Cholesterol – The Heart Stopping Truths
Cholesterol isn’t all bad, just the bad kind…
Believe it or not, cholesterol is natural in our bodies and is a necessary building block for every cell in our body and is also an ingredient our body uses to make necessary hormones and vitamin D. Our bodies produce cholesterol naturally and we also take in cholesterol from foods that we eat. Plant foods are naturally 100% cholesterol free and animal foods such as meats, eggs, and dairy products all contain cholesterol. Our bodies are naturally able to produce all of the cholesterol we need and it’s not necessary to consume any cholesterol from foods. While cholesterol is natural and necessary in our body, high LDL cholesterol levels are associated with clogged arteries, heart disease, heart attacks, stroke, and other lifestyle related conditions.
LDL vs. HDL vs. Triglycerides:
LDL Cholesterol - Known as “bad cholesterol,” is associated with clogged arteries that can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
HDL Cholesterol – Known as “good cholesterol,” seems to protect against artery clogging and is thought to transport cholesterol to the liver for processing and use rather than being deposited in arteries.
Triglycerides – A fat in the blood stream that is also associated with clogged arteries, heart attacks, and stroke.
How to Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Follow a regular fitness routine
- Dont smoke
- Avoid processed foods- make fruits and vegetables the bulk of your meals
- Avoid a high carbohydrate diet and choose whole grain options whenever possible
- Eliminate trans-fats from your diet
- Include high fiber foods in your diet
- Eat fish regularly
- Limit alcohol consumption to no more than 1-2 drinks per day
- Manage stress
Because high cholesterol can go undetected for a long time, it is important to have cholesterol levels checked regularly by a qualified professional. If you have high cholesterol, make a plan with your health care provider and include the assistance of other professionals to help you reach your health goals. Although cholesterol can be affected by our genetics and family history, many people are able to lower their cholesterol to healthy levels by making healthy lifestyle choices alone.
For assistance in building a plan to improve your cholesterol, search our Merchant Directory for Nutrition, Fitness, Stress Management, Smoking, or Holistic Health services.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association, Wikipedia
Author: Tony Montijo, BS Kinesiology, CPT, CES