The Top 5 Cholesterol Myths

cholesterol-myth

American men rank 83rd in the world in average total cholesterol.

(ISTOCKPHOTO)

Even if you think you know everything there is to know about cholesterol, there may be a few more surprises in store. Check out these common myths about high cholesterol; find out whos most likely to have it, what types of food can cause it, and why—sometimes—cholesterol isnt a bad word.

Myth 1: Americans have the highest cholesterol in the world

One of the world’s enduring stereotypes is the fat American with cholesterol-clogged arteries who is a Big Mac or two away from a heart attack. As a nation, we could certainly use some slimming down, but when it comes to cholesterol levels we are solidly middle-of-the-road.

The Cholesterol-Inflammation Connection

Inflammation is cholesterol’s partner in crime  Read moreAccording to 2005 World Health Organization statistics, American men rank 83rd in the world in average total cholesterol, and American women rank 81st; in both cases, the average number is 197 mg/dL, just below the Borderline-High Risk category. That is very respectable compared to the top-ranked countries: In Colombia the average cholesterol among men is a dangerous 244, while the women in Israel, Libya, Norway, and Uruguay are locked in a four-way tie at 232.Myth 2: Eggs are evil

It’s true that eggs have a lot of dietary cholesterol—upwards of 200 mg, which is more than two-thirds of the American Heart Association’s recommended limit of 300 mg a day. But dietary cholesterol isn’t nearly as dangerous as was once thought. Only some of the cholesterol in food ends up as cholesterol in your bloodstream, and if your dietary cholesterol intake rises, your body compensates by producing less cholesterol of its own.

While you don’t want to overdo it, eating an egg or two a few times a week isn’t dangerous. In fact, eggs are an excellent source of protein and contain unsaturated fat, a so-called good fat.

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12 Mouthwatering Meatless Meals

ravioli

Credit: Leigh Beisch

Looking for a way to save money? Meatless meals are less expensive, and plant-based diets may reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. These 12 vegetarian recipes will wow your taste buds without hurting your wallet.

Ravioli With Tomatoes, White Beans, and Escarole

This recipe combines Mediterranean spices and white beans to get a protein-packed pasta.

Ingredients: Four-cheese ravioli, great Northern beans, diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper, fresh escarole or spinach, grated Asiago cheese

Calories: 329

Try this recipe: Ravioli With Tomatoes, White Beans, and Escarole

Next: Smoked Cheddar and Lentil Burgers

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9 Easy Fat-Burning Recipes

These do-it-all power meals can burn fat and calories, and keep you satisfied all day long.

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by Min-Ja Lee

Here’s the secret to losing weight with a lot less effort: Fill up on healthy foods that can do a lot more than just feed your belly. You can burn up to 300 extra calories every day just eating foods that stoke your metabolism. Protein, fiber, healthy carbs, and good-for-you fats turn up your body’s fat-burning power and help you feel full all day long.

Here are nine delicious recipes to get you started. These dishes contain fat-burning superfoods that will help you slim down and keep the weight off.

Watch the video: 8 Healthy 15-Minute Meals  

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15 Foods That Help You Poop

Feeling constipated? These foods will help get things moving.

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by Jessica Migala

Constipation isn’t the most glamorous of topics—but having it sure isn’t fun. For one, it’s extremely common, afflicting 42 million people in the United States. Each of us has different bathroom habits, but most experts say that three or fewer bowel movements per week could indicate a problem. And although constipation can be caused by medical conditions (hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease), medications (painkillers, antidepressants), and other factors that may be out of your control, for most of us, it’s caused by what we’re eating—or, rather, not eating, says Elizabeth Blaney, MD, gastroenterologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. The average American gets just 15 grams of fiber a day, though experts recommend at least 25. Most of us don’t drink enough water, either, which also contributes to constipation. Get things moving again with the 15 foods that follow.

RELATED: 13 Surprising Causes of Constipation

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Weight Loss Success Story: “I Learned That Food Is Not Love”

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Photo: Justin Clemons

Blanca Valdez

35, 5’3″ Waco, Texas

Before

210 lb.

Dress Size: 16

After

132 lb.

Dress Size: 4

Total Lost

78 lb.

Sizes Lost: 6

I grew up in Mexico, and food was a big part of my family’s culture. It was how we said I love you, and it wasn’t socially acceptable to turn down a meal, or even seconds. By the time I finished college, I weighed 180 pounds, and the number kept climbing, especially after three pregnancies.

Bridal shower breakdown

I knew I was carrying extra weight, but I didn’t realize how much until I borrowed a friend’s clothes for a bridal shower in January 2011. I had always thought of her as larger than me, yet the size 20 fit perfectly. I was so upset that, when my friends went out dancing, I snuck back to the hotel and hid in bed. It was then that I resolved to leave my poor eating habits behind.

Energy, found!

I started small, cutting out sweets and soda and putting the kibosh on eating after 6 p.m. I lost 34 pounds in two years, but it was only when I joined Weight Watchers in January 2013 that I finally learned about structure and proper portion sizes. I began planning out my meals and stopped using the weekends to splurge. Eating right made my energy soar, which I channeled into exercise, taking every gym class at the YMCA I could. I hit my goal weight of 135 that November and started strength training to tone up. Now my family sees my success, and they know that if I turn down a meal, it’s not because I love them any less; it’s just that my love for them isn’t dependent on food.

Related: I Did It! Weight-Loss Success Stories

Weapons for Weight-Loss Success

Blanca dropped an impressive 78 pounds with help from these smart tricks. Try them yourself, and find more ideas at health.com/weight-loss-stories.

Get Grilling

I love grilled shrimp tacos on corn tortillas. They’re full of flavor, low on calories and easy to make.

Pump up your playlist

My workout jams are super eclectic—Latin, pop and contemporary Christian music! Right now I love “Soul on Fire,” by Third Day, for when I hit the stair climber.

Try a training plan

After doing Jamie Eason’s free(!) 12-week LiveFit strength-training program at bodybuilding.com, I wore a bikini for the first time since I was 5!

Related: How to Cut Portions and Not Feel Hungry!

Have a back-up

I plan my meals ahead of time, but I also have healthy fast-food favorites, like the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad at Panera Bread. This way, I’m never caught off guard.

Share your transformation

Did you downsize? Tell us about your healthy change at health.com/i-did-it and let us know what diet and fitness strategies worked for you.

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15 Eating Habits That Make You Live Longer

Eat to 100: Discover the secrets to living long (and well) from the world’s healthiest people.

eat to 100

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by Dan Buettner

From Health magazine

For more than a decade, I’ve been working with a team of experts to study hot spots of longevity—regions we call Blue Zones, where many people live to 100 and beyond. They are the Greek island of Ikaria; the highlands of Sardinia; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, Calif., home of the highest concentration of Seventh-day Adventists in the U.S. Remarkably, we’ve learned that folks in all these places share similar rituals and practices surrounding food. (Hint: They don’t count calories, take vitamins or weigh protein grams!) After analyzing more than 150 dietary studies conducted in Blue Zones over the past century, we came up with a global average of what centenarians really eat. Here are 10 age-old diet tips to borrow from the longest-living people on the planet.

Related: The Best Anti-Aging Secrets

Next: Get 95% of your food from plants

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12 Swimsuit Season Diet Secrets

Dive into all the joys of summer €”and watch that winter weight melt away.

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by Aviva Patz

From Health magazine

From long hikes and dips in the pool to fresh berries and lingering daylight, there are so many reasons to love summer. Here’s one more: It’s the best time of year to lose weight, says Pamela Peeke, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and author of Body for Life for Women. “Nature is working with you,” she explains. “If you take advantage in the right ways, the pounds will practically fall off your body.” We reached out to a panel of pros for their advice on how to get in peak shape this summer without a lot of extra effort.

Next: Skip town

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10 Foods You’re Probably Eating Wrong

Just when you thought you were hitting it out of the park with your attempts to eat right, it turns out a handful of seemingly innocent habits could be sabotaging your efforts.

wrong food opener

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by Sarah Bruning

Even if you eat plenty of fruits and veggies and already know about the latest and greatest superfoods on the market, that’s only half the battle. The other half: understanding how to reap the biggest benefits from all that hard work. We asked a pair of registered dietitians to pinpoint the big mistakes that are preventing you from extracting the most vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat.

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No-Cook Meals You’ll Love

Too hot to turn on the stove? No need to—just make our yummy throw-together dinners!

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Recipes by Lori Powell

Too hot to turn on the stove? No need to—just make our yummy throw-together dinners!

Lobster Panzanella

Pick up cooked lobster from the seafood counter for the world’s easiest weekday treat.

Ingredients: Lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, ground black pepper, cooked lobster meat, cherry tomatoes, shallots, fresh chives, fresh basil, whole-wheat bread

Calories: 167

Try this recipe: Lobster Panzanella

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17 Ways to Lose Weight When You Have No Time

The scale doesn’t care how many hours you have in your day—only how wisely you spend them.

exercise-for-busy-people

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by Amanda MacMillan

If packing your lunch, cooking dinner every night, and getting to the gym regularly sound like things you’ll be able to do half past never, you may think that real weight loss just isn’t in the cards for you right now. It’s true: healthy weight loss can be a time commitment, especially if you’re overweight thanks to a job that keeps you sedentary for much of the day or a schedule that lends itself to fast food and unhealthy snacking.

Don’t throw in the towel just yet. You don’t need extra minutes in your day to eat less or to move more, the two basic pillars of weight loss. Here’s how to reevaluate the time you do have, and smart strategies to make dropping pounds easier, no matter how swamped you are.

Next: Ditch the all-or-nothing mentality

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