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Cholesterol Education

September 28, 2017

CHOLESTEROL EDUCATION 9.28.17By Lauren Dimitrov, RDN, MPH, LDN

Did you know that September is National Cholesterol Education Month? It’s important to maintain your cholesterol levels because high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attack. Thankfully, with the help of your physician or registered dietitian, your diet and other lifestyle changes can help you reach and maintain your cholesterol goals.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your body and in many foods. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Our body naturally produces plenty of cholesterol, but many foods also contain it.

There are two kinds of cholesterol that travel through your bloodstream: LDL and HDL. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because too much can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because it works in unison with your liver to remove excess cholesterol from your body.

There are several lifestyle choices you can make to maintain healthy cholesterol levels:

Eat heart healthy foods

  • Incorporate healthy fats, leaner meats, low-fat dairy, and monounsaturated fats – found in olive and canola oils – into your diet.
  • Eliminate trans-fats, which increase LDL and lower HDL, from your diet. Trans-fats are common in processed foods and labeled as “partially-hydrogenated oils.” Look for this term on the ingredient’s list of products.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, walnuts, almonds, and flaxseed as these decrease triglycerides and reduce blood pressure.
  • Increase the amount of high fiber foods in your diet, such as oats, fruits, and vegetables, which helps lower LDL levels.

Exercise and be physically active most days of the week

  • Exercise improves cholesterol by raising your HDL levels. Exercising for just 10 minutes several times per day can help improve your cholesterol levels and maintain a healthy weight.
  • If you smoke – quit! Within just 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.

Sometimes healthy lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower cholesterol levels. If your doctor recommends medication to lower your cholesterol, take it as prescribed, but continue with your lifestyle changes. Everything you do to improve your health matters!

Take the “Crash” Out of Dieting

April 20, 2015

thumb-Alsaghir_YoussefWhat’s in your fridge? Spring is a great time to take a closer look at your diet and make sure you’re getting the right nutrients, but the foods you eat can also impact your heart health. In this Q&A, Dr. Al-Saghir helps you eat your way to cardiovascular health! Continue reading “Take the “Crash” Out of Dieting” »

Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Heart Healthy

March 6, 2015

exercise heart healthSpringtime in Florida means more sunshine, fresh air, and longer days – it’s the perfect time to kick-start your exercise routine after a long winter of staying indoors and indulging too much. Exercise is also good for your health; physical activity can improve your mood and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, five times a week.

Continue reading “Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Heart Healthy” »

Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Heart Healthy

exercise heart healthSpringtime in Florida means more sunshine, fresh air, and longer days – it’s the perfect time to kick-start your exercise routine after a long winter of staying indoors and indulging too much. Exercise is also good for your health; physical activity can improve your mood and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. For adults, the American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, five times a week.
Continue reading “Exercise Regularly to Keep Your Heart Healthy” »

Frequently Asked Patient Questions, Part 2: Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

January 14, 2015

In the second part of this series, we answer frequently asked questions from patients on blood pressure and cholesterol:

What is a healthy blood pressure?
A healthy blood pressure is less than 120/80. The first number is called systolic pressure and measures the pressure of the arteries when the heart is beating. The second number, referred to as diastolic pressure, is the pressure when the heart is resting between heartbeats.

Continue reading “Frequently Asked Patient Questions, Part 2: Blood Pressure and Cholesterol” »

Frequently Asked Patient Questions, Part 1: Risk Factors and Diet

January 6, 2015

fcciblog1Visiting the doctor can be a stressful experience;  leading up to the appointment, you may have questions or health concerns, but when the time comes you forget to bring them up.

Below, we’ve listed some of the questions we often hear from patients, on topics like cardiovascular disease, diet, and weight loss. See what our doctors and nurses have to say, and check back for the next blog post in this series.

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Frequently Asked Patient Questions, Part 1: Risk Factors and Diet” »

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