When you visit the doctor and he tells you your cholesterol level, you typically are advised your TOTAL blood cholesterol level. Ever thought about how cholesterol gets into your bloodstream? The body’s liver makes the majority of the cholesterol it requires – yes, NEEDS. Some cholesterol is absorbed from the food you consume.

Why does the body NEED cholesterol?

The body needs cholesterol to make several important hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. Additionally, cholesterol is part of the protective covering that surrounds nerves and other cell membranes.

Why is having a high blood glucose level poor?

Elevated cholesterol levels are associated with heart disease. For a better evaluation of your risk of cardiovascular disease, it’s important to know not just your total cholesterol but also your HDL. The entire cholesterol contains HDL (high-density lipoprotein), LDL (low-density lipoprotein), and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein). LDL is the bad guy. HDL is the good man. Why? LDL cholesterol sticks to the walls of your blood vessels and can lead to blockage. VLDL is the precursor to LDL cholesterol. HDL goes around in the blood stream, collects bad cholesterol, and carries it back to the liver where it’s broken down.

What’s considered a healthy level in the blood?

It’s desirable to maintain total cholesterol levels below 200mg/dl. Values above 240 mg/dl are considered significantly elevated. If you know your LDL value, it’s desirable to have this sort of cholesterol below 130 mg/dl. Values for LDL over 160 are considered significantly elevated. Because HDL is the good man, you need this level high. Values below 35 mg/dl are a HIGH risk indicator for heart disease. It’s more desirable to have HDL levels near 50 mg/dl or greater.

The Total Cholesterol:HDL Ratio is a great indicator of risk. To compute this important ratio, divide your Total cholesterol worth by your HDL value. The HIGHER the ratio, the GREATER the chance of cardiovascular disease. For example: Total = 240 mg/dl HDL = 30 mg/dl Ratio = 240/30 = 8.0 *This is a high risk ratio.

      • IDEAL RATIO FOR MEN IS LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO 4.0.
      • IDEAL RATIO FOR WOMEN IS LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO 3.5.

What’s cholesterol?

It’s a waxy, fat-like material.

What foods contain cholesterol?

Foods of animal origin are the ONLY foods that contain cholesterol. Foods of plant origin, even those naturally containing fat, DO NOT contain cholesterol.

Cholesterol in food:There are a variety of variables that affect your blood glucose level. One variable, is that a diet high in dietary cholesterol. Moderation is suggested to keep cholesterol levels in check. It is recommend that you consume 300 milligrams of cholesterol or less daily.

As mentioned previously, foods of animal origin are the ONLY foods that contain cholesterol. Foods of plant origin, even those naturally containing fat, DO NOT contain cholesterol. Are certain foods of animal origin higher in cholesterol than others? Yes.

Not many folks like eating organ meats, such as liver. If you’re a person who does, you should know that organ meats are high in cholesterol, 270 milligrams per 3-ounce functioning of liver. While liver is healthy, if you’re at risk for heart disease then you will need to limit your intake.

Egg yolks have gotten a bad rap in the past. Why? It’s because egg yolks are high in cholesterol, 215 mg per yolk. The yolk is definitely healthy, its objective is to supply nourishment for a chick embryo to develop. Unfortunately, it contains too much cholesterol to consume it as you please. You should limit the amount of yolks you consume to 3 or less per week. What about the whites? Eat as many whites as you like. The white section of an egg has no cholesterol and is a rich, complete source of protein.

To limit the amount of egg yolks, you can substitute 2 egg whites for one whole egg when baking. For instance, a recipe calls for two eggs. You can either use 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites OR 4 egg whites. By doing this simple substitution, you may reduce the cholesterol content. Another choice is to use an egg substitute, check tag for egg equal.

In terms of meats, start looking for thinner cuts of beef, fish, and poultry. Cut away excess fat before cooking. Choose low-fat dairy products. By following these steps, you won’t be able to remove all of the cholesterol but you’re taking significant steps towards healthy eating.

Quiz question!

Nuts are high in fat, 80-89percent of calories coming from fat. Do they contain cholesterol?
A: No. Nuts are from plant source therefore they contain NO cholesterol.

Do not assume that dishes that contain vegetables or grains are cholesterol free. Vegetables and grains begin off cholesterol free BUT most recipes include egg yolk, milk, meat, or butter. The cholesterol content depends upon the recipe components as a whole.

Effects of Saturated Fat

If you have cardiovascular disease or have a family history of cardiovascular disease, it’s likely your physician has asked you to follow a diet low in cholesterol and fat. The fat to observe is saturated fat. Saturated fat INCREASES the amount of”bad” LDL cholesterol in your blood. This is why it’s so important to look closely at the quantity of saturated fat that’s in your diet.

You don’t have to prevent all fats. Unsaturated fats actually reduce LDL cholesterol levels. “Unsaturated fats” contains polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fat is considered better than polyunsaturated fat. Why? Besides reducing the”bad” LDL cholesterol, polyunsaturated fat lowers the”good” HDL cholesterol. As mentioned above, HDL is beneficial since it hastens LDL and brings it back to the liver where the LDL is broken down. Monounsaturated fat leaves the beneficial HDL cholesterol intact.

      • Sources of Polyunsaturated Fat: Milho Oil, Girassol Seed Oil, Safflower Oil, Soybean Oil
      • Sources of Monounsaturated Fat: Azeitona Oil, Canola Oil, Amendoim Petróleo

The primary sources of saturated fat are from foods from animal origin and a few from plants. Animal foods which are high in saturated fat include beef, veal, lamb, pork, butter, cream, milk (whole and 2%), cheese, and other dairy products made from whole milk. Plant foods which are high include coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, and cocoa butter. Check food labels to determine which kind of fat or oil was used in manufacturing.

Cooking Tips

To reduce saturated fat in meat

      • Use a rack to drain the fat off when broiling, roasting, or baking. Rather than basting with drippings, keep meat moist with wine, fruit juices or an acceptable oil-based marinade.
      • Cook a day beforehand. Stews, boiled beef, soup stock or other dishes where fat eaters to the liquid could be refrigerated. Then the hardened fat can be removed from the top.
      • Make gravies after the fat has hardened and can be removed from the liquid.
      • Broil as opposed to pan-fry meats like hamburger, lamb chops, pork chops, and steak.
      • When a recipe calls for browning the meat , consider browning it under the broiler instead of in a pan.
      • Avoid adding margarine or butter to vegetables when cooking. Instead use spices and herbs for flavor