It’s September and September is National Cholesterol Education Month. Controlling cholesterol levels is a key component to reducing heart disease risk. When is the last time you had your cholesterol level checked? Although it is important to know your total cholesterol level, it is even more important to know your entire lipid profile. A lipid profile will give you the amount of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol & triglyceride levels in your blood. LDL cholesterol is known as the BAD cholesterol because it is responsible for sticking to artery walls & causing blockages. HDL is known as the GOOD cholesterol because it helps to remove LDL cholesterol. Triglycerides are a storage form of fat that usually comes from excess calorie intake or lack of exercise. For better health, you want to increase levels of HDL while decreasing levels of LDL & Triglycerides.
Current recommendations for lipid levels are for total cholesterol to be less than 200, LDL less than 100 (less than 80 if you have diabetes), HDL greater than 45, & triglycerides less than 150.
If you are unsure of your lipid levels, speak to your doctor about ordering a lipid profile for you. Your doctor may also have more specific cholesterol goals than those just mentioned.
In the meantime, eat more fruits, vegetables and monounsaturated fats and less trans and saturated fats. It’s also important to exercise daily. These changes can help you better control cholesterol levels & reach your health goals.
It’s your Health, It’s your Life. Make that Change!
Every day there seems to be a new study published about the next “superfood” that can cure disease or a past food that has been taken off the super foods list because it didn’t live up to previous expectations. We continue to search for perfection or magic compounds in foods or supplements to help us open a doorway to vibrant health and everlasting youth. Billions have been spent on vitamins, supplements or herbal “remedies” because advertisers have told us that they hold the key to a healthy life. But, has all the money that has been spent on diet foods or natural supplements made us healthier? By the looks of it, the answer is no. Obesity rates continue to climb. The incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is skyrocketing. The unfortunate result of obesity and diabetes is often heart disease, hypertension and/or kidney disease.
As Registered Dietitians, we often hear the response, “It costs too much to eat healthy”. It may cost a bit more now, but it’s much less expensive than cardiac bypass surgery or medication for diabetes, high cholesterol or blood pressure. Many people do not hesitate to spend money on nutritional supplements but are reluctant to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Remember that Nature’s perfect supplement cannot be found in a capsule or tablet. Fruits, vegetables and nuts grow on trees or in the ground. Their health benefits are tremendous and cannot be bottled. More fruits, more vegetables equals more chance for a healthier you!
This should be an interesting week. I will be traveling to Florence, Alabama for a 240 mile bike ride to Nashville, Tennessee! I am participating in the first Tour DaVita. The tour is to raise money for the Kidney Trust Fund. The Fund is used to increase knowledge and awareness of kidney disease. Over 200 riders will participate in this event. It is a worthy cause. I have never ridden such long distances, so this should be a learning experience. Stay Tuned!