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Cholesterol Beating Eating

lynxalexialynxalexia Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
I get that most of us are here to manage weight one way or another. I openly accept that I am at an uncomfortable weight and need to lose it.

But when your cholesterol is up as well how do you balance the diet to allow for the correct foods to help you correct the numbers? I truly do not want to be on meds for my cholesterol, there has to be a way doesn't there?

Replies

  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,660 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,660 Member
    Just losing weight will help with your cholesterol. Adding cardio is reported to help as well.

    My understanding (and advice keeps evolving) is that the exact foods you eat don't have as much affect on your cholesterol as your overall bodyweight and fitness level. This is despite the fears in the 70s that eating eggs increased your cholesterol. That was pretty much de-bunked. And it was thought that eating saturated fats increases your cholesterol. In fact, it has been shown that eating higher a higher-fat diet while still in overall caloric deficit will lower your cholesterol, even if the fats are saturated.

    The only thing I haven't heard any back-pedaling on (yet) is the advice against eating trans-fats.

    Nut, of course, eating a balanced diet with lots of whole unprocessed foods, including monosaturated oils and nuts, is a good strategy. If you do this, get some exercise, and, most important, keep your overall calories in check, then you may get your lipid numbers to improve.

    Best of luck!
  • JthanmyfitnesspalJthanmyfitnesspal Member, Premium Posts: 2,660 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,660 Member
    MFP added a second post that I can't delete. Derp.
    edited February 22
  • dragon_girl26dragon_girl26 Member Posts: 2,049 Member Member Posts: 2,049 Member
    Echoing the sentiment above...I don't believe its about eating "correct" foods, although it's a good idea to watch saturated fat intake overall. My N = 1 here, but my cholesterol went from close to 300, to around 185 just by losing weight and establishing a good workout/exercise routine, and boosting my activity level overall. I've never paid particular attention to avoiding any foods.
    Thr other thing about high cholesterol is that it is like high blood pressure in that it may be hereditary, so thats something else to consider.
    edited February 22
  • lynxalexialynxalexia Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
    It's irritating that before the Pandemic I was a rather active person when I could be. Add to this I have had to watch what I eat most of my life since Migraines will be the result of eating the wrong things. When my doctor told me my cholesterol was up I was shocked as that was never a problem before. Now I can't seem to get a break. I telework now and it looks like that will remain the norm going forward. My Husband and I are shelling out for a NordicTrack exercise machine I just have to make myself use it once it gets here I guess.
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 38,703 Member Member Posts: 38,703 Member
    lynxalexia wrote: »
    I get that most of us are here to manage weight one way or another. I openly accept that I am at an uncomfortable weight and need to lose it.

    But when your cholesterol is up as well how do you balance the diet to allow for the correct foods to help you correct the numbers? I truly do not want to be on meds for my cholesterol, there has to be a way doesn't there?

    One of the primary reasons I started all of this was because my triglycerides were so high that they couldn't actually measure my cholesterol...why Tris came down, and they could measure, my LDL cholesterol was very high and HDL was very low.

    I did change my diet quite a bit in that I focused on getting in plenty of vegetables and some fruit. I also started eating a higher fiber diet, and ate oats a few times per week and when I didn't have oats for breakfast I have my eggs with a whole grain and seed bread, toasted. I introduced more beans and lentils and focused more on lean sources of protein...more chicken, more fish...and when I eat beef or pork I typically go for leaner cuts though occasionally splurge.

    I'm not really sure how much my change in diet influenced my numbers though...I also started exercising regularly and started losing weight and each checkup, my cholesterol numbers came down until I was in the normal range.

    Since then (2013) it's been kind of a roller coaster with my cholesterol as mine issues are largely hereditary and an uphill battle all the way...but observationally, my cholesterol tends to go up when my exercise and activity level decrease despite my diet or my weight...it goes up even more if I start putting on weight. As saturated fat goes, I think the jury is still out on how that actually impacts cholesterol, so I ere on the side of caution and try to keep those numbers at or below the RDA. And again with my N=1, it does appear that I'm a bit sensitive to an abundance of saturated fat in my diet as at times, that has really been the only change and I'll go have a checkup and my numbers are up despite an otherwise healthy diet and regular exercise.

    For myself anyway, it's all one big package...eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, losing and maintaining a healthy weight. I would probably put the greatest emphasis on regular exercise and healthy weight though.
  • dragon_girl26dragon_girl26 Member Posts: 2,049 Member Member Posts: 2,049 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    lynxalexia wrote: »
    I get that most of us are here to manage weight one way or another. I openly accept that I am at an uncomfortable weight and need to lose it.

    But when your cholesterol is up as well how do you balance the diet to allow for the correct foods to help you correct the numbers? I truly do not want to be on meds for my cholesterol, there has to be a way doesn't there?

    One of the primary reasons I started all of this was because my triglycerides were so high that they couldn't actually measure my cholesterol...why Tris came down, and they could measure, my LDL cholesterol was very high and HDL was very low.

    I did change my diet quite a bit in that I focused on getting in plenty of vegetables and some fruit. I also started eating a higher fiber diet, and ate oats a few times per week and when I didn't have oats for breakfast I have my eggs with a whole grain and seed bread, toasted. I introduced more beans and lentils and focused more on lean sources of protein...more chicken, more fish...and when I eat beef or pork I typically go for leaner cuts though occasionally splurge.

    I'm not really sure how much my change in diet influenced my numbers though...I also started exercising regularly and started losing weight and each checkup, my cholesterol numbers came down until I was in the normal range.

    Since then (2013) it's been kind of a roller coaster with my cholesterol as mine issues are largely hereditary and an uphill battle all the way...but observationally, my cholesterol tends to go up when my exercise and activity level decrease despite my diet or my weight...it goes up even more if I start putting on weight. As saturated fat goes, I think the jury is still out on how that actually impacts cholesterol, so I ere on the side of caution and try to keep those numbers at or below the RDA. And again with my N=1, it does appear that I'm a bit sensitive to an abundance of saturated fat in my diet as at times, that has really been the only change and I'll go have a checkup and my numbers are up despite an otherwise healthy diet and regular exercise.

    For myself anyway, it's all one big package...eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, losing and maintaining a healthy weight. I would probably put the greatest emphasis on regular exercise and healthy weight though.

    Yeah, I would add that my cholesterol (and BP for that matter) seem to be particularly sensitive to my weight increases/decreases. Even just a 5 to 10 lb gain can make a difference in my results.
    Both of my parents have high BP and high cholesterol, so I have a feeling it will always be an uphill battle for me too.
    edited February 22
  • vanmepvanmep Member Posts: 290 Member Member Posts: 290 Member
    After a heart attack, I got to work on my cholesterol levels by reducing my intake of animal products and saturated fats. I increased my activity levels as well and lost weight. My levels definitely came down. Your exercise can be anything. It doesn't sound like you are super thrilled with the idea of the Nordic Track. You might want to explore activities that you do enjoy as you will be more likely to stick to them. Maybe dancing, walking, riding bike, kayaking, swimming?
  • cwolfman13cwolfman13 Member Posts: 38,703 Member Member Posts: 38,703 Member
    lynxalexia wrote: »
    It's irritating that before the Pandemic I was a rather active person when I could be. Add to this I have had to watch what I eat most of my life since Migraines will be the result of eating the wrong things. When my doctor told me my cholesterol was up I was shocked as that was never a problem before. Now I can't seem to get a break. I telework now and it looks like that will remain the norm going forward. My Husband and I are shelling out for a NordicTrack exercise machine I just have to make myself use it once it gets here I guess.

    Just note that you don't need a machine to get exercise. I kind of have a rule for myself...I sit 8 hours per day at work, so I aim to get at least 8 hours of exercise per week. About 5 of those 8 hours are walking and I spend a couple of days in the weight room per week and get in 2 or 3 rides per week on my bike that are usually 30-45 minutes. Right now I have an indoor setup for my bike because winter, but I'll be getting out on the road and trails more very soon. The only reason I can even tolerate my indoor stationary setup is because I have a smart trainer and Zwift...otherwise stationary machine cardio bores the life out of me.
  • lynxalexialynxalexia Member Posts: 16 Member Member Posts: 16 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    lynxalexia wrote: »
    It's irritating that before the Pandemic I was a rather active person when I could be. Add to this I have had to watch what I eat most of my life since Migraines will be the result of eating the wrong things. When my doctor told me my cholesterol was up I was shocked as that was never a problem before. Now I can't seem to get a break. I telework now and it looks like that will remain the norm going forward. My Husband and I are shelling out for a NordicTrack exercise machine I just have to make myself use it once it gets here I guess.

    Just note that you don't need a machine to get exercise. I kind of have a rule for myself...I sit 8 hours per day at work, so I aim to get at least 8 hours of exercise per week. About 5 of those 8 hours are walking and I spend a couple of days in the weight room per week and get in 2 or 3 rides per week on my bike that are usually 30-45 minutes. Right now I have an indoor setup for my bike because winter, but I'll be getting out on the road and trails more very soon. The only reason I can even tolerate my indoor stationary setup is because I have a smart trainer and Zwift...otherwise stationary machine cardio bores the life out of me.

    I do get that. When we first moved to this new house a year ago I tried to get out and walk around our block several times regularly. It might not seem like it here but I am not a people person and the neighbors here were all "nice and chatty". It started to make me feel strange. I started to try to walk at seriously early hours to avoid having to talk to them but that didn't last and we have actually had a rather active winter this year which has been making it hard to get out to walk. That and I have hip and back troubles. Riding my bike would be best, it's rather no impact on my joints but see previous on the weather. The new equipment comes with a membership to their iFit where there are interactive routines lead by an instructor. I know me If I don't have something to follow I certainly won't lead. I know that sounds like I'm simply lazy. and I guess in a way I am. But it really is hard to do all this alone.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 18,776 Member Member, Premium Posts: 18,776 Member
    I tried to get my cholesterol down by just changing *what* I ate, with very limited results (it came down a little, not nearly far enough).

    As context, I was already eating lots of healthy foods, but too much of them, and too many treat foods. But I was getting veggies, fruits, whole grains, etc. - it's just the way I like to eat. I've been vegetarian for almost 47 years. I was already very active, having been exercising energetically 6 days most weeks for over a decade, while still obese, with reasonable fitness markers (resting heart rate, race pace, etc.).

    When tweaking eating (reducing sat fats, fewer sweets, etc.) didn't make a meaningful impact, and with some other health issues reinforcing the need for change, I lost weight. Even part way through the loss, my cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure had dropped from too high to solidly normal. They've stayed normal every since (5+ years), as I've stayed in a healthy weight range. I still eat pretty much the same foods, just in different portions, proportions, frequencies.

    Genetics play a role in all of this, so others will report different outcomes. I don't seem to have a strong family history of high lipids/high blood pressure (those in my family who had those were seriously overweight or obese). For me, weight loss was the thing that got my health markers where I need them to be. YMMV.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 23,483 Member Member Posts: 23,483 Member
    lynxalexia wrote: »
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    lynxalexia wrote: »
    It's irritating that before the Pandemic I was a rather active person when I could be. Add to this I have had to watch what I eat most of my life since Migraines will be the result of eating the wrong things. When my doctor told me my cholesterol was up I was shocked as that was never a problem before. Now I can't seem to get a break. I telework now and it looks like that will remain the norm going forward. My Husband and I are shelling out for a NordicTrack exercise machine I just have to make myself use it once it gets here I guess.

    Just note that you don't need a machine to get exercise. I kind of have a rule for myself...I sit 8 hours per day at work, so I aim to get at least 8 hours of exercise per week. About 5 of those 8 hours are walking and I spend a couple of days in the weight room per week and get in 2 or 3 rides per week on my bike that are usually 30-45 minutes. Right now I have an indoor setup for my bike because winter, but I'll be getting out on the road and trails more very soon. The only reason I can even tolerate my indoor stationary setup is because I have a smart trainer and Zwift...otherwise stationary machine cardio bores the life out of me.

    I do get that. When we first moved to this new house a year ago I tried to get out and walk around our block several times regularly. It might not seem like it here but I am not a people person and the neighbors here were all "nice and chatty". It started to make me feel strange. I started to try to walk at seriously early hours to avoid having to talk to them but that didn't last and we have actually had a rather active winter this year which has been making it hard to get out to walk. That and I have hip and back troubles. Riding my bike would be best, it's rather no impact on my joints but see previous on the weather. The new equipment comes with a membership to their iFit where there are interactive routines lead by an instructor. I know me If I don't have something to follow I certainly won't lead. I know that sounds like I'm simply lazy. and I guess in a way I am. But it really is hard to do all this alone.

    I'm not much of a people person either :)

    I have no problems getting exercise despite no gym or winter weather.

    I used to drive to the main entrance of a nearby state park to walk. But there were too many people, and worse, their dogs, whose owners don't pick up their poop in the trails. So I looked on a map and found a back entrance, and almost never see anyone there during the week.

    Lately I've been spending more time in the trails in the woods behind my house. No one goes there. I can't get a long enough walk there, but I'm the only one who maintains the trails, so that keeps me busy. I have snow shoes that a friend found for $5 at a yard sale and look forward to the snow because this is my highest calorie burning activity. Snow shoeing is so easy...and yet so hard. I also like to shovel snow.

    I have knee, hip, and elbow issues, and have a ton of exercises my physical therapists have given me. I string these together with some yoga warmups and have become really good at doing these on days I'm not worn out from outdoor cardio. All I need for this is a yoga mat and an interesting television series. Some days I even get to yoga as well. (I use music for this.)

    I'm looking forward to gardening season starting in 5 weeks. Many people don't know about "cool annuals" like peas which can be planted 6-8 weeks earlier than warm annuals like tomatoes.

    Since I moved here in 2016 we've put in 3 raised beds for vegetables, 5 beds for flowers, and 1 for ornamental grasses. I dug out the sod in 4 of them myself - that is quite the workout! My OH is in charge of the lawn but if I need a gardening project I'll dig out dandelions and other weeds.

    If you're interested in gardening, come join our thread:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10708195/garden-thread

    I also belong to a local gardening group on FaceBook which is the best social media group ever :) It's great for region-specific issues and we also give away tons of advice and plants. Many plants spread too much and lots of gardeners would rather find a home for them than discarding them.
  • rosebarnalicerosebarnalice Member Posts: 3,078 Member Member Posts: 3,078 Member
    I eat low carb low fat, plant-based high fiber (40-50 grams a day) of mostly raw and cooked produce.
    My cholesterol and triglycerides have reesponded very well (although I'm still on a very low-dose statin.)

    I will say that my spouse has crazy high cholesterol (300+ without meds) and high blood pressure. His four siblings all have similar cholesterol levels even though none of them are overweight. It's clearly genetic.
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