High cholesterol levels have long been viewed as a major cardiac risk factor.
Just as higher cholesterol levels increase the risk for heart attack, decreased levels mean a reduction in risk.
Here’s what your optimal numbers should be:
Total cholesterol: < 200
LDL-cholesterol: < 100
HDL-cholesterol: 40 or higher
Cholesterol ratio (total chol/HDL): less than 5
Cut down on foods rich in saturated fat such as red meat and whole-milk dairy products and trans fat products made with hydrogenated oils in favor of foods with fats that promote heart health.
Increase foods rich such as fruits, vegetables, oat bran, oatmeal, beans, bioflavonoids strawberries, eggplant and foods rich in vitamins C and E and beta-carotene.
Substitute soy protein for animal protein; consider using cholesterol-lowering margarines containing sterol or sterol esters.
Use portion control to moderate caloric intake with increased physical activity to lose weight, if necessary.