What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is essential for life. It functions to help to keep our cells together. Cholesterol is both produced by the body and it’s also found in the foods we eat! We care about cholesterol as it is a major predictor of cardiovascular health. Years of research accurately support a good balance of cholesterol to promote good heart health. As you must have guessed, there are different types of cholesterol, and I like to think of them as ‘the good’, ‘the bad’, and ‘the ugly.’
Good cholesterol, also known as HDL-cholesterol, plays a major role in moving excess cholesterol and fat in the bloodstream back to the liver for disposal. It also has some super cool anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic and cytoprotective functions. Basically, it helps keep your blood and your heart happy and healthy!
Bad cholesterol, also known as LDL-Cholesterol works as a transporter of cholesterol, delivering it to the cells that need it. Now, why does it get a bad wrap? Because it also delivers excess cholesterol to your arteries, this is where it builds up and causes plaques or ‘atherosclerosis’. These plaques increase your risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.
Lastly, we have Triglycerides. Triglycerides are different as they aren’t produced by the body, we get these entirely from food to be used for fuel. However, they do circulate in the bloodstream and contribute to the plaques built up by LDL cholesterol in our arteries.
To keep a healthy balance of cholesterol we need to adopt some healthy lifestyle habits. These habits include:
Including moderate-intense exercise for at least 30 minutes every day
Eating adequate amounts of fibre
Avoiding a high intake of added sugars
Reducing your intake of saturated fat
Choosing foods that are rich in ‘good’ fats.
Cutting back on your alcohol intake
Get to or maintain a healthy weight
Manage other health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure
We are the experts in all of the above and have a plan that’s just right for you. So get in contact today to see how we can help you get your cholesterol back on track!