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Keeping track of your cholesterol levels can help prevent heart disease

“You can eat to build health, or you can eat to build disease."

TAMPA, Fla. — Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans but cardiologists say 80 percent of it is completely preventable. 

A person’s cholesterol numbers have a direct link to heart disease risks and it tends to climb with age, especially for women. 

Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, cardiologist and founder of Step One Foods says, “You cannot feel your cholesterol, so it has to be checked through a blood test.”

She says experts agree your overall total should be under 200. A patient’s HDL (the good cholesterol) should be over 50 in women, over 40 in men and the LDL ("bad, lousy" cholesterol) should be under 130 for most. You’ll want it to be under 100 if you have a higher risk of heart disease.

Dr. Klodas says her rule of thumb for most patients is to get checked twice in your 20s, 3 times in your 30s, 4 in your 40s, every other year in your 50s and then annually in your later years. Controlling the numbers takes discipline in your diet. 

“You can eat to build health, or you can eat to build disease,” Klodas said. She explains, “it’s actually not the cholesterol in the food that matters so much. It’s really about the quality of the fats and the quality of the carbohydrates.” 

With that in mind, she urges patients to avoid saturated fats and processed carbs. For instance, think this way: “apples good, applesauce less good, apple juice bad. Brown rice good, white rice not as good, rice krispies bad.”

After years of patient care, Dr. Klodas created Step One Foods, to help users block cholesterol absorption. She says, “when we eat right for cholesterol, we’re also eating right for cardiovascular disease prevention, we’re eating right for cancer prevention, for dementia prevention. It is so important to think about food intake as a health intervention.” For more information head to: https://www.steponefoods.com/.

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