Lower bad cholesterol in your arteries
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – If you’re at risk for heart disease or you just want to keep your heart healthy, you’ve probably been told to “watch your cholesterol”.
The type of cholesterol that puts you at risk for plaque-lined arteries is LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and diet plays an important role. Health expert, Karen Owoc, has tips on how to keep your arteries from getting clogged.
Karen says plaque is a fatty, waxy substance made up of materials, such as fat, cholesterol & calcium. When plaque clogs your arteries, it can partially or totally block blood flow through any of your arteries, such as your pelvis, legs, arms, or kidneys — not just your heart and brain.
What is LDL?
The cholesterol that makes up plaque and builds up on the walls of your blood vessels is LDL or “low-density lipoprotein”. Too much LDL circulating in your blood increases your risk of a heart attack and stroke, so it’s known as the “bad cholesterol.”
Risk Factors for High Levels of LDL include
Lack of exercise
Foods that raise your LDL are ones high in:
Saturated fat (such as from red meat and full-fat dairy products)
Trans fats (from commercially baked cookies and crackers, canned biscuits and doughs, non-dairy creamers, deep fried food, microwave popcorn)
Foods that Lower “Bad Cholesterol”
You can lower your numbers by adding more fiber to your diet, in particular, beta-glucan (pronounced “glue-can”).
Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber — a “cholesterol sponge”. It soaks up LDLs in your intestines and gets rid of them with other waste. Beta-glucan is found in:
Whole oat flour
Oatmeal (the inner part of the oat grout)
Oat bran (the outer husk of the oat grout)
3 grams/day of oat or barley beta-glucan can lower LDL by 5% to 8%.
Oat beta-glucan soluble fiber can also be added to beverages/liquids (smoothies, yogurt drinks, juice drinks), yogurt, soups, sauces, and dressings.
The Takeaway: High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, but you can lower your risk by including certain foods into your daily eating plan. Lifestyle and diet changes are the main ways to prevent or lower LDL numbers.