The fight between good and bad cholesterol

There are ads on TV about oils that have less cholesterol and how some can even help reduce the cholesterol. But isn’t cholesterol present in oil? Then how can oil reduce something present in it? Let’s take a closer look at what cholesterol really is.

Cholesterol is a lipophilic, waxy (Oil-loving) compound and it cannot dissolve in blood. Due to this, it needs a carrier, these are called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are made up of fat and proteins and they carry the cholesterol to different parts of the body. There are three types of cholesterol, the good cholesterol – HDL or High-Density Lipid, the Bad cholesterol – LDL or Low-Density Lipid and triglycerides. Only the HDL and the LDL affect the cholesterol levels in the body. When the doctor says that a patient has high levels of cholesterol, that means that the LDL levels in the blood are high. Let’s understand both the types better.

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LDL- Low-Density Lipid is harmful to the body as it produces plaque in the arteries. This clogs them up and this leads to various heart problems. When the arteries are clogged, they become narrow and the fat content makes it very rigid. Due to this, the blood flow in the artery is affected and smaller amounts of blood can travel through a constricted artery. This causes a lot of strain on the body and the heart and this leads to atherosclerosis, heart attacks and various other types of heart diseases.

HDL- High-Density Lipid is really good for the heart as it reduces the LDL content in the body. LDL is very difficult to break down so HDL transports LDL to the liver, where is broken down and passed out of the body. It is also called a scavenger lipid as it scavenges for LDL. As this occurs in the body due to HDL, we should only consume food which has high amounts of HDL. This will prevent the formation of plaque by removing LDL from the arteries and thus save us from heart disease.

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Now that I have mentioned that we should eat food rich in HDL, let’s see a few foods that are.
Raise HDL - Lower LDL:
Foods like almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds, avocado, barley, quinoa, beans, lentils, pulses, fibrous or roughage containing foods, blueberries, oats, balsamic vinegar, red wine, fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, greens, walnuts, fenugreek, ridge gourd are some foods which are excellent in increasing HDL levels and decreasing LDL levels.
A healthy lifestyle is always appreciated with good exercise. Smoking increases the chances of heart disease. Consumption of lighter oils helps too as that contains a lot of HDL. With the change in diet and lifestyle, heart diseases are very common today. Stand out, eat better, beat heart disease.

Image Credit: http://dollison.weebly.com, shrinkinguy.com, savvyhealthfitness.com,MAP® Members

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