Here’s the thing about cholesterol: It’s not all bad, per se. As humans, we need a certain amount of cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D, and chemicals that enable us to digest foods. If your HealthLynked provider has warned you about your “LDL,” then it’s time to level up your knowledge and learn the difference between good and bad cholesterol as you start your journey to wellness.
Cholesterol is a lipoprotein, a fatty substance found throughout your body. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is the “good” cholesterol expelled through the liver after helping to create the hormones and chemicals we mentioned earlier. HDL levels dropping is just as harmful as LDL levels rising. LDL and VLDL are the two types of “bad” cholesterol. Both contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries. The good news is, most cases of high cholesterol relate to lifestyle, which means it’s within your power to change for the better. Here’s what you can do to keep yourself healthy.
Exercise to Lower Cholesterol
The truth is that we don’t know why exercise lowers cholesterol. Exercise benefits are numerous, making it difficult to quantify exactly where the magic is happening. Is it the enzyme stimulation, weight loss, or increased metabolism that causes LDL to separate from blood vessels and move into the liver? Experts are still studying the effect, but one thing is for sure: The more you move your body, the more “bad” cholesterol you lose.
Quit Smoking Today
When you smoke, you may as well cordially invite high cholesterol and risk of heart attack to take up residence in your body. Smoking causes HDL to drop and LDL to rise, leading to more plaque buildup and a greater chance of heart attack.
Switch to Olive Oil & Cut All Trans Fats
Trans fats lower HDL and lead to a greater amount of LDL, the plaque-causing cholesterol. Butter is another common culprit. If you need to lower your cholesterol fast, cut the trans fats from processed and fried foods, margarine, and sweets. Start cooking with extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants and good fats that promote heart health.
Replace Sugary Snacks with Nuts
Did you know that most kinds of nuts lower LDL? Nuts contain phytosterols, a naturally occurring substance in plant membranes that’s a lot like cholesterol found in humans. That’s why these sterols can interrupt the digestive process and stop your body from absorbing bad cholesterol. Nuts are essential to any low cholesterol diet, just remember that most also contain an average of two hundred calories per serving.