Lower Your Cholesterol to Keep Your Heart Healthy
Your lipid profile includes both cholesterol and triglycerides, and high blood lipid levels put you at risk for cardiovascular disease. In fact, every 1% reduction in cholesterol reduces your cardiovascular disease by 2%. Our bodies make cholesterol, and we consume cholesterol from animal foods. The goal is to have your total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL, and it is important to remember than anything over 240 mg/dL is considered high. Cholesterol is made up of HDL (high density lipoproteins), also known as “good cholesterol” and LDL (low density lipoproteins), also known as “bad cholesterol.” The goal for optimal heart heath is an HDL higher than 60 mg/dL and an LDL less than 100 mg/dL. It also is important to make sure your triglycerides are well controlled and strive for less than 150 mg/dL. High triglycerides are often the result of a high carbohydrate diet, physical inactivity, smoking, excess alcohol, and obesity. Diet and lifestyle change can improve your lipid profile. Regular physical activity has been shown to increase HDL, and weight loss has been linked to a 10% decreased risk of high lipids. Avoid trans fats and reduce saturated fat by limiting red meat, butter, eggs, cream, and tropical oils to further improve your numbers.