Every time I get a checkup, the doctor enthuses about my cholesterol. (Probably because it's good to say something positive before going on to the lecture about the Importance of Eating Vegetables.)
But it's interesting that none of them have warned me that my great cholesterol levels have nothing to do with my doing something right in life, and that in another decade I might find the situation changing dramatically.
If you're of the male persuasion, you might want to read this section. If you feel like it.
Any guys reading this might want to skip the next section and go straight to the bottom of this post, at least if you're worried about prostate cancer, since lowering cholesterol levels can lead to lower PSA. (American Urological Association (2008, May 18). Low Cholesterol Leads To Lower PSA, Lower Prostate Cancer Risk, Study Suggests. ) Or unless you feel like reading about women's health which is very nice of you and I personally think you're a really neat guy who should come by more often.
If you're of the female persuasion, you might want to read this section. Just a thought.
If you're of the female persuasion, you've got a lot of estrogen running around in your system. If you're a female who's eaten a lot of saturated fats and is well padded, you've got a whole lot of estrogen running around in your system.
Estrogen affects your cholesterol levels. Even if you're Doing All the Wrong Things re cholesterol, you can still have a fab chol reading on the blood test because of the level of estrogen. Which is all well and good and fine and dandy until you hit this time of life called menopause. Then you're screwed.
(Or you could be.)
If you've spent 50-some years eating badly, and it hasn't caught up to you yet, it's going to start now. Bad enough you have to deal with hot flashes and all that fun stuff, you'll find your chol level rising up and you'll have to start making some major changes to avoid all the nasty stuff that high cholesterol levels can cause.
Things you can do to improve your cholesterol levels:
- Eat Oatmeal
Dr. James Anderson analyzed 15 years' worth of studies and came to the conclusion that oatmeal was a good deal. "Whole-grain products like oatmeal are among some of the best foods one can eat to improve cholesterol levels, in addition to other lifestyle choices," Anderson said. "Lifestyle choices, such as diet, should be the first line of therapy for most patients with moderate cholesterol risk given the expense, safety concerns, and intolerance related to cholesterol lowering drugs."
- Eat Chocolate
Yes, that is what you read. This study was partially funded by Mars, Inc., which by an amazing coincidence makes the particular (100 calorie) chocolate bars that were used in the study. Yeah, I know. And the research is based on 49 people with "slightly elevated" cholesterol levels. But on the other hand, it seems like common sense that if you faithfully follow the diet they were on (American Heart Association's "Eating Plan for Healthy Americans") then you probably can reduce your cholesterol even if you also eat a couple of 100 calorie chocolate bars a day.
- See a Registered Dietitian
Everybody goes to their doctor if they want help with cholesterol levels. But one study, based on data from 377 patients, indicates that seeing an RD can help. "175 patients who started the study with triglycerides less than 400 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL), and who had their cholesterol measured before they changed or added medication, 44.6 percent either reduced their levels of "bad" cholesterol by at least 15 percent, or reached their cholesterol goal."
I like it that being Good Cholesterol Woman largely involves eating, which is something that I'm quite good at and have been for years. And I like the idea that I can get a running jump on all the nasty cholesterol possibilities out there, or at least tell them to take a running jump.