Here’s a very brief tutorial in phytonutrients, cholesterol, and heart health:
What are phytonutrients?
Phytonutrients, found in plants, are similar to cholesterol in their function in the body and they constituted a significant part of the diet of early humans.
Some of the dietary sources include:
* Rye bread
* Wheat germ
* Brussels sprouts
* Sesame oil
* Olive oil
Phytonutrients Help Reduce LDL
The similarity of phytonutrients to the artery damaging low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which are more commonly known as bad cholesterol, enable them to block the absorption of LDL cholesterol in the intestines, so it is eliminated instead of entering the blood stream. Reduction of LDL cholesterol is essential in lowering your risk of coronary heart disease. In addition to reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, clinical research suggests phytonutrients play a role in decreasing the risk of stomach, lung, and breast cancer.
Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat, or lipid, found in the blood and is a necessary for the creation of cell walls as well as hormones. High-density lipoproteins “scrub” excess fats, including LDL cholesterol, from the body and return them to the live. Low-density lipoprotein carry fats from the liver into the body.
Both of these forms of cholesterol are necessary; however, when the level of LDL cholesterol becomes excessively elevated, it can start accumulating on the walls of the arteries.
What happens when there is too much “bad cholesterol” (LDL)?
This build-up of “bad cholesterol” (or too much LDL) can lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which decreases the amount of oxygen-rich blood that reaches the heart and brain. The reduction of blood flow to the brain can lead to coronary heart disease, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.
Test Your Blood – Check Your Cholesterol Levels
The American Heart Association recommends that adults have a blood lipid profile completed every five years, which provides measurements of the total amount of cholesterol in the blood stream, as well as the levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol. The optimal blood level of total cholesterol is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter, while people who have levels greater than 240 milligrams per deciliter are correlated with twice the risk of coronary heart disease as compared to those who have normal blood cholesterol levels. Normal HDL levels are greater than 60 milligrams per deciliter, and levels less than 40 milligrams per deciliter are considered deficient. Normal LDL levels are less than 129 milligrams per deciliter.
Phytonutrients and Maintaining Optimal Cholesterol Levels
While some people rely on prescription medications, such as statins, to manage cholesterol, these drugs can have significant side effects, which include liver damage.
How can phytonutrients help?
Some clinical research has indicated that a daily intake of 1.5 to 1.8 grams of phytonutrients can reduce total blood levels of cholesterol by 30 to 40 percent. Additionally, medical experts report that people who reduce their levels of LDL cholesterol by 10% reduce their risk of coronary heart disease by 20%.
Therefore, it is beneficial to eat foods with such as the ones listed about that are sources of phytonutrients. In the event you cannot get a sufficient amount from your diet alone, try EnergyFirst’s Heart & Cholesterol Support supplement or EnergyFirst’s Greenergy to support your efforts to maintain a healthy balance of good and bad cholesterol to keep your heart healthy.