Because cholesterol is usually spoken about in nothing but the negative, it’s important to distinguish that there are in fact different types. Let’s look at the broad strokes: cholesterol doesn’t dissolve in your blood and is transported through your bloodstream by lipoproteins, which, if you haven’t guessed from the title, are comprised of lipid (fat) and proteins. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol to and from your cells?
LDL (or low-density) cholesterol is the bad kind. This is because it contributes to the deposits that can not only make your arteries less flexible but can also clog them.
HDL (high density) cholesterol is good for you because it helps to remove the bad LDL from the arteries. HDLs essentially remove LDL to the liver where they are broken down to be passed from your body.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that store your excess energy. A lack of exercise, smoking, and obesity are reasons for high levels of triglycerides. When these levels are high it’s usually a sign of higher LDL and lower HDL.
How Can You Lower Your LDL Cholesterol?
A 2012 Harvard study found that exercise alone doesn’t lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels. Adding aerobic exercise has been proven to enhance the effect of lowering lipids, but the foundation of lowering your bad cholesterol comes from a healthy diet that is good for your heart.
To begin, let’s identify the causes and what to avoid. This means saturated and trans fats. You can do this by checking food labels and knowing where they might inadvertently wind up in your diet. Saturates fats can be found in meat, seafood and dairy products, which are sources of many good nutrients your body needs. Saturated fats can increase your cholesterol and LDL. Because of that, it’s a good idea to find substitutes, such as switching butter for veg oils and having chicken instead of red meat.
Likewise, try to knock trans fats on the head, which increases your total bad cholesterol and lower the good kind. These are found in processed and fried foods, meaning fast food and takeaways are out of the question.
Replacements For The Foods That Increase LDL?
By eating more polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats you can raise HDL and lower LDL, so be on the lookout for more recipes that get canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados into your diet.
It’s not all about sacrifice and what you can’t have; instead, it’s about eating what you need and knowing what the right fuel is. For example, whole grains, rice, and oats are excellent sources of fibre that your body breaks down over a longer period. This means that they’ll fill you up and keep you feeling hungry for longer while providing the energy you need to get on with your day-to-day.
It’s often the case that lower fat or no fat substitutes are not ideal for your cholesterol levels as manufacturers replace the fat with higher levels of sugar. This is where your five-a-day comes in. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, fill up on fruits and veg, which contain many ingredients that help to lower your cholesterol.