I recently received a notification that my blood analysis revealed that my “good” cholesterol was too low and that I needed to make an appointment with my doctor. The email I received also said that I was at risk for a stroke or a possible heart attack! Of course I was alarmed and began to do some research for high cholesterol causes and I made the appointment. Now because of the current Pandemic the appointment was actually a video conference call but just as effective.
So when the time came for my appointment I was ready and had my questions prepared. It was a casual conversation and of course as doctors do, he began to ask me questions. He asked about my diet and exercise and if I smoked. I pretty normal when it comes to diet, I don’t smoke and never have. I just love fresh air and can’t tolerate smoke or being around smokers. Now when it comes to exercise, I’m not consistent as I should be. I do have a gym membership but because of Pandemic the gym is no longer open and the fees for the membership have been suspended. I think I’m going to cancel it anyway….it’s just to risky being around all of those people working out.
So what is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy fat substance found in your blood and in your cells. Cholesterol is necessary in order for your body to function properly. Cholesterol is involved in the digestive process and other body functions but too much can cause fat deposits in arteries and is the primary cause of heart disease. Excessive fat deposits in the arteries can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Your doctor can order a lab visit for you so they can take a blood sample which will yield your good and bad cholesterol levels.
HDL VS LDL
There are two different types of cholesterol; HDL and LDL. HDL is considered good and LDL is considered bad. Low Density Lipoproteins takes cholesterol from the liver and moves it throughout your bloodstream to all of the cells in your body. Any excess cholesterol goes back to the liver after the body uses what is needed. If that excess is too much it can start to clog the arteries with plaque and prevent the proper flow of blood to the heart and brain. The term for it is artherosclerosis. HDL or high density lipoprotein are considered the good cholesterol and is very dense but does not stick to vessels. It takes LDL out of your blood vessels back to the liver where it is removed.If your LDL is too high and the liver can’t handle all of it the excess can start forming plaque, a thick hard deposit that can block arteries and cause a stroke or hear attack. That’s why it is important to periodically have your blood checked and your cholesterol levels revealed.
GOOD CHOLESTEROL FOODS
A healthy diet is essential to maintaining good levels of cholesterol. There are many foods you can consume regularly to improve your cholesterol levels as well as there are foods you should avoid or minimize in your diet. Let’s take a look.
Dark chocolate is one of the best foods to consume in moderation to benefit your hear and lower cholesterol levels. It contains antioxidants that will even out your blood sugar levels and minimize plaque in arteries.
Oats and Barley will also help reduce cholesterol levels. They contain a lot of fiber which can make you feel full and lose weight but also lower your cholesterol. You can include oatmeal in your breakfast on a consistent basis to be healthier and lower your cholesterol.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Apples have about 4 grams of fiber which is effective in reducing your overall cholesterol levels. Apples also have soluble fiber which can help remove excess fat from the body. Just one apple per day can reduce LDL cholesterol up to 40 percent.
Salmon, high in Omega-3 fatty acids is a tasty fish that protects the heart against bad cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) have been proven to keep heart disease and other conditions in check. Consuming fish oil on a regular basis can help reduce your cholesterol levels and improve your overall health.
Avocados are also a source of good fat that can help increase your good cholesterol levels while also lowering your bad cholesterol levels. This creamy fruit is very popular and is considered to be a superfood for people who wish to lower their cholesterol naturally. The combination of this beta-sitosterol and the monounsaturated fats also contained in avocado are what makes this fruit an amazing cholesterol reducer. Be careful though, avocados are a little high in calories, so you want to consume them in moderation.
Beans, garlic, olive oil, spinach and even red wine are other foods that can help lower your cholesterol. In addition to food, daily exercise will also aid in reducing your cholesterol level. Remember to always consult your doctor before taking on a new regimen, especially if you’re up in age.
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