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Nutrition: Cholesterol, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1427

Essay

Problem Statement

I was diagnosed with high levels of cholesterol. This wax-like, fatty substance is made in liver and is found in certain foods like eggs and dairy products. Although cholesterol is essential to aid the functionality of the human body, it only needs a small amount. Too much cholesterol could result in health problems, such as heart disease (Shils, Shike, Ross, Caballero, & Cousins, 2005). For instance, too much cholesterol could result in the formation of plaque in the arteries, which then restricts blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow to the heart causes hardening of the arteries, which results in heart disease (WebMD, 2011).

Background

Cholesterol is divided into four categories: low density lipoproteins (LDL); high density lipoproteins (HDL); very low density lipoproteins (VLDL); and triglycerides. A lipoprotein is the cumulative name for cholesterol that is attached to a protein and its density is determined based on how much protein is present in relation to fat. Cholesterol levels are affected by diet, exercise, weight, age, and gender. Saturated fat in foods increase cholesterol levels, physical activity can lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol, being overweight increases cholesterol, and cholesterol levels increase with age. High levels of cholesterol are also sometimes hereditary (WebMD, 2011). Other factors that contribute to high cholesterol are stress, chronic anger, or hostility, suppressing psychological distress, anxiety, depression, social isolation, low socioeconomic status, and drug and alcohol intake (Insel & Roth, 2011, p. 287). These are risk factors that can be changed. By implementing an improved diet and exercise plan, I plan to lower my levels of cholesterol.

Solution

According to Insel & Roth (2011), the average person will consume nearly 60 tons of food during the course of their lifetimes. It is therefore crucial that a person eats food that will support his or her health. The human body requires roughly 45 essential nutrients; so called because the body cannot produce them. These essential nutrients are composed of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water (Insel & Roth, 2011). In order to maintain a healthy life, I have to lower my levels of bad cholesterol. This is possible through an improved diet and exercise plan.

Nutritional and Physical Exercise Goals

Nutritional Goals

  • Consume more omega-3s – the American Heart Association recommends that an adult should receive 0.6 to 1.2 percent of his or her energy from omega-3 oils and 5 to 10 percent from Omega-6 oils. A method to achieve this includes substituting canola oil for corn oil when cooking.
  • Reduce levels of saturated fat intake – the Food and Nutrition Board recommends that as little as possible saturated fats should be consumed. A healthy diet should only consume unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are found in fatty meats, such as poultry, and in butter and cheese.
  • Increase whole grains intake – consumption of whole grains has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer. Examples of whole grains include popcorn, brown rice, and oatmeal.
  • Increase fiber intake – although humans cannot digest fiber, it is essential to good health. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that adult women consume 25 grams of fiber daily. Fiber is found in fruits, oatmeal, brans, and cereals (Shils et al., 2005).

Exercise Goals

  • Increase flexibility – regular flexibility exercises will contribute to limber joints and improved overall well-being. Training should take place at least two to three times weekly.
  • Increase cardiorespiratory endurance exercise – regular cardio exercises strengthens the heart. Training should occur three to five times weekly for 20 to 60 minute sessions.
  • Increase strength training – increased muscle strength improves metabolism to maintain a healthy body weight. Training should take place two to three times weekly on nonconsecutive days.
  • Increase moderate intensity physical activity – increased physical activity promotes weight loss and prevents weight regain. Training should take place at least 150 minutes weekly, or 60 to 90 minutes daily(Insel & Roth, 2011).

Actions to Meet Goals

In order to attain the aforementioned goals, a diet and exercise plan has been developed. According to MyPyramid, a female aged 31 to 50, with a moderately active lifestyle, should consume roughly 2,000 calories daily. The following diet plan will adhere to those standards.

Diet Plan

Day Breakfast Snack Lunch Snack Dinner Snack
Monday 3 oz of oatmeal

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 apple

1 cup water

1 serving grilled chicken

1 serving black beans

1 cup water

1 cup raw almonds

1 orange

1 cup water

1 cup spinach

1 cup rice

1 serving lean meat

1 cup milk

1 slice toast with peanut butter

Tuesday 3 oz of cereal

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 banana

1 cup water

1 serving salmon cooked in 1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup 100% juice

1 pear

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup water

1 cup broccoli

1 cup diced red potatoes grilled in 1 teaspoon canola oil

1 serving grilled chicken

1 cup milk

 

Wednesday 1 slice toast with 1 teaspoon peanut butter

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 apple

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup water

1 cup diced lean beef

1 cup steamed carrots

1 cup 100% juice

1 cup water

1 cup seedless grapes

2 whole grain crackers

1 cup water

1 cup spinach

1 serving grilled chicken

1 cup yellow squash

1 cup water

1 cup milk
Thursday 3 oz of oatmeal

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 apple

1 cup water

1 serving grilled chicken

1 serving black beans

1 cup water

1 cup raw almonds

1 orange

1 cup water

1 cup spinach

1 cup rice

1 serving lean meat

1 cup milk

1 slice toast with peanut butter

Friday 3 oz cereal

1 cup milk

1 apple

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup water

1 serving turkey sausage

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 cup 100% juice

1 cup water

1 banana

1 cup water

1 serving lean beef grilled

1 cup grilled asparagus

1 glass red wine

1 cup water

1 cup milk

1 square dark chocolate

Saturday 3 oz of cereal

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 banana

1 cup water

1 serving salmon cooked in 1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup 100% juice

1 pear

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup water

1 cup broccoli

1 cup diced red potatoes grilled in 1 teaspoon canola oil

1 serving grilled chicken

1 cup milk

 

Sunday 1 slice toast with 1 teaspoon peanut butter

1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 apple

1 cup raw almonds

1 cup water

1 cup diced lean beef

1 cup steamed carrots

1 cup 100% juice

1 cup water

1 cup seedless grapes

2 whole grain crackers

1 cup water

1 cup spinach

1 serving grilled chicken

1 cup yellow squash

1 cup water

1 cup milk

Exercise Plan

Day Exercise Time
Monday Strength training (bicep curls, push-ups) 30 minutes
Tuesday Swimming

Flexibility training (side lunge and calf stretch)

20 minutes

20 minutes

Wednesday Walking 30 minutes
Thursday Strength training (abdominal curls, calf raises) 30 minutes
Friday Bicycling

Flexibility training (step stretch and hurdler stretch)

20 minutes

20 minutes

Saturday Moderate-intensity (wash the car) 60 minutes
Sunday Moderate intensity (work in the yard – rake leaves) 90 minutes

Anticipated Setbacks and Solutions

The most anticipated setback involves adhering to the diet plan. I am not an overly unhealthy eater; however, it may be difficult to resist the urge to snack on a candy bar, instead of a healthy snack. This will be overcome by packing my snacks for the day and preparing my meals the day before. That way I will adhere to my diet plan without altering my schedule too profusely. Also, since I have implemented a daily exercise routine into my schedule, it will be important to drink more water. Exercise leads to sweating, which in turn depletes the body’s water supply. This could lead to dehydration (Insel & Roth, 2011). In order to prevent this from happening, I added water intake as part of my diet plan.

Outcomes by which to Measure Success

The success of the diet and exercise plans will be measured by the improvement of my overall wellbeing. I will notice desirable weight loss, improved mood, increased ability to concentrate, higher energy levels, and, ultimately, lower levels of cholesterol.

Current LDL cholesterol level is 180. After five months of adhering to the diet and exercise plans, levels should drop below 120 in order to establish optimal cholesterol levels. If the plan is not implemented correctly, LDL levels may rise to above 190. This could result in blocked arteries, which could lead to more serious complications. For the benefit of my own health and to ensure longevity, I have no choice but to stick to the diet and exercise plans.

Works Cited

Insel, P. M., & Roth, W. T. (2011). Connect Core Concepts in Health Brief Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Shils, M. E., Shike, M., Ross, C. A., Caballero, B., & Cousins, R. J. (2005). Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease (Modern Nutrition in Health & Disease) [Hardcover]. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

WebMD. (2011). Cholesterol Management Health Center. Retrieved from webmd.com: http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/cholesterol-basics

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