Butter is not back: Limiting saturated fat still best for heart health

Butter is not back Limiting saturated fat still best for heart health
Photo: Jessica Merz/Creative Commons

Boston, MA ─ People who replace saturated fat (mainly found in meats and dairy foods) in their diets with refined carbohydrates do not lower their risk of heart disease, according to a new study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. On the other hand, those who replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats (found in vegetable oils and nuts) or whole grains lower their heart disease risk. Continue reading “Butter is not back: Limiting saturated fat still best for heart health”

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Understanding Cholesterol

Eat fish. Fight cholesterol.

Cholesterol comes in two most common types, the LDL and the HDL. LDL is considered the bad cholesterol because it can clog arteries that carry blood away from the heart. HDL is considered the good cholesterol. This cholesterol helps in clearing fats in the body. High level of HDL in the body protects heart attacks. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. Having high triglycerides and LDL, the risk of having heart attacks is very high.
Cholesterol is a type of lipid fat found in the blood. The body makes all the cholesterol because cells in the body need it, although it can also be obtain from eating foods. Too much LDL or bad cholesterol in the body significantly helps in clogging the arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart. Build-up of cholesterol in the arteries narrows the arteries which ultimately make it harder for the blood to flow through the arteries; therefore it reduces the amount of blood that helps in the functioning of the body tissues particularly the heart. When it happens, it can always lead to serious troubles including stroke and fatal heart attacks. Cholesterol is measured by blood test of which a level 240 or above is considered high, 200-239 is borderline-high and 200 or less is the best.
Having high cholesterol level doesn’t make anybody sick. So it is very important to see a health practitioner every now and then for diagnostic treatment because by the time you may find it, it may already be clogging your arteries. Cholesterol starts to rise by the age of 20 onwards.
There are many causes of acquiring high cholesterol. Mainly it came from the foods eaten particularly saturated fats, trans fat or with other foods with high cholesterol contents. The most common food to acquire saturated fats comes from animals such meats, whole milk, butter, cheese, etc. Trans fat comes from packaged snack foods such as crackers, chips, cookies, etc.
Anybody who has high level of LDL cholesterol has high probability of heart attack. Immediate treatment is very advisable to lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. Most often the treatments greatly involve lifestyle changes and medicines. Lifestyle change is a very important facet of the treatment for everyone with high level of cholesterol. For one, eat healthy, heart-friendly foods such as fruits, vegetables, fish, beans, healthy fats like olive oil and foods with high fiber contents. Getting regular exercise for at least 3-4 days a week for 30 minutes at a time is very much advisable.
It is very hard to change old habits, but it is very important in helping you live a healthier, well-rounded and longer life. The change is now!