What to eat and what to avoid…
What you need to know
We all know that it is important, but what actually is it?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is mainly made within the body, some of which is produced in the liver and made from the foods that we eat which are high in saturated fats.
When we hear about cholesterol it is often associated with bad health, but it plays a vital role within the body in how every cell works. It is also the material which the body uses to make other vital chemicals. Even so, having too much cholesterol in the blood can be dangerous, and can increase your risk of getting heart and circulatory diseases.
Cholesterol has a special transport system for reaching all the cells that require it. It uses the blood circulatory system and vessels to do so.
You may have heard of Lipoproteins, these are combinations of cholesterol and proteins and there are 2 main types.
The 2 main types:
LDL- low-density lipoproteins.
LDL is known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol and carries cholesterol from the liver through the blood stream to the cells.
HDL – high-density lipoproteins.
These return extra cholesterol that isn’t needed from the blood stream to the liver. HDL cholesterol is a ‘good’ type of cholesterol because it removes bad cholesterol from the blood stream rather than depositing it in the arteries.
What are Triglycerides?
Triglycerides are another type of fatty substance found within the blood. These are found within foods such as dairy products, meat and cooking oils. People who are very overweight, eat a lot of fatty sugary foods or drink too much alcohol are more likely to have high triglyceride levels.
Total cholesterol is the total level of LDL, HDL and other fats found within the blood. A high level of cholesterol is one of the most important risk factors for coronary heart disease so it is important that we keep our cholesterol in check. One of the easiest ways is through out diet although other major factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Lack of physical activity
- Being overweight or obese
- Having family history of high cholestrol
The most common cause of high cholesterol in the UK is eating too much saturated fat. Your overall risk of a heart attack is much higher if you have high cholesterol as well as one or more of the other major risk factors.
So how can you improve your cholesterol level?
Doing regular physical activity – This can help to improve your cholesterol levels. You should aim to do at least 150 minutes each week. That’s 30 minutes per day at least 5 days per week which can be easily done in shorter bouts of 10 minutes at a time.
Choosing Healthier Fats
Try to cut right down on saturated fats and replace them with monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Also avoid foods containing trans fats wherever possible – these fats are most likely to be found in processed foods like biscuits and cakes, fats food, pastries and some margarines and spreads.
Eat foods that are high in fibre – These include foods such as whole grains, fruit, vegetables and pulses which help to lower total and LDL cholesterol by reducing the amount of cholesterol absorbed into the blood stream.
Eating plant based foods – Also foods with added plant stanols and sterols work to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the gut. Eating a range of unsalted nuts and eating some soy products can also help in reducing cholesterol.
Improve your health and wellbeing by lowering your cholesterol. Just watch what you eat to stay fit-2-work.
More News & Articles