Cholesterol is a waxy substance which is found in the lipids (fats) in blood. It comes in two ways: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Low-density lipoprotein is known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, as it tends to build up on the insides of the arteries, blocking blood flow from the heart. If too much LDL builds up inside the arteries, this can result in a heart attack and stroke, both of which can be fatal and require emergency medical treatment.
Conversely, HDL is known as ‘good cholesterol’. While traveling around the body, it actually removes excess LDL and transports it to the liver for processing. In addition, HDL helps maintain the blood vessels.
LDL is still important for normal bodily function. It helps in the creation of cell walls, hormones, and digestive juices. But many people get far too much of it through the foods that they eat. According to the FH foundation (click here to visit), ‘every cholesterol-lowering strategy starts with your dietary habits,’ and eating a more balanced diet is the easiest way to improve your cholesterol levels.
Red meat, eggs, and dairy products are known to contain high amounts of ‘bad’ cholesterol, so limiting the consumption of these is a good start. Try and replace red meat with fish. Fish contains omega-3 which lowers LDL while increasing HDL. Meanwhile, try and replace cow’s milk with soy or almost milk. In addition, eating more food like grapefruits, beans, and avocados in moderation will help increase HDL.
It’s not all about food, though. Exercise is crucially important in lowering LDL, too. According to research analysis by Verywell (click here to visit), exercising at least three to four times per week for 40 minutes per session has been shown to increase HDL levels. Weight-loss, decreased stress, and higher energy levels are also great benefits of regular exercise. Compounding exercise with good dietary habits can potentially lower LDL cholesterol by 37% while increasing HDL by 5% in two months, according to the FH Foundation.
According to Mayoclinic, there are no symptoms associated with high cholesterol. It might be a good idea to go to your doctor for a blood test to detect high cholesterol, particularly if you are a heavy smoker, drinker, lack exercise and have a poor diet.
Featured image: Depositphotos / belchonockPosted on May 5, 2023