So what do you know about Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an actual molecule that floats around the blood. It’s not just the amount of cholesterol molecules overall that we need to be careful of, but what it’s combined with as it floats about! If it’s combined with the right things, it can actually do wonders for our arteries and heart!
So, along with cholesterol and other compounds, fats called ‘lipoproteins’ float around in the blood.
Lipoproteins are divided in two categories:
- HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” inside the arteries.
- LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol) is the kind found to accumulate in arteries hence them being bad.
I’ve explained that REALLY simply, it’s actually a lot more complicated than that!!
Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D, your sex hormones (e.g. estrogen and testosterone), as well as bile to help you absorb fats from your diet.
Its such an important molecule!
So remember, it’s not about how much cholesterol you have in your blood, but more about which kind – HDL or LDL.
While too much LDL (bad) cholesterol, compared with HDL (good) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, remember it’s not the only thing to consider when thinking about your heart health. Lots of other things factor into it too.
As with almost everything in health and wellness there’s a balance that needs to be maintained.
Of course, there are drugs that can lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol,(statins) but they don’t seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.
Here’s where nutrition and exercise comes in!
A huge way to impact your cholesterol levels and ultimately to lower your cholesterol is with diet. Eat loads of fruits and veggies – every single day, with every single meal and increase your intake of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines. Enjoy more avocado’s and cook with olive oil – use grass fed butters. Oh and by the way, the UK Government guidelines on the amount of eggs a day you can eat have now changed, so gone are the days when eggs and high cholesterol levels are associated. You are now ‘allowed’ to eat eggs!
And of course, by exercising and shifting some pounds, by stopping smoking and as I’ve just mentioned by eating better quality fats is all going to help too.
Immediately ditch over-processed ‘non’ foods such as margarines, and ‘fake’ butters (which are known “trans” fats). Ignore statements on products like these promising to lower cholesterol. Steer clear, and remember the more natural foods you eat, the healthier you will become – the more processed foods you consume the further you will move away from nature and therefore health.
The science of cholesterol and heart health is really complicated but there’s no need to be as afraid of it. There’s a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.
Just remember…don’t start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor first and on a daily basis choose natural foods over processed.