You probably know that foods high in cholesterol and bad for you can contribute to your risk of developing heart disease. However, you may not understand the distinction between high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). This article can help you navigate through the confusion that surrounds the terms associated with cholesterol.
Low-density lipoprotein is the so-called bad cholesterol. The most effective approach for decreasing the amount of these cholesterol particles in the body is decreasing the amount of fat in the diet. The collection of visceral fat within the abdomen and the increase in total body fat boost insulin resistance and increase the risk of developing diabetes. High-density lipoproteins decrease your risk of developing heart disease and other serious medical conditions by removing LDLs and triglycerides from your blood. A low concentration of HDLs in the blood increases the risk of developing coronary artery disease.
LDLs travel through the arteries, where they can remain and create plaque build up. High levels of plaque lead to arteriosclerosis, which narrow the arteries and interferes with proper blood flow. Plaques become susceptible to small ruptures, which lead to hardening of the arteries. A large rupture can cause stroke, heart attack or obstruction of the large arteries within the body but outside the heart and brain.
HDLs can decrease or even block the build up of plaque by removing cholesterol from the arteries and transporting it to the liver for proper metabolism and excretion. When plaque does not form, the arteries do not harden and the risk of developing heart disease is decreased. A diet high in fiber and monounsaturated fats increase HDL levels and decrease LDL levels. A diet low in trans fatty acids can also reduce your LDL levels.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables can decrease the risk of heart disease caused by LDLs. Scientists believe that low-density lipoproteins are basically harmless unless the come into contact with free radicals. Free radicals are created by cigarette smoke, ultraviolet rays from the sun, radiation and pollution. Antioxidants obtained from a variety of plant-based foods help the body battle the effects of these free radicals, including decreasing LDL levels.
Aerobic exercise can also help increase high-density lipoproteins and lower low-density lipoproteins. Exercise also decreases obesity, which is linked to a decrease in HDLs and an increase in LDLs. Once your cholesterol levels are in the acceptable range, it is important to continue exercising to maintain those levels.
Avoid processed food, which are high in saturated fats, to lower LDL levels. It is important to note that processed fats are often stripped of nutrients. Processed meats are usually high in triglycerides and LDLs. Many processed foods are also made with hydrogenated vegetable oil, a trans fat that reduces HDL’s and increases LDLs.
Avoiding trans fats can be difficult so you must take the time to read the ingredient listing on processed foods. It is best to eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in animal proteins to get your cholesterol under control and maintain proper levels. Cold-water fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower the risk of developing coronary artery disease by maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.