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Keep Your Heart Healthy

Cardiovascular Health - Your Wellness CentreWith 34% of all deaths in Australia being due to cardiovascular disease, it is vital to do everything you can to keep your heart healthy. There are many factors that may increase your risk of heart disease. If you have had a heart attack these same factors increase the risk of a recurrence. These include:

  • Eating a diet high in saturated and trans fats
  • Being overweight
  • Not exercising
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Certain health conditions, such as diabetes
  • Cigarette smoking

In this post, we look at simple, effective changes you can make to manage one of the biggest risk factors in heart disease: high Cholesterol.

The Truth About Cholesterol

This may surprise you, but cholesterol itself is not bad for you. In fact, cholesterol is a normal component of your body and is needed to keep you healthy. It is found in the bloodstream and in all cells of your body. Cholesterol is an important substance, as it is used to produce hormones and other important compounds within the body. Problems can arise when you have too much cholesterol and/or too much of the “bad” cholesterol.

Cholesterol – The Good, and the Bad

There are two main forms of cholesterol: LDL and HDL.
– 
LDL is the “bad” cholesterol and when too much of this form of cholesterol is in the blood, it can clog up your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack and/ or stroke.
– HDL is the “good” cholesterol which actually helps lower your risk of developing heart disease.

Eggs – Not as Bad as they’re Cracked Up to be

Eggs - Your Wellness CentreThe myth that eggs are bad for cholesterol is still rampant!
A century ago, it was discovered that high cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk for heart disease. This triggered numerous health warnings to avoid foods naturally rich in cholesterol, like eggs. What we now know is that blood cholesterol levels go up for many different reasons, not just from eating foods which naturally contain cholesterol. Eggs are in fact a highly nutritious food, containing a good source of protein, omega-3, vitamins, and minerals. This makes them a good addition to a healthy, balanced diet.

Cutting the Fat

Just like cholesterol, not all fat is bad. It’s actually good to have some fat in your diet. Polyunsaturated fats (e.g. from fish oil) and monounsaturated fats (e.g. from olive oil) are good fats, which may actually help reduce levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and increase “good” cholesterol (HDL). Saturated and trans fats (e.g. from fatty meats and deep fried food) on the other hand are “bad” fats, which can increase cholesterol. Therefore, to keep your heart healthy, it is better to increase the amount of good fats in your diet and decrease the “bad” fats, rather than cutting out fat altogether.

Cholesterol – It’s Not All Bad News

If you have more of the “bad” cholesterol, it’s not all bad news, as there are many things that can be done to improve your cholesterol:
• Doing regular exercise has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease, as it makes your heart work more effectively and helps maintain cardiovascular health.

• Eat foods high in the good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, from foods such as avocados, lean meats, and oily fish, as these are all sources of “good” fats.
• Reduce foods high in “bad” saturated and trans fats, including cheese, butter, fatty meats and fried food, as these are all sources of “bad” fats.
• Lose weight. Being overweight is a major risk factor for heart disease, as it raises cholesterol and blood pressure.
• Increase foods high in soluble fibre, including oat bran, soybeans, and baked beans, as these have been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing cholesterol reabsorption.
• Take Natural Medicines to help lower your cholesterol.

Nature’s Answer to Healthy Cholesterol

Along with a healthy lifestyle and diet, there are many nutritional supplements that have been shown to be very effective at maintaining healthy cholesterol.

If you have high cholesterol, come in to Your Wellness Centre today and see our qualified staff help you address this problem, advise you on the appropriate supplements to take and reduce your risk of heart disease.

Ring 03 9879 9596 to make an appointment or for more information.

Your Wellness Centre Naturopathy Melbourne

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