The Two Different Types of Cholesterol
Cholesterol plays a very important part of how good, or how bad our health is. As our cholesterol levels are linked with a lot of the functions in our health as well as being linked with numerous health conditions, people often monitor their cholesterol very carefully.
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However, if you don’t already know that there are two different types of cholesterol that are very different from each other. Being able to distinguish ‘good’ vs ‘bad’ cholesterol is important when it comes to managing our own cholesterol levels.
Types of Cholesterol
The two main types of cholesterol are High-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) Lipoproteins are made up of fat and proteins that help to carry the cholesterol throughout your body.
- High-density lipoprotein: Known as the ‘good’ type of cholesterol, it is beneficial for your health as it transports cholesterol to your liver so it can be expelled from your body. Sufficient intake of HDL cholesterol will help get rid of the excess cholesterol that ends up in your arteries.
- Low-density lipoprotein: Dubbed as the ‘bad’ type of cholesterol is the cholesterol you need to regulate and try to avoid. LDL cholesterol takes cholesterol to your arteries and builds up plaque within the arteries. This is known as atherosclerosis. This will increase the risk of blood clotting in your arteries. If a blood clot ends up breaking away and blocking an artery in your heart or brain, stroke or heart attack is likely to occur.
Causes of High Cholesterol
Foods that are high in trans and saturated fats will increase LDL cholesterol levels and build up in your arteries. Foods such as packaged foods, untrimmed meats, and fried foods are high in LDL cholesterol and should be cut down and replaced with foods that are high in HDL cholesterol such as whole foods, seafood, vegetables, and fruits.
2. Obesity or Being Overweight
People who carry excess amounts of weight are more likely to have higher levels of cholesterol. Having a larger waist circumference increases the likeliness of high cholesterol and heart diseases.
3. Lack of Physical Activity
Along with a poor diet, being inactive or having a sedentary lifestyle will leave increase weight gain and ultimately leave increase your cholesterol levels.
Other causes that have been linked to an increase in cholesterol levels include smoking, stress, and stress.
Managing Your Cholesterol Levels Through Diet
Diet is one of the most important factors to consider when managing your cholesterol levels. Along with positive changes to your lifestyle, eating a proper and healthy diet will help you to lower your LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol and boost your overall heart health.
Foods you should eat to lower LDL cholesterol include:
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
- Fatty fish
- Skinless poultry
- Whole foods
- Unsalted nuts
- Seeds and legumes
- Olive oil
Avoid these foods as they may increase LDL cholesterol levels:
- Processed foods
- Artificial flavours and sweeteners
- Full-fat dairy products
- Hydrogenated oils
- Tropical oils
- Fried foods
- Foods high in saturated and trans fats
- Untrimmed red meat
Although diet is one of the most important things to know when trying to manage your cholesterol levels, it sometimes may not be enough. It’s important to focus on improving other aspects of your lifestyle including:
1. Reduce Stress
Find ways to unwind and relax yourself to avoid stress or to limit them from reaching alarming heights. Pick up a new hobby that can help to remove you from stressful situations or pick up relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation.
2. Quit Smoking
Smoking is heavily linked with increased LDL cholesterol. Try to limit smoking, or quit altogether as it can negatively impact your health in several ways.
3. Exercise Regularly
Whether it be sports or just going for a stroll, try to be more physically active and maintain a healthy weight. If you can exercise well along with a clean diet, your chances of having high cholesterol will be significantly less.
4. Medical Attention
If you have significantly high cholesterol levels or find it difficult to manage given the above points, you can seek medical treatment to help you regulate cholesterol levels. Medications your doctor may prescribe you include injectable medications, cholesterol absorption inhibitors, bile-acid-binding medications, statins and among others.
Keep in Mind
If you are struggling to manage your cholesterol levels or have an existing health condition, particularly a heart problem, speak with your doctor immediately. If you already happen to have high cholesterol, be sure to get regular check-ups with your doctor to monitor your cholesterol levels.
Exercise and diet can help you manage cholesterol and boost heart health, but checking up with your doctor regularly will keep you on the safe side.
Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.
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