Before you know if you are at risk for heart attack or stroke you need to know your numbers. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are 2 risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but Nancy Naeve Brown tells us there are some things you can do to supplement your heart health with diet and supplements.
The first thing you need to do, if you haven't done it in the last year, is to get your cholesterol checked. It's a simple blood test done on an empty stomach.
Your total cholesterol should be less than 200.
--HDL (happy or good cholesterol) should be greater than 50 in women, 40 in men.
--LDL (lousy or bad cholesterol) should be less than 100. Less than 70 if you have coronary disease.
--and your triglycerides should be less than 150.
A healthy blood pressure is 120/80 or lower.
Cardiologist Dr. Mark Gordon with North Central Heart says, "Exercise works well to increase HDL and does to some degree lower LDL. Diet probably plays a greater role in reducing LDL cholesterol."
Dr. Gordon says eating a Mediterranean diet filled with whole grains, lots of fish and fruits and vegetables is best. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in salmon, helps reduce triglycerides and protects the walls of the arteries, but we need to have 2 to 3 servings of salmon a week which most in the Midwest don't and that's where supplements come into play.
Dr. Gordon says, "Red yeast rice has been shown to lower cholesterol. The latest study shows a combination or red yeast rice with fish oil actually reduced cholesterol to the same degree as Zocor/ Simvastatin could (lipid lowering prescription medication which can be expensive and have adverse side-effects for people)."
Dr. Gordon says it's important to read the label of your fish oil. Make sure your fish oil pills have concentrated DHA. Dr. Gordon says we should take 2 grams of DHA. So either follow the serving size or do some math 1000 mg = 1 gram. Dr. Gordon recommends Nordic Natural which you can find at Wayne and Mary's Nutrition Center in Sioux Falls. That brand contains 450 mg of DHA in each capsule and you won't burp up fish.
Dr. Gordon says, "The other natural things you can do to reduce your cholesterol is to take plant sterols or plant stanols. They have been FDA approved to lower cholesterol; you need .8 grams a day."
The less prescription medications you have to take the cheaper it is for you and the better off you'll be. So change your diet, increase your exercise and supplement instead.
We went to Wayne and Mary's Nutrition Center in Sioux Falls and suggest if you are looking for insight into what supplements are best and which ones are best for you.. to go there.