What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy sticky substance that attaches to the walls of the arteries. Your doctor will determine the cholesterol levels via a routine blood test. The blood test results will return a reading of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) bad and High-density lipoprotein (HDL) good. Consequently, if the LDL level comes back high, bad, there is a strong chance that this will contribute to plaque build up in your arteries. It is plaque build-up that is linked to heart attacks and strokes. So, what can we do to improve our LDL?
Improving your bad cholesterol LDL level
Exercise assists in lowering LDL levels. Exercise physiologist, Michael Crawford, recommends starting with moderate intensity exercise and progressing to high-intensity interval training, HIIT. Therefore assisting in raising good HDL. Good HDL levels discourage plaque buildup.
The following are recommended foods to help lower LDL
- Two servings of fish a week. This is also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Plain almonds, walnuts, and other nuts. Walnuts are good for blood vessel health. Avoid weight gain by using a handful of nuts only.
- High fiber foods, i.e., pears, kidney beans, oatmeal, oat bran, apple, prunes, barley, and bananas.
- Add avocados to sandwiches or in salads. Also, one study has shown that eating an avocado a day can improve the LDL in overweight or obese people. Do not eat guacamole with corn chips. Corn chips are usually high in fat. Substitute corn chips with raw vegetables.
- Cut out table sugars and high fructose corn syrups.
- Read the labels and do not have Trans Fats. The label may not show the words trans fats, they can also be labeled as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” or “hydrogenated oils.”
Furthermore, researchers are now finding that individuals process cholesterol-rich foods differently from one person to another. Cardiologist Stephen Nissan MD says research is beginning to show that genetics is the driving force behind cholesterol. Most of all Dr. Nissan does stress that trans fats are a must to avoid. Because Trans fats do tend to raise cholesterol and tend to increase the risk of heart attack they are better left out of your diet.
Researchers from the University of south Florida, the Japan Institute of Pharmacovigilance and various other international institutions in Japan, Sweden, UK, Ireland, US, and Italy, concluded that LDL may not be as bad as once thought and higher levels of LDL are not linked to all-cause cardiovascular mortality. A specific data search from one literature database was used to source 30 studies for review. Consequently, the review is only as good as the studies they reviewed. As a result, the search criteria had limitations in selecting the studies examined and it is possible that it may have missed out other important factors. Therefore, the conclusion to the review does not provide solid evidence that LDL is good for you.
Gene therapy research
Another study, published in 2015, showed positive progress towards gene therapy used to correct gene disorder. This study looked at inherited high blood pressure from a gene disorder. Dr. Bisset and his colleagues used a mouse model to carry out the research. With one administered dose, they were able to restore normality to the affected mouse. “Our study marks the first time a human metabolic disease is induced in an experimental animal model by human hepatocyte transplantation and treated by gene therapy,” the scientist say. Dr. Bisset also commented, ” While this model does not mimic everything within the human lipid system, it is more similar than other models, which may speed up the process of bringing lab work to the bedside.” Hence this study is showing the direction for further work and finally a solution to those plagued with high blood pressure where diet may not be as effective.