Updated 2/16/2023: I will be doing a newer version of this old post soon. This one was originally done in 2019. But, did you know that Heart Disease is still the leading cause of death in men and women, across all races? According to the CDC, one person dies every 34 seconds from Heart Disease. That is staggering to think about.
Cholesterol is a type of fat. It can build up in arteries causing decreased blood flow to the heart. Cholesterol is found in the highest amounts, in dairy products, meat, and eggs.
I can remember the days of nursing when Cholesterol was the only type of fat discussed, that’s how old I am, and how long I’ve been a nurse, lol. Now there are Triglycerides, LDL, HDL, etc. Saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and on and on it goes. So do we need any Cholesterol, or should it just be removed from all diets? Actually, like any other nutrition item, Cholesterol plays a very important part in the normal function of the human body. Cholesterol helps the body build new cells. Well, that sounds pretty important. Cholesterol also insulates nerves and helps produce hormones. Again, two very important functions of the human body. We need Cholesterol. We just don’t need too much of it.
An optimal Cholesterol level is 200 or below, but I can promise you if you are sneaking around 190, or so, the doctor is going to start the blah blah part. You can’t live without your heart, and one heart attack can be very debilitating if it doesn’t kill you. I say blah blah because there is so much conflicting information about Cholesterol that a lot of people are just confused and tired of trying to figure it out. Don’t eat eggs, do eat eggs but not the yolk, Cholesterol might not be so bad but sugar is. I mean it can be dizzying trying to figure out what is right and wrong.
So, now comes the blah, blah, part. You should be having your Cholesterol checked every single year starting in your teens. Even though a lot of high Cholesterol comes from foods we consume, for some people it can be hereditary. Even the fittest people, with excellent diets, can have high Cholesterol due to Genetics. I am not a fan of Statins, they have a high risk of damaging the liver, and kidneys, but if I needed one I would take one. Exercise, controlling blood pressure, and following a low-fat and high-fiber diet, can help lower cholesterol levels. Oatmeal is a great way to increase fiber in your diet. If you really like eggs, for your morning meal, the egg yolk is where all the Cholesterol is. So, egg whites are a better option, and only have one or two whole eggs a week, if that. If you have Kidney Disease, as well, egg whites are a better option because the yolk is where all the phosphorus is. Make sure you get actual egg whites, not made from egg white substance. I don’t even know what that means, egg white substance. Cheese, milk, and other dairy products are also sources of Cholesterol. Did you know chicken, which is a leading food choice for people who want to lose weight, if you read the label chicken is actually pretty high in Cholesterol, even the boneless skinless variety? So, even leaner meats can be high in this type of fat. If you already have a risk for Heart Disease 200 mg of Cholesterol in your diet per day is what you should aim for. If you don’t already have risk factors 300 mg of Cholesterol per day in your diet is a good goal. One small chicken breast has 100 mg of Cholesterol. If you have CKD you are definitely at risk for Heart Disease, just by the nature of your kidneys not filtering properly.
An optimal Cholesterol level is 200 or below, but I can promise you if you are sneaking around 190, or so, the doctor is going to start the blah blah part. You can’t live without your heart, and one heart attack can be very debilitating, and it can kill you.
Take care of your heart. You only have one.
My disclaimer is short and sweet. No information on this blog is intended to be medical or nutritional advice. It is for informational purposes only and to spark a conversation.