Be aware of your cholesterol profile

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/12/2021 (293 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

People often ask me what they can do to lower their cholesterol levels.

Blood cholesterol is a waxy substance produced mostly by our liver and makes up 80 per cent of the cholesterol in your bloodstream. A small amount of cholesterol is absorbed from the foods we eat. Our bodies do require cholesterol but having too much can lead to problems such as plaque deposits in arteries.

There are two types of cholesterol. High density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as the “good” cholesterol that carries the bad cholesterol from your arteries to the liver for disposal. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol carries cholesterol from your liver to your body’s cells. If you have too much LDL cholesterol it can build up in your arteries and may lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Dreamstime.com Adding soluble fibre to your diet in the form of apples, for example, can help you reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

When looking at your cholesterol profile, you want to have more good than bad cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol is found in foods of animal origin, such as meats, eggs and dairy products. By contrast, plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables do not contain cholesterol.

To combat elevated cholesterol levels, especially LDL, what you eat and whether you exercise can have an impact. You want to aim to have less saturated fat (processed and fatty meats, processed foods and high fat dairy) and more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Choose poly or mono-unsaturated fats and oils such as canola or olive oils.

The one food I always recommend is ground flaxseed (aim for two tablespoons per day). It can be added to cereals, yogurt, beverages, salads, casseroles and more. Adding more soluble fibre to your diet can also help, such as oats, oat bran, apples, avocadoes, lentils and potatoes.

Cholesterol is also affected by age, family history, body weight, smoking, diabetes and physical activity. Regular physical activity can dramatically affect your lipid profile.

A strong family history of high blood lipids means that you will have to work extra to keep your values in check. If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, please check out the Dietitians of Canada website for resources.

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com

Lisa Lagasse

Lisa Lagasse
Charleswood community correspondent

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @LisaRD42324393

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