How’s your Cholesterol Level?
“I shouldn’t eat shrimp, because of my cholesterol!” Does this sound familiar to you? We probably all know someone who at one point began changing their eating habits because they were told their cholesterol levels were high. We hear things like: eating eggs, shrimp and fried foods are bad because they contain a lot of cholesterol. But do we really understand what having high cholesterol means? Or what the possible causes for it are and how it can be reduced? Better yet, do we understand that cholesterol is necessary for our bodies, but there is good and bad cholesterol? Here’s a brief overview that will hep answer all these questions.
The human liver generates cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D and support digestion, which are essential for the body to function properly. But cholesterol is also found in meat, poultry and dairy products and if you eat a lot of these products you can cause the levels of cholesterol in your body to increase drastically.
Good Cholesterol vs. Bad Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol, good and bad cholesterol. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is known as the good cholesterol because it transports cholesterol to your liver to be expelled from your body. HDL helps your body get rid of any excess cholesterol, so that it doesn’t end up in your arteries.
On the other hand, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is known as bad cholesterol because it takes cholesterol to your arteries, where it can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Which can increase the risk of blood clots in the arteries and reduce blood flow and oxygen to major organs. This can lead to a kidney disease and an increased risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.
What are some causes of high cholesterol?
- Having a diet high in red meat, full-fat dairy products, saturated fats, trans fats, and processed foods
- Having a large waist circumference (over 40 inches for men or over 35 inches for women)
- Lack of regular exercise
What can we do to prevent high cholesterol?
- Eating a healthy diet
- Regularly exercising
- Reducing stress in your life
- Not smoking
- Using Medications and supplements to reduce triglyceride levels such as niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, and fibrates.