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Year after year, my yearly blood tests show I have high LDL (the bad cholesterol). Cholesterol is circulated within the body by lipoproteins. This is bad because too much LDL cholesterol increases the chances of heart attacks, heart stroke, and atherosclerosis. Despite its negative effects, it's still necessary to produce Vitamin D, bile acids, and steroid hormones.
- Most of the cholesterol in the body comes from the saturated fats in food, not the cholesterol contained in the foods you eat.
- Saturated fats are converted to cholesterol by the liver.
- Total cholesterol: 75% comes from your body and 25% comes from diet.
- Daily cholesterol production: 20-25% from liver.
- Curcumin decreases cholesterol uptake in liver.
- Caffeine can decrease cholesterol by 10%.
Among the many ways I found online to reduce LDL cholesterol, the dietary options including reducing foods with saturated fat and increasing foods with soluble fiber. What this also means is to avoid the best tasting food such as bacon, pork belly, butter, and ice cream, commercially packaged foods. But instead add foods such as black beans, wood ear mushrooms, brussel sprouts, carrots, and broccoli.
- Soluble fibers reduce LDL by binding to cholesterol molecules in the digestive tract.
- Soluble fibers are soft/sticky and become gel like.
- Cutting, pureeing preserves soluble fiber.
- Boiling vegetables destroys soluble fiber.
- Ideal to eat vegetables raw.
- Fruits that contains a lot of soluble fiber (pectin) is in the skin of a pear or apple.
- Pectin in fruit is broken down by enzymes as the fruit ripens. This means the more ripe the fruit, the less pectin is available.
- The flesh of a mango also contains 5.4 grams of fiber, of which 61% is soluble and 39% is insoluble.
All in all, it's best to eat vegetables raw, plenty of fruit with edible skin on that is not over-ripe. I decided to keep some cooked beans ready to eat in the moments I need a quick snack (to avoid eating processed foods). Time will tell if these changes to my diet help to decrease LDL, with the addition of cardio exercise.