Getting to an optimal cholesterol level at which heart attack or stroke is extremely uncommon.
Researchers point out most heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by modifying risk factors. The major modifiable risk factors include cigarette smoking, abnormal ratio of blood lipids, high blood pressure, obesity, stress and diabetes. Among all these, elevated cholesterol levels may be a major cause for heart attack and stroke. Maintaining a healthy total cholesterol level of around 150mg/dl may provide a protective shield. The study “Optimal low-density lipoprotein is 50 to 70 mg/dl: Lower is better and physiologically normal” explains why today’s average may not be optimal to prevent cardiovascular risks.
‘The normal low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol range is 50 to 70 mg/dl for native hunter-gatherers, healthy human neonates, free-living primates, and other wild mammals (all of whom do not develop atherosclerosis). Randomized trial data suggest atherosclerosis progression and coronary heart disease events are minimized when LDL is lowered to <70 mg/dl. No major safety concerns have surfaced in studies that lowered LDL to this range of 50 to 70 mg/dl. The current guidelines setting the target LDL at 100 to 115 mg/dl may lead to substantial undertreatment in high-risk individuals.”
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is generated naturally in the body. It is also found in some foods such as eggs, meat and seafood (shellfish). Levels higher than prescribed normal levels are described as Hyperlipidaemia, which is known to speed up the process of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is when plaque builds up in our artery walls making them narrower. This restricts blood flow and over time it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol levels don’t show any symptoms during initial days until it progresses to an angina-chest pain, heart attack or stroke . A blood test will tell the cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is carried around the body by different carriers called lipoproteins.
1. LDL ( low density lipoprotein) the bad cholesterol. LDL is bad because you have too much and it gets stuck to the walls of your arteries .
2. HDL ( High density cholesterol) is known as the good cholesterol, good because it gets rid of bad cholesterol from your blood vessels.
While such differentiation is widely known, those on a nutritious vegetarian or a whole food plant based diet are easily seen to be achieving a healthy total cholesterol level around 150 mg/dl. The part of the study quoted below outlines healthy levels of total cholesterol and LDL at which symptomatic or fatal atherosclerosis is extremely uncommon.“We live in a world very different from that for which we are genetically adapted. Profound changes in our environment began with the introduction of agriculture and animal husbandry 10,000 years ago, too recent on an evolutionary time scale for the human genome to adjust. As a result of this ever-worsening discordance between our ancient genetically determined biology and the nutritional, cultural, and activity patterns in modern populations, many of the so-called
diseases of civilization, including atherosclerosis, have emerged. Evidence from hunter-gatherer populations while they were still following their indigenous lifestyles showed no evidence for atherosclerosis, even in individuals living into the seventh and eighth decades of life 15, 16. These populations had total cholesterol levels of 100 to 150 mg/dl with estimated LDL cholesterol levels of about 50 to 75 mg/dl. The LDL levels of healthy neonates are even today in the 30 to 70 mg/dl range. Healthy, wild, adult primates show LDL levels of approximately 40 to 80 mg/dl”
Read the full story at ScienceDirect.
Going zero oil, avoiding trans fats and all possible saturated fats, reducing the consumption of meat and animal products, staying physically active and consuming a whole food vegetarian diet may be a healthy and sustainable option in getting your total cholesterol to an optimal level.
If you are on cholesterol lowering medications, you may want to seek guidance from a dietitian who can guide you through your journey to the optimal total cholesterol levels. This will also involve speaking to your physician to taper the medication, as you progress towards a healthy cholesterol level.
Start or journey; get to a healthy cholesterol level naturally.
Understanding and applying Nutrition Series. Edited by Candok Editorial Board, Candok Lifestyle. Live Life, Naturally!
Optimal low-density lipoprotein is 50 to 70 mg/dl: Lower is better and physiologically normal Author links open overlay panel. James HO’KeefeJrMD*LorenCordainPhD†William HHarrisPhD*Richard MMoeMD, PhD*RobertVogelMD‡