Keep Your Cholesterol Under Control

September 17th, 2012  |  The Blog

Cholesterol is a necessary nutrient. It just has to be the right configuration and in the proper amounts in order to be healthy. Patients most often gravitate to a single number, which represents their total cholesterol level, but there is much more to the puzzle.

The World Health Organization states that 20 percent of all strokes and 505 of all heart attacks are the result of a high cholesterol level.

Daily Cholesterol Intake

While many Americans take in 300-500 mg of cholesterol in their diet each day, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 300 mg daily. It is important to keep in mind that the human body also produces cholesterol, aside from that which is obtained from dietary intake. The liver is a cholesterol-producing organ.

Proper Cholesterol Levels

Everything in moderation is allowable. The press and the medical journals often taint the consumption of eggs and red meats but, again, it is important to eat them in moderation, not ban them from a patient’s diet.

A recent study from Chinese University in Hong Kong found that oxidized or overcooked meats are where the highest cholesterol concentration is found in foods.? These oxidized meats can increase cholesterol and cause atherosclerosis.

Why does this happen? Animal-origin foods, when cooked at high temperatures, form oxycholesterol or oxidized cholesterol. This process forms a new and concerning combination of oxygen and cholesterol. This is harmful to cardiac health of you or your patient.

The Chinese University researchers also studied this oxidized cholesterol versus the traditional non-oxidized or LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. Although done through lab animal testing, those consuming a diet high in oxidized cholesterol displayed a total cholesterol level up to 22 percent higher and more plaque in their arteries than those with a non-oxidized cholesterol diet.

According to the American Heart Association:

Total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL

HDL (high density lipid or good cholesterol) should be 60 mg/dL or above

LDL (low density lipid or bad cholesterol) should be less than 100 mg/dL

Up-to-Date Dietary Control Options

So how should you advise your patients about their diet and what should you eat to keep your cholesterol level optimal? A consultation with a dietician is a good resource but there are simpler, everyday diet ticks to employ as well.

  • Avoid trans-fat. Simply stated: do not eat anything that has partially hydrogenated oil listed as an ingredient. Read all food labels for specific ingredients, even if the label says zero trans fat.
  • Fresh garlic has been proven to lower cholesterol. Use it freely in cooking.
  • The antioxidants found in green tea are credited with lowering cholesterol.
  • Increase your intake of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber binds with cholesterol when passing through the digestive tract and helps to eliminate it from the system. Good sources of soluble fiber: apples, beans, lentils, oats, barley, carrots and flaxseed.
  • Need a snack? Grab a handful of almonds to help lower your LDL cholesterol.

It is most important to discuss your cholesterol levels with a healthcare professional to determine the optimal numbers for you or your patient. Developing a reasonable and healthy goal is most important to compliance and a healthy lifestyle.

 

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