Topic of the Week
June 5th, 2017
Although the body produces cholesterol (since it IS an essential nutrient that is critical to the production of vitamin D as well as some hormones and even acids found in bile), it can also be consumed through the diet. There is not necessarily a one to one link between dietary cholesterol and the amount of cholesterol found in the blood (serum cholesterol) since different people assimilate cholesterol differently in terms of how much actually ends up in the blood and which can possibly clog arteries (atherosclerosis). Indeed, high serum cholesterol, which can cause atherosclerosis, is a definitive factor in coronary heart disease. So what is one to do?
There are three options available to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to high serum cholesterol. The first is to change the content of the diet by reducing the intake of saturated fats (those foods that contain fat that is solid at room temperature) and replacing them with unsaturated fats such as those found in vegetable oils, olive oils and lower fat meats such as chicken and fish. Saturated fats should make up less than7% of total daily caloric intake. Trimming excess fat from all meats is also a good idea when possible. Of course, trans fatty acids (still found in many processed foods) are a big no-no! Also, increasing the fiber content of ones diet such as fruits, vegetables, beans, oatmeal and other grains will assist in decreasing the absorption of dietary cholesterol. Replacing meat protein in the diet with soy protein has also been found to reduce serum cholesterol.
The second option is---you guessed it---regular exercise. First, exercise helps to raise HDL (high density lipoproteins) or “good” cholesterol which appears to assist in reducing LDL (low density lipoproteins) or the ”bad” cholesterol that sticks to the arteries. The face that regular exercise helps to reduce blood pressure is another contribution that it makes by possibly preventing potential heart attacks (and increasing survivability) that MAY be caused by atherosclerosis. Additionally, vascular inflammation, which may promote the build-up of LDL “plaques” in the arteries, is generally much lower in individuals who exercise regularly.
Finally, medication that helps to lower total cholesterol (especially LDL) may be an option but, unfortunately, many Americans (and many doctors) still use medication as the first defense against this potentially fatal condition. Granted, there are some that SEEM to be genetically predisposed to cholesterol “build-up” but their numbers are far lower than those receiving medication to lower cholesterol levels. Medication should be used, in my view, only when a program of diet and exercise has failed. This means that the individual MUST take responsibility for their own health and not simply depend on medication to solve the “problem”. In most cases, it is a problem with a simple solution. See paragraph two and three above!!
I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay
Originally published on September 02, 2017 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau