We all know that having a low cholesterol level is important, we hear about it all the time in health magazines, from our physicians, family, even television commercials. However, do you really understand what the talk about cholesterol is all about? Here are a few quick facts to help you on your way to a better understanding of cholesterol:
What Is Cholesterol According To The American Heart Association?
* Soft, fat-like, waxy-substance found in bloodstream & body cells
* Used to produce cell membranes & some hormones
* 75% of cholesterol is produced by your liver and cells
* 25% of cholesterol comes from foods we eat
Knowing what your Cholesterol level means is important. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) recommends the following guidelines:
Total Cholesterol (LDL + DHL + Triglycerides)
200 mg/dL – Less Than
200 – 239 mg/dL
240 mg/dL or above
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL “bad”)
100 mg/dL – Below
130 – 159 mg/dL
160 mg/dL or above
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL “good”)
60 mg/dL and above
40 mg/dL – Less Than (men)
50 mg/dL – Less Than (women)
150 mg/dL – Below
200 mg/dL and Above
What Can Happen When LDL Cholesterol Is High?
Increased Chance Of Stroke:
Can produce atypical amounts of chemical that causes spasms in carotid artery in neck. Spasms can interrupt blood flow to brain causing stroke.
Increased chance of developing coronary heart disease:
Can increase number of plaque (fatty deposits) clogging the walls of coronary your arteries. A build-up of plaque can restrict blood supply to heart causing a heart attack.
What Can I Do To Lower My Cholesterol?
* Lower Fat Intake
* Maintain A Healthy Weight
* Exercise * Stop Smoking
* Reduce Your Stress Level: (Stop, take a breath and relax for a minute!)
Spinach Salad With Dried Cranberries And Walnuts
1 tbsp. all-fruit raspberry jam / 1-½ tbsp. white wine vinegar / 1 ½ tbsp. vegetable oil**
1-100 calorie pack dried cranberries
4 cups torn and washed spinach leaves
¼ cup unsalted chopped walnuts
Puree raspberry jam with oil until mixed thoroughly.
Combine spinach with jam/oil mixture, ½ of walnuts and ½ of dried cranberries.
Place in bowl and top with remainder of walnuts and dried cranberries.
Add grilled chicken breast cut into strips
* You can purchase salad dressing instead of making your own. Look for one that’s low-calorie & low fat. For example:
Ken’s Steak House “Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette” (6g fat / 80 Calories)
Maple Grove Farms of Vermont “Strawberry Balsamic” (0g fat / 30 Calories)
** Use any oil (corn, canola, olive, safflower, sunflower, etc) as long as it contains no more than 2 grams saturated/tablespoon.