Diet Plans For High Cholesterol In Kids

By Ishana Deb, Contributing Writer
March 23, 2017
Diet Plans For High Cholesterol In Kids

The 21st century age of technology has been a godsend in regards to its contribution to the advancement of human knowledge. However, as we march on toward a bright and mechanistic future, our very existence seems to slowly arrive at a dead end. Along with increasingly advanced, user-friendly technology, lifestyle-related diseases are also sweeping the globe.

High cholesterol levels in the blood, a condition medically referred to as Hypercholesterolemia, is one of the most prevalent diseases across the world. Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), which is a genetically inherited condition of high cholesterol, is also paving its way through the populace.

A report published by the Familial Hypercholesterolemia Foundation states that 1 in around 200 to 500 people across the world has FH, with more than 600,000 patients residing in the United States alone. It also stated that people with FH are at 20 times higher risk of developing heart disease.

What causes hypercholesterolemia in kids?

causes Hypercholesterolemia in kids

One of the most common causes of high cholesterol in children is obesity. Deposits of excess fat in the body are become dangerous by placing a large amount of pressure on the internal organs.

Hypercholesterolemia is caused by the deposition of Low-Density Lipids (LDL) inside the arteries. The LDL is the “bad cholesterol” that enters the body through food. These compounds, while circulating through the bloodstream, stick to the walls of the arteries. Prolonged deposition leads to the formation of a hardened mass, called plaque.

High cholesterol in the body is a direct precursor of heart disease. The plaque obstructs the path of the flowing blood causing the development of pressure on the walls of the arteries, otherwise known as high blood pressure. If a blood clot is formed in the circulatory system, then it may not be able to pass through the narrow space left open by the plaque. This causes a heart attack.

Supplements to lower high cholesterol for children

Hypercholesterolemia can be overcome through the adoption of a healthy diet and exercise. There are several dietary supplements that can aid in the reduction of cholesterol in the blood. A few options are listed below.

  • Psyllium– Psyllium is a wonderful source of fiber that can help cleanse the digestive tract. This is of great use when it comes to the reduction of plaque in the arteries.
  • Soy– Soy is one of the best-known supplements to lower high cholesterol in children. It helps to easily reduce LDL and, in turn, plaque. Soy is extremely easy to incorporate into one’s diet since it is an extremely versatile nutrient found in a variety of foods.
  • Spirulina– Spirulina is extremely effective in helping to reduce LDL levels in the bloodstream. It is an excellent source of protein, and can be bought in either a powder form or as capsules.

Healthy food for children with high cholesterol

If you are a parent with a child suffering from high cholesterol or FH, then it is extremely important for you to have knowledge of the foods that can lower your child’s cholesterol levels. When your child is diagnosed with Hypercholesterolemia, your doctor will prescribe the required medicine, along with a nutrition plan and an exercise regimen to be followed with seriousness.

Healthy food for children with high cholesterol

It is mandatory to consult your doctor before taking up any kind of special diet or exercise routine.

Below is a sample one-day meal plan for a child with high cholesterol.

  1. Breakfast

    • Porridge (rice or oatmeal based)
    • A medium sized helping of fruit (banana to be consumed as frequently as possible)
    • A small helping of boiled lean meat like chicken
    • Vitamin supplements (if suggested by doctor)
    • A small helping of nuts (almonds, peanuts, walnuts, etc.)
    • Low fat cereal
    • Fresh fruit juice
  2. Mid-morning snacks

    • A couple of dried dates
    • Dark chocolate (amount as recommended by nutritionist)
    • A whole fruit (preferably banana, apple, watermelon or any citrus fruit)
    • A few high-fiber cookies
    • A protein bar (if recommended by doctor)
    • A small helping of cucumber
    • Iced green tea (with little or no sugar)
  3. Lunch

    • A helping of boiled whole grains (quinoa, rice, millets, etc.)
    • Boiled pasta
    • Grilled chicken
    • Grilled fish (low fat)
    • A generous helping of salad
    • Baked bean gravy
    • Lentil soup
    • Fresh sprouts
    • Stir fried green vegetables
  4. Afternoon snack

    • Low fat yogurt
    • Milk shake (use skimmed milk)
    • Homemade low fat cookies
    • Honeyed toast
    • Fruit salad
    • Meat soup (chicken or any lean meat)
    • Popcorn (non-flavored)
    • Sprouts
  5. Dinner

    • Grilled chicken sandwich
    • High fiber pasta
    • A medium sized helping of salad
    • Baked bean curry
    • Rice
    • Baked vegetables
    • A small helping of low fat pudding or ice cream

Exercise to reduce high cholesterol in children

In addition to a healthy diet, your child also needs to follow a strict exercise routine, as recommended by your physician. Physical exercise has been shown to be extremely effective in reducing LDL. In the long term, a report published by the WHO stated that a 10% reduction in blood cholesterol in men led to a decrease in heart disease by 50% in 5 years.

While most parents do their best in terms of feeding their children the foods that will lower their cholesterol levels and keep them healthy, they often struggle to get them involved in regular physical activity.

The best way to address this issue is to make exercise a family affair. Kids learn from their parents and siblings. Setting the example of a healthy lifestyle will slowly encourage your child to appreciate the importance of fitness, and follow in your footsteps.

There are several physical activities you can get your child involved in, that are fun as well as effective in reducing cholesterol levels.

  • Swimming
  • Track and field
  • Dancing
  • Cross Fit
  • Pilates
  • Biking
  • Gymnastics
  • Lawn tennis
  • Table tennis
  • TRX
  • Speed walking
  • Hikes and trekking
  • Aerobics
  • Mixed Martial Arts

Despite the health risks that today’s children face, with high cholesterol lurking behind poor diet, lack of exercise, genetics and an overall sedentary lifestyle, parents are empowered to take action to protect their child’s health. Making changes as a family toward a healthier diet and more active lifestyle can alter the trajectory of your children’s lives for the better.

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