How important is Nutrition & Cholesterol? Ever Wondered How To Balance Your Cholesterol With The Right Nutrition?
It would be so easy if simply eating less dietary cholesterol meant lower blood levels of cholesterol. Unfortunately, the end result with this approach is often taking a statin drug to lower total cholesterol levels. How come this approach doesn’t work?
First, the amount of cholesterol in your blood comes from both the cholesterol in your food (dietary cholesterol) and cholesterol that your body makes (endogenous cholesterol). The amount of cholesterol absorbed from food varies between individuals, and the amount your body makes varies based on the amount in your diet. It is estimated that approximately 75-85% of the cholesterol in your body is made internally, and 15-25% comes from diet. Surprised? Cholesterol is so important for health that our bodies closely regulate the amount. Found primarily in cell membranes, cholesterol is also used to make steroid hormones, bile acid, and vitamin D.
Second, there are other dietary and lifestyle factors that impact cholesterol levels. Current guidance to lower cholesterol levels includes: reduce saturated fat intake to <7% of calories, limit dietary cholesterol toWhere to start? Here at Nutrition Balance, all of these guidelines can be met by increasing your daily fruit and vegetable intake and following a consistent exercise plan. One of the approaches that we use is a “Healthy Plate” approach with ½ of your plate vegetables, ¼ of your plate lean protein foods, and ¼ of your plate starches/grains, with mixed nuts for snacks. Aiming to eat this way the majority of the time will increase fiber, decrease saturated fat and cholesterol, and likely decrease your calorie intake and weight. Add in a brisk walk or more rigorous exercise 5 days a week and you may not only see lower LDL cholesterol numbers (“bad cholesterol”), but also an increase in HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).