and triglycerides are both lipids (fats) found in the blood & other parts of
the body. They are important substances that are produced naturally by the body
and which are found naturally in food.
the blood levels of cholesterol & triglycerides are too high, fatty deposits
may accumulate on the walls of blood vessels. Eventually a blockage may occur
cutting off circulation to a part of the body. This could lead to a heart attack
if the blockage is in the vessels of the heart or a stroke, if the blockage
occurs in the vessels leading to the brain.
must be carried in the blood by
substances called lipoproteins. Two
of the lipoproteins that will be measured by your doctor are LDL and HDL. These
along with triglycerides will make up most of the
Many people have too much LDL cholesterol circulating in their blood.
This excess cholesterol can be deposited on the walls of the arteries, along
with other substances forming atherosclerotic plaques. This can block the flow
of blood and oxygen and may lead to heart attack and stroke. This is the reason
LDL is often called the bad
A high level of LDL cholesterol means an increased risk of heart attack..
role of HDL is to pick up cholesterol from the arteries and tissues and carry it
back to the liver, where it can be eliminated from the body. HDL is known as good cholesterol because a high level of HDL is associated with a low
risk of heart attack. Weight loss, quitting smoking, and increasing aerobic
exercise are the best ways to raise the level of HDL cholesterol.
with high cholesterol usually have no obvious symptoms, but it can be detected
easily with a blood test. Ideal
cholesterol levels for People with Heart Disease are:
The goal is to keep your total cholesterol count as low as possible;
decreasing Triglyceride & LDL levels and increasing the HDL.
What can I do about Cholesterol?
cholesterol will not go away on its own (nor will the danger of heart attack or
stroke). For control & treatment there are guidelines that will help you.
Reduce Saturated Fat (found in animal products, tropical
oils, Hydrogenated Fats)
Increase Fibre (found in grains, legumes and fruits and
2) Maintain Ideal Body Weight
frequently your cholesterol count
will come down as you lose weight
Exercise helps raise HDL and helps lower triglycerides
There are a number of genetic factors which regulate cholesterol levels and for
some people, a cholesterol lowering diet is not enough to bring blood
cholesterol levels down to low risk values. That is why your doctor may
prescribe a medication to regulate the lipid carriers LDL & the lipid
that medication is meant to work with diet & exercise, not in place of them.
What foods you eat at home
primarily depends on what foods you buy at the grocery store. Buying foods that
are low in fat and cholesterol is the first step in following the heart healthy
diet. Reading and understanding
food labels is also important when you are shopping. However, this can be a
difficult task. There are three major points to look for when you read labels:
claim on the package
nutrition information table
The real meaning of labels you may see:
Light or lite
Be very careful when you see a product labeled light or lite. This does
not necessarily mean lower in fat or calories. It could mean less salt or
lighter in taste or colour. Read the label carefully and look for information on
calories and type and quantity of fat in the product.
There are claims of moderate, high and very high sources of fibre on
various products. Some cereals cookies and
bread carry such claims, but these products may also be high in calories,
sugar and fat. Look at the ingredient list
for the presence of saturated or hydrogenated fat. Do not buy a product based on
one claim only, look at the overall information.
fat content, particularly the saturated fat content is more important then
cholesterol. Some of these no cholesterol foods,
like potato chips, are in fact loaded with fat .Saturated fat is found in foods
from animal and vegetable sources.
with the least saturated fat are recommended for a healthy diet.
Read the nutritional information and the ingredient list to make a
decision on the product.
2. Nutrition Information Labeling
In Canada this is voluntary, except when a specific claim
is made on the product. In this case there are regulations regarding the
specific nutritional information that appears on the label.
A claim about fat or cholesterol must be accompanied by
the following nutritional information:
Ingredients are listed in the order
of their amount. The first is the largest, the last is the smallest. Fats should
be listed as the third ingredient or farther down the list. Check the label for
this. Avoid products containing the following fats unless they
are listed below the third
ingredient on the label:
choosing restaurants and ordering
meals, keep in mind your new
lifestyle you have adopted in regards to the heart healthy diet.
meat fish or chicken portions to 4-6 ounces
that sauces or salad dressings be served on the side so that you can control how
much of them you eat
WORDS TO CHOOSE
(with lemon or wine)
WORDS TO AVOID
its own gravy
staff are there to serve you
and should be willing to accommodate your needs. Most restaurants have several low fat selections on their menu, if not,
ask for your meal without the fat or the cream.