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Low cholesterol diet

Related Terms

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Background

  • A low cholesterol diet involves the consumption foods that contain little cholesterol. Red meats, egg yolks, organ meats, whole milk and milk products are avoided, because they increase the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) that the body already makes. This cholesterol is absorbed through the intestines and added to what the liver makes.
  • According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, a low cholesterol diet is one of the three most important things a person can do to prevent heart disease. The other factors include quitting smoking and getting regular exercise.
  • There are two types of cholesterol in the body-low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Diets that include large amounts of "unhealthy" cholesterol result in an over accumulation of LDL in the body. Excessive LDL binds to arteries.
  • Most American diets include an intake of much more LDL than HDL. This means that LDL accumulates in the arteries of the body and brain, forming what is known as a plaque. With continually high levels of LDL in the body, these plaques grow larger, and blood flow through the artery is increasingly restricted. The continued presence and accumulation of plagues in the body leads to a condition known as atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a major cause of coronary heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, according to the American Heart Association. Because of its negative effects on the health of the body, LDL is known as "bad" cholesterol.
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Technique

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Theory/Evidence

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.