Cholesterol, you’ve probably heard of it. Cholesterol is usually spoken of in a negative context. It is a “bad” substance, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and which you should be extremely careful of. That’s only half the story. In fact, our body also needs cholesterol as building block. An excess of the bad kind of cholesterol can be be harmful to the body. You usually don’t feel anything from a cholesterol level that is too high, but it does increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. So it’s important to keep this up. What types of cholesterol there are and what you can do yourself to maintain cholesterol levels, we will explain.
What is Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in our bodies in small globules. Most cholesterol is made in the liver and a small portion you get through food. The body needs it to function and transports cholesterol through the blood. In fact, cholesterol is used as a building block for cells and hormones and for the production of bile. So cholesterol is not all bad. There are several types of cholesterol. When measuring your cholesterol, the main focus is on LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. LDL cholesterol is what is called the bad” cholesterol cholesterol and HDL cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol.. That’s because the LDL particles build up in the blood vessels, making you more likely to narrow, while the HDL particles actually protect against cardiovascular disease by transporting excess cholesterol to the liver, where it is broken down. Triglycerides are the type of fat that the fats in your food are mostly made up of. They are used as an energy source and contribute to arteriosclerosis, as the clogging of your blood vessels is also called.
Healthy eating: fruits, fats, nuts and legumes
It seems like an open door, but eating healthy is one of the most important keys to keeping your cholesterol levels. By making conscious choices and paying attention to what foods you are consuming, you are ensuring that your body stays healthy. The same is true of cholesterol. There are several foods and nutrients, which have a positive effect on cholesterol levels in our body. Enough fruits and vegetables for example, is very important. The fibers in fruit (pectin) can make the LDL cholesterol in fact lowerwhich means you have less risk of cardiovascular disease runs. Also fats are important. Although one is often tempted to eliminate fat, this is not at all advisable. Our bodies need fats as a source of energy and building material, among other things. Do pay attention to what type of fat you are consuming. Products always contain a combination of saturated and unsaturated fats and saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol in your body. Therefore, replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats. In addition, there are also (Unsalted) nuts and pulses suitable to eat if you want to lower the level of LDL cholesterol. Legumes include brown beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas and split peas. They are also good substitutes for beef and pork, which are relatively high in cholesterol and saturated fats. A vegetarian or flexitarian diet therefore also fits very well.
Turmeric, garlic and sports
We previously wrote about the health benefits of turmeric and the active ingredient curcumin. One of those benefits is that turmeric is protective against cardiovascular disease. It keeps our circulatory system clean by acting as a blood thinner, inhibiting blood clotting and helping to prevent platelet aggregation. In addition, it has turmeric a cholesterol-lowering effect. Small studies show that curcumin has a positive effect on lowering blood lipid levels (both triglycerides and LDL cholesterol). Also garlic would have a positive effect have on lowering LDL cholesterol. Although this effect is small, garlic is also good for our cardiovascular system because it lowers blood pressure. In addition to diet, there are other ways to lower cholesterol and thus keep your body healthy and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Quitting smoking is an important one, for example. Among other things, smoking contributes to a poor vascular system and therefore to an increased risk of disease. In addition, there is also sports important, where it’s not just about losing weight. Although obesity is a risk factor, exercise in itself is also important because it lowers blood pressure and improves levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
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