Understanding Cholesterol to Improve your Health and Lifestyle:
With health trends being the way they are, it is important to know the key facts when it comes to certain health topics. One thing that has caught on is a lower cholesterol diet. However, some people may be hurting their health with this lifestyle. Rather than focusing on no cholesterol at all, it is important to know what to cut down on.
Unlike other types of nutrients, cholesterol cannot dissolve into the bloodstream. Instead, they are carried out of the body by lipoproteins, which are made of fat and proteins. There are two types that carry the cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein or LDL, and high-density lipoprotein, or HDL.
Many people don’t know that there is such a thing as good cholesterol — the stuff that helps get rid of LDL cholesterol, or the bad stuff, from your arteries. Before deciding what to get rid of or include in your diet, there are four parts of cholesterol to understand, including the good and bad cholesterol.
LDL: Bad Cholesterol
If you are looking to reduce your cholesterol for a healthy lifestyle, this is the stuff you are looking to cut down on. This type of cholesterol contributes to plaque in your arteries. It is similar to the plaque that forms on your teeth — it’s a thick, hard deposit that forms. Unlike on your teeth, this can lead to clogged artiers and make them less flexible.
When this happens, it is called atherosclerosis. Simply put, clots can form and block a narrowed artery from all of that bad cholesterol, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Build up can also lead to buildup narrowing the blood flow to legs, known as peripheral artery disease.
HDL: Good Cholesterol
The good cholesterol can help against the LDL cholesterol, or the bad stuff previously described. This cholesterol acts as a sort of scavenger. Rather than building up in arteries, this cholesterol carries the LDL cholesterol down to the liver. Once in the liver, the bad cholesterol gets broken down and out of the body.
One-fourth to one-third of blood cholesterol is carried by the HDL cholesterol. Low levels of HDL has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. An easy way to make sure you have more good HDL cholesterol than bad LDL cholesterol is good nutrition, as dictated by a medical professional.
This is another type of fat which is used to store excess energy from what you consume. Patients with high levels of triglycerides often have atherosclerosis. Typical causes of this condition is obesity, smoking cigarettes, lack of activity, eating too many carbohydrates, and drinking too much alcohol. A simple way to avoid the condition is with good nutrition by means of a balanced diet and regular exercise.
This is a much less spoken of cholesterol, as it is a genetic variation of LDL. They are often lumped together, but Lp(a) is often associated with a significant risk of premature development of fatty deposits in the arteries. Unfortunately, not as much is known about this type of cholesterol, though it is thought to interact with substances found in artery walls.
Cholesterol Demystified: Good or Bad? Herbalife Nutrition Experts Share Simple Healthy Eating Tips
It may shock you to know that Cholesterol itself is not bad. Cholesterol is created and used by your body to stay healthy. Check out this video:
What are the news about cholesterol?
Certain foods can help bring down high cholesterol levels naturally, without the potentially dangerous side effects of statin medications. “By increasing your intake of soluble fiber you can significantly lower your blood cholesterol levels,” Gabe Mirkin, M.D., author of The Healthy Heart Miracle, tells Newsmax Health.
In fact, some people are able to reduce or eliminate statins by changing their diet.
Here are six super foods that can drive down blood cholesterol:
1. Oats. Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios. Look for oat cereals with 1-2 grams of soluble fiber per serving.
“Soluble fiber passes into your colon where bacteria break it down to form short chain fatty acids that help block the formation of LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, the ‘bad’ cholesterol which can cause arterial damage,” says Dr. Mirkin.
2. Beans. They are also rich in soluble fiber and take long to digest so you feel fuller, longer. So they’re an excellent choice if you’re looking to lose weight. There are many choices—from navy, garbanzo, lentils, black-eyed peas and beyond.
3. Nuts. Studies have shown that eating just 2 ounces of nuts daily can lower LDL. Although 80 percent of the calories in nuts come from fat, it’s unsaturated fat, which helps lower LDL levels, decreases risk of blood clots and improves the lining of your arteries. Walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are three excellent choices.
4. Foods fortified with sterols. Sterols and stanols are plant extracts that help prevent the body from absorbing cholesterol from food. Foods commonly supplemented with serols include granola bars and yogurt.
5. Fatty fish. Eating at least two servings of salmon, trout, mackerel or other cold water fish has many heart-healthy benefits.
6. Garlic. UCLA cardiologist Dr. Matthew Budoff has conducted exhaustive research on the heart-boosting benefits of garlic.
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