ROCHESTER, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Diet and lifestyle choices aren’t only evident on the bathroom scale.
The effect of these choices is also reflected with relative accuracy in
Budapest. Day off. A week away from shooting HERCULES.
Rest? <– f*ck that noise.
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) June 2, 2013
The May issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter looks at how an individual’s
lifestyle choices can affect “good” and “bad” cholesterol levels as well
as levels of triglycerides, another blood fat.
Cholesterol isn’t inherently bad. It’s essential to normal body
functions and is found in every cell of the body. Cholesterol helps with
digestion and hormone production. But too much puts blood vessels at
risk. Cholesterol and triglycerides travel through the bloodstream,
attached to proteins called lipoproteins. Deposits of excess low-density
lipoprotein, the “bad” cholesterol, in the blood vessel walls result in
narrowing. As blood flow is restricted, the risk of heart attack, stroke
or sudden death increases.
Two factors affecting total cholesterol, age and heredity, can’t be
controlled. But many can.
For elevated LDL (“bad”) cholesterol: The leading contributor to
elevated LDL cholesterol is a diet high in saturated and trans fats. To
reduce LDL levels, limit saturated fats, trans fats and high-cholesterol
foods. To improve your cholesterol, use cholesterol-lowering foods made
with plant sterols, for example, the margarine-like spreads. Another
strategy is to eat more foods high in soluble fiber, such as oatmeal,
apples and kidney beans.
For low HDL (“good”) cholesterol: A sedentary lifestyle and lack of
exercise are major causes of low HDL levels. To make a difference,
significantly increase the frequency and intensity of exercise. Also
beneficial is boosting HDL-friendly omega-3 fatty acid intake by eating
fatty fish (salmon, mackerel) or taking fish oil supplements.
For high triglycerides: Contributors to high triglyceride levels are
being overweight, a high intake of sugary food and excess alcohol
consumption. To lower triglyceride levels, cut back on calories, limit
sugar and alcohol, and get regular exercise. Other strategies include
losing excess weight, eating more whole grains and taking fish oil
Sometimes, diet and lifestyle choices alone aren’t enough to manage
total cholesterol levels. Yet, diet and exercise are important
management strategies even when cholesterol-lowering medications are
Mayo Clinic Health Letter is an eight-page monthly newsletter of
reliable, accurate and practical information on today’s health and
medical news. To subscribe, please call 1-800-333-9037 (toll-free),
extension 9771, or visit www.HealthLetter.MayoClinic.com.