Did you know that your body makes cholesterol in the liver? We need cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D and bile. It also surrounds the membranes of our cells.
Why then, are so many people concerned about good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol and the amounts they have? It’s because high levels of the LDL cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.
The Canadian Medical Association suggests that men over 40 years and women over 50 years be tested for total LDL and HDL cholesterol.
With obesity and overweight problems so prevalent, it might seem prudent for women to check before age 50 in my thinking.
Factors that can affect your blood cholesterol level are:
• Family history
• Age and gender (risk increases with age and if you are male)
• Diabetes mellitus (uncontrolled diabetes is a risk)
• Body weight and shape (people with excess body fat have higher LDL)
• Level of physical activity (Physical Activity raises HDL)
• Eating habits (particularly fats)
Some of these factors we can do something about to reduce our risks of heart attack. With regard to eating, Lifestyles offers these recommendations:
• Eliminate saturated fats. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Saturated fats are also found in many pre-packaged foods (cookies, crackers and potato chips, whipped toppings, baked and processed foods).
• Use polyunsaturated fats found in nuts and seeds, liquid oils such as corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower and sesame oils
• Be aware of food sources of cholesterol: liver, cheese, butter, egg yolks and shrimp
• Eat a diet high in soluable fibres (which will lower LDL cholesterol without lowering HDL cholesterol). This includes a diet high in fruit, oats, barley and legumes.
Here is a homemade recipe Mr. Bodden uses in conjunction with his medication to reduce cholesterol:
8 oz. Skim Milk (or Soyamilk)
2 oz. Old Fashioned Oats
Blend all ingredients together then add 6-8 ice-cubes and blend again.