Banking on the fact that your cholesterol levels are normal in your 20s, 30s & even 40s ?? If you are not keeping up with heart-healthy lifestyle you will see it in your cholesterol levels later.. that’s a fact!!

Have you just left your doctors rooms diagnosed with borderline cholesterol levels…..young and otherwise healthy?
You probably don’t think too much about your cholesterol?
Just a wax build up… but interestingly more than 12 % of adults over the age of 20 have high cholesterol (levels greater than 5..5 moll/L. (1)

Typically considered an older man’s problem, but reality is,  its happening a lot earlier than we think 20s, 30s, 40s  — especially if there are more risk factors, overweight, family history!


A quick lesson:
There are 2 kinds cholesterol, the good 1. HDL and the 2. bad LDL. The bad type is the mix of cholesterol and fat building up in the arteries causing clogging narrowing and leading to stroke. The good is like the clean up team getting rid of the bad cholesterol.

What’s even more important at an early age and a blood test doctors will regularly check are 3. triglycérides, the 3rd fat. This type of fat can put you at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.


What Causes High Cholesterol?
You may be the 0.5% that may be unlucky and inherit the gene but mostly it is lifestyle..

1. Diet
Diet is the main foundation in lowering cholesterol levels and underestimated in its role. Needless to say that you need to limit saturated fats… processed meats, butter, fried foods, cream..  BUT…
As fad diets have been all the rage, research suggests that most kinds of animal protein increase cholesterol……… no surprise!!  People may see an initial drop in cholesterol after such high fat and high protein diets but don’t realise that any initial drop in cholesterol is because of the weight loss… but over time because of high saturated fats, cholesterol levels go up.

In a study, people of ages 21 and 65 ate either red meat, white meat or plant protein (such as beans and nuts) for four weeks, they observed that only those in the plant protein group showed reductions in blood cholesterol, according to a recent study. (2)
Not sure how to start cutting down on meat? That’s how we can help:
We aim for 5 to 6 % of our calories from Saturated fats. High cholesterol foods do raise cholesterol levels somewhat like eggs and shellfish but it’s the animal fats that make the most impact.
Going for the good fats help lower the LDL and triglycerides… whilst the omega 3s through eating fatty fish such as tuna, sardines and salmon at least twice per week…. other good sources include olive oil, nuts and seeds.

How can you aggressively decrease your cholesterol? Add a lot more fiber in your diet is the answer! The good carbs that is, with fiber over not-so-great ones, the processed ones that is with the added sugar. Many client cases have decreased their LDL cholesterol but following this approach…. Reach out to know how!
Eating more plants, Plant-based proteins aren’t just low in saturated fat, but they’re also rich in other nutrients that help promote healthy cholesterol, such as fiber and antioxidants… so much more bang for your buck..

2. Lose a little
That extra little bit particularly around the belly, can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides and lower good cholesterol (HDL).
Just a little body fat loss makes a huge difference, 5 to 10% of a loss has shown to reduce both LDL levels and triglycerides. Also, worth noting, though, that greater weight loss was associated with even greater cholesterol improvements.

3. Move a little
While being a couch potato can affect your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, it may be a little more important in the role of HDL….remember: HDL is the good cholesterol that can help lower LDL, the bad guy.

There isn’t such a magic food to increase the good HDL, but one thing we know is that it exercise helps, and therefore “kills two birds with one stone”. In fact those who exercise 30 to 60 min a day had a higher good cholesterol HDL than others showed a 2016 research study. (2)

4. Boozing It Up a little too much and time to lighten up on the ciggis
You may not like the next paragraph but let’s have a think how to improve this area… Lighting up a cigarette raises LDL levels and lowers HDL levels to begin with, not easy…..
You may be holding on to the positive benefits of the meditteranean, you may have also heard that a glass (or two, or three) of red wine is good for your heart, but the key here is controlling the amount, and falling into the alcohol trap. Keeping to ½ to 1 drinks a day for women and 1-2 standard drinks for men, this levels was found that moderate drinking — a half to a full drink a day for women and one to two drinks daily for men — was associated with a drop in HDL levels.
So if you can introduce a lot more low alcohol days than less.

What to do from here? 

  1. Get serious about change; See your GP if you need that extra help.
  2. Increase those plants options the right way; Fibre and plants the healthy way;
  3.  Get the help to do this before the risk of borderline becomes high;
  4. See our range to start; or seek advice from a qualified dietitian. I am here to help…

 


1. Nathalie Bergeron,  Sally Chiu,  Paul T Williams,  Sarah M King,  Ronald M Krauss
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 110, Issue 1, July 2019, Pages 24–33,  Published:04 June 2019
2. Lipids Health Dis. 2015; 14: 87.
Published online 2015 Aug 1. Physical activity, sedentary behavior time and lipid levels in the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Luxembourg study

VICKY GOMEZ
Qualified Dietitian and Nutritionist
MASTERS IN NUTRITION/DIETETICS
MND.  BSC. CERT IN FODMAPS/IBS
PEADIATRIC & SPORTS NUTRITION
DIRECTOR HEALTHY EMPIRE GOODS
Follow me on Instagram @vickyhealthyempire