5 Myths Concerning High Cholesterol
Do You Have High Cholesterol?
This waxy substance known as “cholesterol” can be found in the lipids (fats) located in the blood stream. The human body needs this cholesterol so that it can continue to form new healthy cells. The problem is that our bodies can produce the cholesterol it needs to form cells, so we are actually consuming extra cholesterol from the food we eat. Within reason, the extra cholesterol shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, some people may accumulate too much cholesterol, and then it can start to build up in the arteries. The term for this is atherosclerosis, which is a hardening of the arteries. Eventually it can get to the point where there just isn’t enough blood getting pumped through. When the heart isn’t getting the oxygen-rich blood that it needs, this dramatically increases the chance of a heart attack. Also there is an increased risk of a stroke when the brain isn’t getting enough blood either. A smooth supply of blood is an essential piece of the puzzle, and without it, the whole thing can suddenly come apart.
High Cholesterol Myths………..and the Facts!
High Rate of Cholesterol in the US
If you were to look at the rates of obesity in this country, you could assuredly say that we are a country that you could use some slimming down. Recent estimates show that about 35.7% of the adults in this country could be considered obese, that is roughly one-third of the population! On the other hand, we are fairly average when it comes to our cholesterol levels. In a survey taken by the World Health Organization, both American men and women had an average cholesterol level of 197 mg/dL. This number turns out to be just under the borderline high-risk levels. American men ranked 83rd in the world and American women ranked 81st.
All High Cholesterol Foods are Bad
Many people can get caught up in avoiding anything that could potentially have cholesterol. The fact is that a number of high cholesterol foods can have a part in a healthy diet. What researchers are finding is that saturated fat is the primary contributor to instances of high cholesterol. In fact, many of the high cholesterol foods that were once considered “bad” don’t contribute to high cholesterol for the majority. Takes eggs for example, which have about 200 mg of dietary cholesterol. This is a significant proportion of what is suggested for the entire day. Fortunately, research has shown that dietary cholesterol is not as bad as it was once thought to be. If eaten in moderation, your body can easily compensate by producing lower levels of cholesterol. Eggs are also contain unsaturated fat and are a good source of protein.
Peanut Butter and Avocados are both High Cholesterol Food Items
Looking at a bowl of peanut butter or avocado, it is not surprising that many people assume that these foods are high in cholesterol. While it is true that both of peanut butter and avocados are high in fat, they are both “plant foods”. The only food items that naturally contain cholesterol are products of animals. Just to re-hash, plants don’t produce any cholesterol, while animals produce cholesterol in their bodies. Believe it or not, both peanut butter and avocados can be helpful reducing the risk of high cholesterol! Yes, you read that correctly, they can actually “help prevent” high cholesterol! This because both of them contain a good amount of monounsaturated fat, which has been found to be quite good for you. Avocados are also low in sodium, which is good for our cholesterol levels.
Kids Aren’t at Risk
As shocking as it sounds, even kids can be at risk of developing high cholesterol levels in their arteries. Current research has shown that atherosclerosis can start in a child as early as age 8! It is now recommended that children who experience the signs of high cholesterol, are overweight, have hypertension, or have a history of heart disease in their family get there cholesterol levels checked. Children who have high cholesterol need to be put on a diet that restricts the amounts of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol consumed daily.
With Exercise and Good Diet, There is No Chance of High Cholesterol
People don’t just develop high cholesterol because of a lack of exercise or a bad overall diet. Research has shown that there are other factors at play here, and these can be quite influential. In all honesty, there are people who have been able to maintain very healthy and fit, but they still need to take cholesterol medication. Well how can this be? If you remember back to earlier, our body produces its own cholesterol in order to form new healthy cells. Well for some people, their body might produce more cholesterol than it can handle. So unfortunately for some, diet and exercise alone may not be enough to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.