Monday, December 21, 2009

Foods to Avoid High Cholesterol - What You Need to Know


By Joe Dungait

When it comes down to choosing foods to avoid high cholesterol, you need to be aware of some of the misinformation that is out there. Most often when we think about high cholesterol then our first thought is that we need to totally eliminate the foods that cause it from our lives, the fact is that we do need some of it in our blood for our bodies to function properly and also while we can skip certain foods to avoid high cholesterol, diet only plays a small part in the grand scheme of things.


Cholesterol is a wax like substance which is produced by the liver and the body needs it for building and maintaining cell membranes and balancing the hormones. As we mentioned a small part of it can be made through our diet but the vast majority of it is produced by our livers. The foods to avoid high cholesterol are in the main foods that contain saturated fats such as red meats and dairy products, and probably the worst offenders are foods that contain trans fats; trans fats are made from hydrogenated vegetable oils, and often found in fast foods and processed foods.

The typesd of foods which we have mentioned i.e. the saturated fats and trans fats will reduce a little bit of production of LDL which is the "bad" cholesterol, however there is another cholesterol that you want to have high amounts of and that is HDL. The purpose of the HDL is that it helps to reduce plaque buildup made by LDL, and not only that it mops up the LDL and takes it back to the liver for reprocessing. Foods that can give you a good boost of this HDL are normally foods that contain omega three fats such as flax seed and walnuts; oily fish in particular is excellent at raising the HDL because that contains two omega3 fats known as DHA and EPA and these been scientifically proven to not only help balance out the levels but also reduce triglycerides as well.

Quite often if you go to the doctors to discuss your cholesterol levels, they will just look your total combined levels and look to reduce that rather than look at the separate LDL and HDL levels and also triglyceride levels. Normally the course of action that is taken is to prescribe statins. The problem with statins is that although they will reduce your LDL by way of inhibiting the enzymes that produce it, at the same time they also inhibit enzymes that the body needs to function properly, and inhibiting these good enzymes can lead to some severe health complications. Unfortunately statins are dished out quite often without looking at other remedies such as discussing foods to avoid high cholesterol. You need to think carefully if you are offered statins by a doctor as once you are on them then you are on them for life.

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