cholesterol diet

We all know just how important it is to eat healthy foods that are not high in cholesterol and how important a low cholesterol diet is to our vascular health. But, we also must understand that there are two types of cholesterol, one that is good for us and one that is bad. The good cholesterol is known as High Density Lipoprotein or HDL and the bad cholesterol is Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL. You should keep the LDL levels low while keeping the HDL levels high. You can visit with your doctor to keep an eye on your cholesterol levels. But, a good low cholesterol diet is the best way to ensure that you keep your cholesterol levels where they should be.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute have compiled a diet for you to follow to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Following their low cholesterol diet should help control your cholesterol. Your total fat calories should be lower that 30 percent in a day, total saturated fat should be lower than 10 percent per day, and the total cholesterol from your diet should be lower than 300 milligrams. If your cholesterol is already high then you should try to lower these figures.

* Low cholesterol food

Low cholesterol foods that can help lower your cholesterol levels include foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids such as sardines, salmon, albacore tuna, lake trout, mackerel and herring. Other foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids are found in canola, almonds, tofu, other forms of soybeans and flaxseed, including their oils. A low cholesterol diet with soluble fiber will also help to lower your LDL levels. These foods include apples, oranges, pears, prunes, apricots, oats, berries, carrots, dried peas, beans, carrots, cabbage, dates, figs, Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.

* High cholesterol food

High cholesterol food that can raise your cholesterol level include fatty poultry, certain fish species, egg yolks, liver and organ meats, cheese, butter and other dairy items made from whole milk. Any type of food that has saturated fats and hydrogenated oils should be avoided if you are on a diet to lower your cholesterol level. These items even include coconut oil, palm oil, cocoa butter, and some margarines. And avoid all deep-fried high cholesterol food such as fries. Finally, high cholesterol food in the form of processed meats like sausage, salami and bologna should be eliminated from your diet.

For more details on making wise food choices see the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Tipsheet TLC Diet Daily Food Guide Food Groups at: http://www.nhlbisupport.com/chd1/Tipsheets/foodgroup.htm.

* A Low Cholesterol Diet Reduces Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fatty lipid, steroid and an alcohol found in the body tissues and blood plasma of vertebrates. It is the cardinal part of the outer membranes of human body cells and it circulates in the blood of humans. Cholesterol in the human body comes from two major sources – diet, and the liver, where it is produced internally.

High cholesterol in the blood is considered to be unhealthy. The cholesterol levels in the bloodstream can influence the pathogenesis of certain conditions, such as the development of atherosclerotic plaque and coronary artery disease. It gets collected on the walls of arteries and interferes with the flow of blood. This buildup of cholesterol in the blood vessels may constrict the passages considerably and inhibit the flow of blood to and from the heart.

Recent researches have revealed that the abundance of protein complexes, called lipoproteins are responsible for the cholesterol build-up in the blood vessels. Elevated levels of bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein or LDL), are responsible for heart disease.

Cholesterol in your diet:

A high cholesterol diet is considered an unwholesome diet. Diets which are rich in animal fats, meat, poultry, fish, oils, egg yolks and dairy products, are a rich source of cholesterol. Organ meats, such as liver, are extremely rich in cholesterol. A diet high in cholesterol is fatal for the heart.

Healthy diets are considered effective to lower cholesterol. A low cholesterol diet contains extremely low or no cholesterol at all. Diets of plant origin are the best low cholesterol diets.

Fat is the major source of energy for the body, but excessive fat in the diet is dangerous. The excess fat raises blood cholesterol levels. It’s bad for the circulatory system and causes heart attack or stroke. The amount of fat and cholesterol in a diet should just be according to the daily calories required by the body. Thus a perfectly balanced diet is considered a healthy diet.

A perfect low cholesterol diet has the following features:

* Stanol-containing cheese could help reduce cholesterol

A stanol-enriched cheese could help lower cholesterol levels by over five per cent, says a new study by Raisio and Valio, as the Finish companies look to put science behind the growing range of stanol products.

Considerable research continues to focus on cholesterol-lowering foods. Indeed, food industry executives polled by Reuters Business Insight last year predicted that by 2009, cholesterol-lowering foods would be the most profitable health food, far ahead of recently trendy products such as low-carb foods.

The new randomized double-blind parallel-group study, published on-line in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602445), looks at the effect of a stanol-enriched low-fat cheese of the cholesterol levels of 67 volunteers with mild hypercholesterolaemia.

High cholesterol levels, hypercholesterolaemia, have a long association with many diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease (CVD), the cause of almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe, and reported to cost the EU economy an estimated €169bn ($202bn) per year.

The volunteers (24 men, 43 women) were randomly assigned to either the stanol group, which consumed a cheese enriched with 2 g of plant stanols per day, or a control group (a normal cheese with no plant sterols) for five weeks.

The researchers, led by Riita Korpela from the University of Helsinki and Valio, found that the stanol ester group, had lower levels of both total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, compared to the control group. Total cholesterol levels were 5.8 per cent lower, while LDL-cholesterol levels were 10.3 per cent lower.

No significant differences in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides or apolipoprotein B concentrations were found between the groups.

These results led the researchers to conclude: “Cheese enriched with 2 g of plant stanol in the form of fatty acid esters decreases serum total and LDL cholesterol significantly.”

Dairy and dietary supplements continue to dominate the cholesterol-lowering food categories. Mintel's Global New Products Database lists a total of 123 cholesterol-lowering dairy products in Europe between 1998 and 2006. The peak year was 2004 when there were 38, followed by 26 last year.

Data source: Mintel's Global New Products Database.
By Stephen Daniells

Information on Cholesterol