February 18, 2010

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a lipid, meaning it is a fat. Everyone tells you when trying to lose weight avoid items high in cholesterol, saturated fats, or Trans fats. This is somewhat true. You need cholesterol! Cholesterol is what makes hormones, vitamin D, and bile (this helps your body use and digest fat that comes with the food you eat). Imagine life without cholesterol, we would all have weak bones, and any fat we consumed would go straight to our thighs. Cholesterol is beautiful!

Now before you get too excited and reach for that greasy (and probably cholesterol filled) hamburger, you do need to limit your cholesterol intake. One egg a day provides just the right extra amount of cholesterol (300 mg daily) to maintain the perfect health and not gain any weight. Each day your liver alone produces 1,000 mg of cholesterol, so you just need a tad more. If you consume too much cholesterol you may experience things like heart disease. If you have any risk factors for heart disease it is recommended you decrease your cholesterol intake per day to 200 mg per day.

To decrease your cholesterol intake, avoid these foods: beef, pork, lamb, egg yolk, turkey, duck, goose, and fish oil. Generally the foods highest in cholesterol are those the highest in protein (meats). Vegetables and fruits have no cholesterol. An ideal meal would be a vegetable stir-fry with a small amount of meat in it. Find the perfect balance of cholesterol for you and you will have a healthy heart.

January 28, 2010

Unusual Cholesterol Amongst Teens

One in five teens in the United States have unusual cholesterol. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also states that more than 40% of obese teens have abnormal cholesterol. It is becoming more and more highly recommended that teens undergo cholesterol testing to evade the risk of heart disease.

Teens have experienced their arteries become firmer and harder and even atherosclerosis. Screenings should be done every 5 years starting when an individual reaches the age of 20. If the screenings show irregular cholesterol levels the regularity of the screenings should be amplified to every one or two years. Counseling may also be recommended for the individual to be encouraged to make lifestyle changes in order to keep ones cholesterol at a steady level.
If you have high levels of cholesterol you should:

• Reduce your intake of saturated fat

• Reduce your calorie intake by at least 7 percent

• Increase the amount of fiber you consume by 5 or more grams daily

• Lessen your cholesterol intake to under 200 milligrams daily

• Try herbs and other products said to lower your cholesterol such as green tree extract, garlic, flaxseed, and fish oil.

In the past, it was genetics which caused children to be suspected of having cholesterol problems, but currently, weight is included in the criteria. Because of obesity, illnesses which were only thought to be applicable to adults are now becoming more frequently found amongst children.