If you have a cholesterol imbalance, or in other words, high cholesterol, your goal should be to check your diet and make possible changes to your lifestyle. The quality of your health depends upon your diet and lifestyle.
When it comes to cholesterol management, the goal of your diet should be to create a healthy balance of fats and avoid those that are bad.
Berkeley Wellness (Berkeley University of California) says that cholesterol size does matter.
How so? Ask yourself this question: Why do some people with given levels of LDL and HDL develop heart disease while others with the same levels do not?
Medical research has found that a key factor to heart disease and high cholesterol is the size and density of LDL particles. These particles can range from very small, densely concentrated particles to large “fluffy” ones.
It is the small dense particle size lipoproteins that are dangerous. Were as, the large fluffy particle sized are healthier.
Studies have linked smaller, dense LDL particles to a higher risk of heart disease compared to larger particles, which may be relatively benign.
Small particles are considered more dangerous as they are able to get into artery walls where dangerous plaque forms, thus promoting atherosclerosis. They are also more easily oxidized, and oxidized LDL is linked to atherosclerosis. In addition, they are less easily cleared from the bloodstream.
Traditional cholesterol tests only show the over all level of cholesterol. It has to be broken down to particle size and number.
The key dietary change for improving cholesterol imbalance or the LDL size is to cut down on refined carbohydrates, such as sugary or starchy foods.
It isn’t necessary to go on a very low-carbohydrate diet, but rather moderate your carb intake and choose healthy, high-fiber carbs. Eat more carbohydrate foods like fruits and especialy vegetables.
Let's discuss what a diet that can improve cholesterol imbalance looks like.
Dietary Recommendations For Cholesterol Imbalance
Supplement your diet with mercury-free high-quality fish oil, or better yet krill oil, which is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
An Italian study at the Università del Salento confirmed that krill oil helps improve lipid and glucose metabolism and mitochondrial function, which may help protect against fatty liver disease caused by an unhealthy diet.
When cooking, use a healthy saturated fat such as extra virgin organic coconut oil. Healthy amounts of saturated fat can help maintain your cholesterol at optimal levels.
As a healthy snack alternative, choose sprouted nuts and seeds that are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids.
Eat wild-caught salmon, 1 to 2 times a week. Fish that grow in the wild obtain ample amounts of omega-3 naturally through their diet. were as farmed-fish do not.
Dr. Chauncey Crandall, M.D. - Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Mount Sinai Heart New York- Palm Beach and author of the book, "The Simple Heart Cure," recommends the following for cholesterol balance.
Get 8-10 hours of sleep a night as sleep deprivation hikes low-density LDL cholesterol. It also contributes to high blood pressure, and leads to overeating.
The body’s ability to synthesize Vitamin-D from the sun diminishes as you age. Get your vitamin-D levels checked with a blood test. And if your level is low, take a daily vitamin-D supplement.
Eat less gluten as a high-gluten wheat-based diet leads to inflammation, which research shows is more of a dangerous heart disease driver than cholesterol.
If you do eat wheat products, make sure they are whole grain and stay away from multi-grain products, which are no healthier than baked goods made with refined flour.
Dr. Crandall recommends topping your food with cinnamon.
He notes one study were 60 people with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women were divided randomly into six groups.
The first 3 groups consumed 1, 3, or 6 grams* of cinnamon daily, respectively, and the other 3 groups were given placebo capsules corresponding to the number of capsules consumed by the first three groups.
After 40 days, the first three groups taking the cinnamon capsules had a reduced mean fasting serum glucose by 18-29%, reduced triglyceride by 23-30%, and a reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by up to 27%.
Their total cholesterol levels were reduced by up to 26%. The placebo groups showed no significant changes.
*1 gram of cinnamon is about 1/4 teaspoon - 3 grams is about 3/4 teaspoon and 6 grams is about 2 teaspoons
Exercise To Maintain A Healthy Cholesterol Balance
To Maintain a healthy cholesterol balance requires a healthy weight. Being over weight or obese actually triggers a whole series of metabolic disturbances that can raise cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin levels.
Cholesterol imbalance can be positively affected by a combination of daily exercise and healthy diet.
Dr. Crandall recommends exercise at least one hour a day. He says a brisk one-hour walk will help lower cholesterol, high blood pressure, and build up your heart’s collateral blood flow.
Dr. Robert H. Eckel, MD professor of medicine in the cardiology division at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora at Colorado State University says the right kinds of exercises, done regularly, can raise levels of heart-protecting HDL cholesterol and drop dangerous triglyceride levels.
Dr. Eckel notes that by losing fat and building muscle, your numbers can really improve.
Excess weight greatly affects cholesterol levels.
Aerobic activities include brisk walking, water aerobics, and swimming, dancing, gardening among others.
Keep in mind that any exercise that raises your heartbeat will help balance your cholesterol and your weight.
What About Statin Drugs
If your taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, at which some 36 million Americans and possibly more, are now taking, there may be something your doctor is not telling you. Using such pharmaceutical drugs can deplete your body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Depleting CoQ10 can be hazardous for cardiac health (Journal Biofactors).
Coenzyme Q10 is a coenzyme which exists naturally in our bodies and is essential for the health of your heart. It is a precursor to a number of functions that have to do with energy production on a cellular level.
This energy production process is vital for your body's cells to survive and function. And this cannot happen without CoQ10.
If you choose to take a cholesterol-lowering medication, you should also consider supplementing your diet with CoQ10.
Foods To Avoid When Treating Cholesterol Imbalance
Trans-fats should be avoided. This type of fat can be found in packaged snacks such as pastries, cookies, and crackers. Read the nutrition facts of any packaged food to see all the fats in the product.
Other foods that are often filled with trans-fats include, biscuits, breakfast sandwiches, microwave popcorn, cream-filled candy, doughnuts, fried fast foods, and frozen pizza.
Avoid margarine and other butter substitutes. Check food labels carefully before purchasing them.
You should also avoid packaged foods that contain “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated" oils as well.
Trans-fats actually increase your bad LDL cholesterol levels and lowers good HDL cholesterol levels.
Doing so puts you at risk for heart disease and other degenerative chronic disorders.
Despite the common misconception, not all fats are bad! Fat found naturally in our diet does not cause cholesterol imbalance, heart disease or obesity.
But rather the excessive consumption of refined sugar and non-nutritive calories like Aspartame and Splenda among others can.
Also a sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain and the development of chronic conditions, like heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol imbalance.