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Answers from the BJC Experts

Ask the BJC Expert allows you to get the answers you need about a variety of health, medicine and exercise issues to help you live a more healthy life.

Please browse the most recent questions below or use the search the questions feature to see if the answer to your question is already given. If not, please submit a new question for our experts.

I have been a vegetarian for 10 years yet my cholesterol is 246 (HDL= 58). My father has heart disease in his family and my mother has high triglycerides. Are these factors the culprits? What can I do?

Genetics does play a role in heart disease and elevated cholesterol. Your HDL is very good; and high HDL can be what is called a negative risk factor.

If you are a vegetarian who eats cheeses, whole eggs and dairy products, these foods could be affecting your cholesterol. To combat your total cholesterol, eat a diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Foods such as oatmeal, apples and beans provide soluble fiber, which can help lower your cholesterol.

Limit high-fat foods and snacks, such as chips and sweets. Select pretzels or graham crackers to lower fat and cholesterol. You also want to look at saturated fat — found in cheeses, cream cheese and chocolate.

Nutrition counseling services are available at several BJC facilities including:

BJC dietitians also can be located by calling Help For Your Health at 314.747.7234.

If you live outside the BJC HealthCare service area, you can find a nearby registered dietitian at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

Check the American Heart Association's online Nutrition Center or go to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website.

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