Heart disease is the number one cause of death of Americans in the United States. Cholesterol is one of the major factors that impacts the development of heart disease. Understanding more about what cholesterol is and how to manage your cholesterol can help you decrease your risk of facing the number one killer.

Cholesterol is a substance that is produced by your body. This means that it is non-essential because you do not need to rely on food to get cholesterol. Despite its bad press, cholesterol does serve a number of functions in the body. Cholesterol is necessary for maintaining the fluidity in the membranes of all of the cells in your body. It is also necessary in the body for producing vitamin D.

Just like humans, animals also produce their own cholesterol in their bodies for the same reasons. When you consume animal and meat products, you consume the cholesterol that exists in the tissues of these animals, whether it be pig, cow, lamb, chicken, eggs or fish.

According to the American Heart Association, those who have cholesterol levels higher than 240 mg/dl are at double the risk of having a heart attack as opposed to those who have cholesterol levels less than 200 mg/dl.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans previously suggested that you consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day. However, as of 2015 the United States Department of Agriculture revised the Dietary Guidelines that removed the limit on cholesterol. Instead, it suggests the “individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible.” That’s certainly something to chew on.

Unsurprisingly consumption of dietary cholesterol can add up fast. If you tally the cholesterol that you ingest from food, it can easily exceed 300mg/dl. Just to give you an idea, one egg yolk contains 184 mg or 61% of your daily value of cholesterol, one tablespoon of butter contains 30 mg of cholesterol or 10% of your daily value and three ounces of red meat contains 134 mg of cholesterol or 45% of your daily value.

Instead of worrying about what foods are raising your cholesterol, there are a few foods that you could incorporate into your life that will keep your cholesterol at a reasonable level. One place to start is by including healthy fats into your meals. Healthy fats come from foods like olive oil, nuts and avocados. These fats aren’t as difficult to digest in your GI tract. You could also cut out some cholesterol and saturated fats by substituting meat for soybeans or tofu.

Another way to lower your cholesterol is by consuming more fiber. Fiber found in foods like beans, vegetables, fruits and whole grains has a viscous, thick texture. This type of fiber binds to cholesterol and pulls it through your digestive tract and eliminates it through the feces.

Another factor to consider is your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids which means your body does not produce them. They are found in foods such as fatty fish and walnuts. These fatty acids play a prominent role in heart disease by lowering triglycerides and reducing your risk of a stroke. At least two servings of fish per week will up your omega-3 intake and can help you reduce your risk of developing heart complications.

No matter how you feel, it’s important to get your cholesterol levels checked on a consistent basis. Identifying a lipid problem is the first step in reducing your risk of developing deadly diseases like heart disease. Make some of these changes and you will enjoy a happier, healthier heart.

Author's Bio: 

Bonnie R. Giller helps chronic dieters and emotional eaters struggling to lose weight break free of the pain of dieting and get the healthy body they love. She does this by creating a tailored solution that combines three essential ingredients: a healthy mindset, caring support and nutrition education.

Using her signature Freedom to Eat Forever™ System, Bonnie helps her clients support and honor their mind and body. The result is they lose weight, keep it off without dieting and live a healthy life of guilt-free eating.

Bonnie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and has her Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition. She has worked in medical nutrition therapy and counseling for over 28 years.

Bonnie is very passionate about helping her clients regain the trust in themselves and their bodies so they can shift away from a diet mentality and learn to listen to their inner hunger and fullness signals. She is known for providing caring support and motivation as her clients reacquaint themselves with their inner wisdom.

To learn more about Bonnie and to get a copy of Bonnie’s free e-book “5 Steps to a Body You Love Without Dieting, visit www.DietFreeRadiantMe.com

To learn more about medical nutrition therapy services, visit http://BRGHealth.com