Doctor Oz did a segment called “Ticking Time Bomb: Cholesterol” to give us a 5 step plan that can save our life and reduce our chances of getting a heart attack. Cholesterol is a scary thing because you cannot see it or know the damage it is causing until it is often too late. Dr Oz said that cholesterol is a “fatty substance that circulates in your blood” and it comes from foods that you eat, but 75% of cholesterol is actually made by your own body. You need a certain amount of cholesterol to build cells and to produce hormones, but too much can be life threatening. 1 in 3 people have high cholesterol, and as cholesterol builds up in your arteries, it can impede the blood flow through your body which can lead to high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Dr Oz said that 50% of all heart attacks are linked to high cholesterol.
What is cholesterol? And where does it come from? Dr Oz said that the organ responsible for 75% of the cholesterol in your body is your liver. Your liver processes all of the food and chemicals that come into your body, and it makes cholesterol for your body. How is cholesterol made? Food goes into your stomach and is digested into fat that goes to your liver. Then the fat gets passed on to cells where it is matched up with proteins and distributed throughout your body to help make hormones, vitamin D and to perform other crucial functions. In fact, Dr Oz said that your brain cannot function properly without cholesterol.
As part of Dr Oz’s Know Your 5 campaign, he is encouraging everyone to know their cholesterol numbers. Your LDL cholesterol or “lousy cholesterol” should be under 100 and your HDL cholesterol or “healthy cholesterol” should be over 50. Dr Oz said that a study was recently published that said that women have different cholesterol levels depending on the time of the month. A woman’s cholesterol is highest right before she ovulates, so it is a good idea to have your cholesterol checked right before you menstruate.
Dr Oz said that food is the biggest influence on your cholesterol levels. We all know that transfats are bad because our liver cannot process it, and saturated fats can also cause considerable problems. However, Dr Oz’s number 1 reason for high cholesterol is actually sugar, because your liver converts sugar to whatever it thinks that you need. So if you have too much sugar, your liver will turn the sugar into cholesterol or fat.
Dr Oz’s Aorta Test
Dr Oz showed an aorta that was healthy and an unhealthy aorta, which was dry, crunchy and flaking. Cholesterol can damage your aorta, and if the plaque that forms there begins to flake off, it can go to your head and cause a stroke or it can go to your heart arteries and cause a heart attack. So Dr Oz gave a simple at home test to see how your Aorta is doing.
1. Sit down on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. If you can touch your toes, then apparently the muscle flexibility there relates to your aorta flexibility and means you have a better chance of having a healthy aorta.
2. Look at your eyelids and check for fatty deposits, these can be signs of cholesterol problems. You can also get these fatty deposits on your elbows, tendons or knees.
Dr Oz’s How to Control Cholesterol
Dr Oz gave a healthy heart plan to help lower cholesterol, and each of the five things spell out the word HEART!
H – Have Fiber – you should have 30 grams of fiber per day, and if you increase your fiber intake from whatever you get now by 5-10 grams, then your LDL cholesterol will drop by about 5%. Good sources of fiber include oat bran, oatmeal and 100% whole grain bread. Fiber helps to drag bile and cholesterol out of your body. Dr Oz also advised that you increase your fiber intake slowly, otherwise it could make you feel a bit sick.
E – Expand Grocery List – in addition to exercise of course, Dr Oz suggests that we add the following to our diet: Purslane, Goji Berries and Shiitake Mushrooms. Dr Oz says that he eats Purslane, a type of weed, by mixing it with some garlic and yogurt, but you can also just mix it into a regular salad.
A – Absorb Alcohol – Dr Oz said that in moderate amounts, one glass a day of red wine each day can decrease your risk of heart disease by 25%. But you should stick to the red wine which has resveratrol from the grape’s skin.
R – Reduce Stress & Relax – minimizing stress is a great help for reducing LDL cholesterol.
T – Try Medication – if you try everything else for three months, and your cholesterol numbers will not budge, consider taking a cholesterol medication like the other 25 million Americans who take cholesterol drugs.