Cholesterol: Is it Good or Bad?

Cholesterol has been negatively associated with heart disease and strokes. To fully understand why it is often told to be avoided, first understand what it is and how it affects our body. 

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance created by the body to make hormones and aids in food digestion. It is waxy and fat-like in structure, which contributes to the known bad effects with which it is associated. Too much of it found in the blood can form plaque, which can stick to your arteries’ walls, leading to many diseases.

Good vs. Bad Cholesterol

Is there such a thing as good and bad cholesterol? 

Yes. Bad cholesterol, the commonly known type, is also called low-density lipoprotein or LDL. High levels of LDL create the plaque buildup in your arteries that leads to serious complications. Coronary artery disease (CAD) results when LDL reaches the arteries near the heart. The pathways harden and become narrow, making it difficult to pump blood to your heart.

Good Cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL, absorbs cholesterol and carries it to the liver, which flushes them from the body. High levels of this can help reduce health risks such as strokes and heart diseases. 

3 Tips to Lower Bad Cholesterol

  • Eat Healthier Food

When you choose healthier options as soon as now, it’ll pay off in the future. A well-balanced diet of fiber-rich food such as oats and beans with a mix of fruits and vegetables with good health components of their own can help lower LDL. Healthy oils such as those found in fatty fish and vegetable oil can also help lower LDL. Fish specifically has omega-3, which reduces triglycerides that are in the bloodstream. Soy is also a powerful competitor against bad cholesterol. Tofu, soy milk, and other soybean products can lower LDL by 4-5 percent.

Food to Limit or Avoid: Food that may increase LDL include, but are not limited to, fast food, fried food, sweets and desserts, and processed or canned meat.

  • Get Rid of Vices

Alcohol taken in moderation may help lower the risk of heart diseases. However, alcohol as a vice taken in excess furthers a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also lead to congestive heart failure, where the heart becomes too weak to pump blood in your system. Getting rid of the alcohol in your system may lower bad cholesterol and improve blood pressure considerably.

  • Stay Active

Proper exercise keeps the body moving, which has a significant effect on preventing heart disease. A proper routine set at least three times a week can lower your LDL cholesterol. Your health numbers can improve because you burn fat, lose weight, and gain muscle during exercise.