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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Omega 3's - How Much to Lower Cholesterol?

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Omega 3's - How Much to Lower Cholesterol?

Increasing the amount of omega-3 fats in our diet and decreasing the amount of omega-6 is beneficial in reducing your risk for heart disease. Most American's consume a high omega-6 diet, with omega 3 being a common deficiency. Omega 3 deficiencies and the imbalance between omega 3 and omega 6 intakes have been linked with serious conditions, including heart attacks. Successfully maintaining a ratio of 4:1 to 1:1 omega 6 to omega 3 will help lower cholesterol levels and control high blood pressure.

How much omega 3 do you need to add?

This is under debate and more research is being done. Right now the range experts recommend is from 500-2000 mg/day. Here are the current American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations.

The AHA recommends that individuals without heart disease eat a variety of fish twice a week, use heart healthy oils (flaxseed, canola, soybean oils), and consume flaxseed and walnuts.

For individuals with heart disease, the AHA recommends 1 g of EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) + DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily, preferably from fatty fish.

The AHA recommends 2 to 4 g of EPA + DHA daily, under physician's care only, for individuals that need to lower triglycerides. High doses, > 3 grams/day, can result in excessive bleeding. (Do not self medicate! Talk to your MD before supplementing greater than 2 grams.)

Omega 3 Content of Different Foods

Wild Salmon, 4 oz. 1700 mg (DHA 700 mg, EPA 400 mg)

Tuna canned in water, 4 oz. 300 mg (DHA 200 mg, EPA 50 mg)

Cod, 4 oz. 600 mg (DHA 160 mg, EPA 50 mg)

Flaxseed, 1 Tbsp. 1000 mg (ALA - alpha-linolenic acid - 1000 mg)

Soybeans, dried, cooked ½ cup 500 mg (DHA/EPA 250 mg, ALA 250 mg)

Walnuts, 1 oz. 2570 mg (ALA 2570 mg)

Pecans, 1 oz. 280 mg (ALA 280 mg)

Wheat germ, ¼ cup 210 mg (ALA 210 mg)

Canola oil, 1 Tbsp 1300 mg (ALA 1300 mg)

Olive oil, 1 Tbsp 100 mg (ALA 100 mg)

There's a reason I included details on amounts of DHA, EPA, and ALA for each omega 3 source. Right now, DHA and EPA have a greater link with lower cholesterol levels, lower triglycerides, and higher HDL levels than ALA. The body is able to convert ALA to EPA and DHA, but the conversion rate is low; therefore, it is best to include high DHA and EPA sources in your eating plan.

My recommendation:

As a preventive measure and to promote lower cholesterol and blood pressure control, I recommend eating fish twice a week, select a supplement that will provide you at least 1000 mg of omega 3 fatty acids daily (choose a good source of DHA and EPA), and use ground flaxseed when appropriate in your meal preparation.

Now, to receive regular heart health and weight loss tips from dietitian Lisa Nelson, go to http://www.enutritionservices.com/f/The_Heart_of_Health.html and subscribe to The Heart of Health today!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lisa_Nelson

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

5 Sure Fire Tips to Reduce Cholesterol

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5 Sure Fire Tips to Reduce Cholesterol

It's unbelievable how little effort doctors put into showing their patients natural ways to lower cholesterol. My doctor gave me a brochure and suggested I change my diet. But no one ever mentioned how easy and straight forward it is to make the changes needed to improve my cholesterol levels.

Most individuals can do this without taking medication at all. Why put synthetic chemicals in your body, when foods and food based supplements can reduce cholesterol without the side effects.

Tip # 1-Lose weight

I know what you are thinking. "That's easier said than done." I agree, but if you follow tips #2 through #5, you will lose weight and it won't be as difficult as you think. Many medical studies have proven that cholesterol levels decrease as weight is lost. Personally, my average cholesterol came down over 20% when I lost 30 pounds.

Most of us need a structured diet plan in order to be successful. I recommend a diet that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and includes a large variety of vegetables.

Tip # 2-Increase your fiber intake

You can find dozens of foods and supplements on the internet that are said to reduce cholesterol. They range from red rice yeast to gugullipid to soy. But the most effective natural ways to lower cholesterol are the tried and true. It has long been known that soluble fiber lowers cholesterol. There is no question about it. The American Heart Association recommends adding both soluble and insoluble fiber to your diet. Some of the best sources of soluble fiber are oat and rice bran, fruits, and green vegetables. Nutritional supplements that include flax and psyllium also have a proven positive effect on cholesterol.

Tip #3-Cut back on saturated fats

In western cultures, the major sources of saturated fats are red meat and deep fried foods. For individuals who want to reduce cholesterol, it is recommended to limit red meat consumption to one meal each week and avoid deep fried foods like fried chicken completely.

Snacks such as potato and tortilla chips are also very high in saturated fats, but by substituting baked varieties it is possible to cut back on the saturated fats. Baked tortilla chips and salsa makes a very satisfying snack.

Tip #4-Exercise

Yes, everyone knows they should be getting more exercise, but few follow through with it. If you are serious about using natural ways to reduce cholesterol, this should be part of your plan. I recommend increasing your exercise little by little. Park further away when shopping so you have to walk across the parking lot. Walk up stairs instead of taking the elevator.

Having said this, the truth is that you will need to work up to regular aerobic exercise before it will help reduce cholesterol. Twenty to thirty minutes, 3 or 4 days a week of moderate exercise is what it will take.

Tip #5-Nutritional Supplements

While cholesterol can be lowered with only dietary changes and exercise, you will find that one of the best natural ways to lower cholesterol is with nutritional supplements. In fact, unless you are able to dedicate several hours each week to exercise, you will receive more benefit to reduce cholesterol levels from nutritional supplements than from exercise. Just don't make it a reason not to exercise.

Now it's time to start putting these natural ways to lower cholesterol to work. You will be amazed to see how quickly you reduce cholesterol. At the same time you will begin to feel better and have more energy.

Van Crawford is the research editor of http://www.lowering-cholesterol-resources.com

For more information on effective ways to lose weight and lower cholesterol without medication visit http://www.lowering-cholesterol-resources.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Van_Crawford

Lower Cholesterol Level