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Managing your Cholesterol

Date Added: October 03, 2013 08:15:46 PM



WHAT IS CHOLESTEROL?

Cholesterol is a white waxy substance found in every cell of our bodies.

It comes from

• The liver – our body makes most of it from the fat we eat  in food

• A little from our diet (e.g. naturally occurring  in animal  foods)

We need it to

• Form cell walls

• Make certain hormones and vitamins

• Help digest fat

 

Cholesterol plays a vital role in the day-to-day functioning of your body. However, too much cholesterol can affect your heart health.

Cholesterol travels around the bloodstream in special carriers:

• LDL-cholesterol – ‘bad’ cholesterol

• HDL-cholesterol – ‘good’ cholesterol

Most cholesterol is made in the liver and a small amount comes from the diet. Too much ‘bad’ fat (saturated and trans fat) is not good  for cholesterol. Replacing  ‘bad’  fats with ‘good’  fats (polyunsaturated and  monounsaturated) can  help manage cholesterol

Recommended Cholesterol Levels The Heart Foundation  of New  Zealand recommends that for individuals,  total cholesterol should ideally be less than 4.0  mmol/L.1

1.  The New  Zealand Guidelines  Group, the National Heart Foundation  of New  Zealand and  the Stroke Foundation  of New  Zealand. The assessment  and  management of cardiovascular risk: Evidence-based best practice guideline. New Zealand Guidelines Group, December 

2003.

 

CHOLESTEROL AND BEING HEART HEALTHY

Cholesterol only becomes a problem when there is more than your body needs. It can cause the build up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels, reducing blood flow, and may then become a problem for your heart health. Other risk  factors that affect your heart health are:

• Age and  gender

• If you smoke

• Blood pressure

• Blood sugar

• If you have a family history

of premature heart  problems

• Ethnicity

Health care  professionals can  calculate  the likelihood of you having  heart  problems  within the next 10  years  by taking these factors into account. See your health  care professional  for more information.

How can I manage my cholesterol?

• Eat a heart  healthy  diet

• Keep active

• Be the right weight and shape.

See our heart healthy eating tips section.

 

DID YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE ‘GOOD’ AND ‘BAD’ FATS?

Not all  fat  is  ‘bad’ and we need some fat:

• Because it is an important source of energy

• To supply essential fats which cannot be made  by the body

• To help absorb fat-soluble vitamins

• To add  taste and  flavour to our food

Unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) are  called  ‘good’  fats because they can help cholesterol.

Saturated fats and trans fats are called ‘bad’ fats as they are not good for cholesterol.

You need  to eat less of the ‘bad’  fats and replace them with more ‘good’  fats to help keep  your heart  healthy.

 

PLANT STEROLS

Plant sterols naturally occur in small quantities in vegetable  oils, nuts, seeds,  grain products, fruit and vegetables.  Plant sterols are an active ingredient clinically proven to significantly reduce cholesterol absorption from food. They also prevent the reabsorption of cholesterol within the body. Eating 2g of plant sterols daily can reduce cholesterol absorption by up to 10-15% when also moving to a healthy diet.

 

 

TYPE OF FAT

EFFECT ON YOUR HEART

EXAMPLES OF FOOD  SOURCES

Saturated 

BAD

Fatty meat,  chicken skin, butter, full-fat dairy,  biscuits and pastries,  tropical  oils

Trans

BAD

Cakes, pastries, some 

deep-fried  fast foods

Polyunsaturated  

-  Omega-6

GOOD

Sunflower seeds and  oil, soybean oil, walnuts, fish, margarine spreads

- Omega-3 

GOOD

Oily fish, soybean 

oil, canola oil, 

linseed (flaxseed) oil, 

walnuts

Monounsaturated

GOOD

Olive oil and  olive oil based spreads, peanut oil, avocado, peanuts

 

HEART HEALTHY EATING TIPS:

 

• Enjoy a wide  variety of nutritious foods every day.  Occasional treats can  be incorporated into your menu in sensible amounts. 

• Eat smaller portions from smaller plates and avoid  second  helpings.

• Aim to eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables per day.

• Choose wholegrain varieties of cereal, bread, rice, pasta and  noodles  where  possible.

• Select reduced fat yoghurts, milks, cheeses and  other dairy  foods.

• Choose lean cuts of meat and trim visible fat. 

• Aim for two to three servings of oily fish (~150g/serve) per week (e.g.  fresh or canned tuna,  salmon  or sardines).

• Swap butter for a healthier spread higher in ‘good’ polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and  lower in ‘bad’  saturated and  trans fats.

• Cut down on salt. Use herbs and spices to add flavour to your food instead. Choose foods with the Heart Foundation Tick where possible. 

• Enjoy home cooked food as often as possible rather  than relying too much on fast food.

• If cholesterol  is a problem  for you, choose foods enriched  with plant sterols e.g.   Flora pro-activ. Plant sterolsare clinically proven to actively lower cholesterol  absorption.

 

HEART HEALTHY LIFESTYLE TIPS

 

• Avoid smoking.

• If you drink alcohol,  have  no more than two standard drinks on any day,  and  some alcohol free days  each  week.  Drink plenty of water every day.

• Get active! About 30  minutes of ‘moderate- intensity’ activity like brisk walking  on most days is recommended. Choose  something  you enjoy and  be realistic.

• Achieve and  maintain  a healthy  weight.

• Learn simple techniques to control your stress and  take time to relax.

 

 

PLANNING FOR CHANGE

 

Whilst reading this information you may have found things that you feel you could change – why not record  them here ? Try to make just one small change at a time.

 

I will…..

1.

2.
3.

 

The best time to get started and enjoy our heart health lifestyle is RIGHT NOW.

Contact your doctor, dietitian or practice nurse for more information and  specialised advice.

 

For more information on heart healthy eating, please visit http://www.floraspread.co.nz/