Q: How is cholesterol linked to heart health?
A: Cholesterol is essential to your health, but too much of it can be harmful. Elevated blood total and LDL (or bad) cholesterol levels are major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease. The higher the blood total or LDL cholesterol level is, the higher is the risk of heart disease.
Q: How does elevated cholesterol affect the heart?
A: When your blood cholesterol level is elevated, you may gradually develop fatty deposits in the blood vessels that bring blood to the heart. These deposits can make it difficult for blood to flow through your arteries, thus leading to your heart not getting as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs to function properly.
This may cause pain or uncomfortable pressure in your chest (called angina or angina pectoris) and even a heart attack. Every second adult in the industrialized countries has elevated cholesterol levels. You can't feel it, so the only way to know what your cholesterol level is through a blood test. The earlier you know your own cholesterol level, the better. Why? Because when you know your numbers, you can actively improve them, if needed. Lifelong low blood cholesterol levels are strong predictors of good heart health.
Q: What is the role of LDL cholesterol in heart health?
A: LDL cholesterol is the bad type of cholesterol found in your blood. LDL cholesterol transports cholesterol to the inner wall of the arteries, and an elevated blood LDL cholesterol level may lead to the accumulation of cholesterol in the artery walls, resulting in the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the main underlying cause of cardiovascular diseases, such as a heart attack or stroke.
Q: How can I help my heart?
A: Combining an active lifestyle with smart nutritional choices keeps your heart happy. Eating a heart-healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and spreads with a healthy fat composition are important factors in keeping your blood LDL cholesterol levels low. Moreover, although physical exercise doesn't have a very big impact on your cholesterol levels, even a small increase in exercise does many other good things to your heart and helps it to stay healthy.
Q: How can Benecol® help my heart?
A: Benecol® products contain Plant stanol ester, which has been proven to lower your blood cholesterol levels. Plant stanol ester works by partly blocking cholesterol absorption in the digestive tract. A sufficient daily consumption of Benecol products lowers your cholesterol by 7–10% as quickly as in 2–3 weeks. What's more, daily use of Benecol together with your meals keeps your cholesterol level normal also in the long-term.