By Ric Wiley
Cholesterol, what is it? Cholesterol is a fat; well really a lipid but they are like fats. They are carried round our bloodstream and tend to be in two types, High density and low density. These are known as lipoproteins and are classed as HDL's and LDL's. Both these are part of your cholesterol.
Cholesterol which consists of HDL's, try to break up fat in the bloodstream and move this to the liver to be dealt with, whereas LDL's are the ones responsibly for clogging up your arteries and this leads to complicated health issues. For this reason it is important to ensure that you have a low level of the bad Cholesterol in your bloodstream. Whilst our bodies naturally produce Cholesterol one of the major factors in the levels of Cholesterol in our bodies is due to our diet. In other words a lot of the issues with Cholesterol are due to what you eat.
I am not planning on getting into an in-depth discussion on the range of values of Cholesterol which is best for your body, as this can vary between people. A younger person who has an acceptable level of Cholesterol but has family members who have had heart attacks when young may be classed as more at risk than a much older person who has a higher Cholesterol level depending on their fitness level and family history. There is no set rule when it comes to Cholesterol levels and advice should always be sought from your physician if you are worried about your Cholesterol levels.
What can you do about it?
One thing you have to remember is that a normal healthy body will produce all the Cholesterol that it needs without you adding to it through diet. Cholesterol is added to the body in many foods but the one major area to look at is fat intake. Unfortunately fat is in most products. There isn't very much fat in the donut you eat, but think about what it's been cooked in. all that fat has been absorbed during the cooking process and this can contribute to your Cholesterol level being raised. There are 3 types of fats and these are, saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, but what are they and how can they affect your Cholesterol levels.
Saturated fats are those which are usually animal based and tend to become solid at room temperature. Butter and lard are the classic examples but cream in milk is also a saturated fat. Yes I know it's not a solid but it is still a saturated fat and helps to raise Cholesterol levels. Another one is palm oil and this is widely used in pastries and cakes so watch out.
Monounsaturated fats are found in certain raw products the best known being olive oil. This is high in monounsaturated fat and has a high density of lipoproteins. Tests have indicated that people who regularly consume this type of fat tend to have lower Cholesterol levels than people who consume a lot of saturated fat. Indeed the Mediterranean countries, in particular Italy, consume a great deal of olive oil and their Cholesterols levels tend to be at lower levels than the US.
The remaining fats are polyunsaturated fats and these tend to be produced from vegetables, nuts and seeds. These have been combined with dairy products to produce products such as margarine and this was thought to be much healthier than products containing saturated fats when considering health issues surrounding Cholesterol. However, recent research has shown that the manufacturing process can cause the fats to become saturated and so they may not be as healthy as first though.
So what is your target if you are concerned about your Cholesterol level? A regular checkup with your physician is one thing but you need to help them to help you. Watch what you eat. Always read the label first before you buy your food. Look for products containing fats other than saturated fat, or fats with HDL's as these help to lower Cholesterol levels. You can also help your Cholesterol level by lowering your fat intake, the less you take in the less your body has to deal with which has to be a good thing. Obesity is also a problem and exercise also helps to lower Cholesterol. This also helps with weight problems in any case and has to be a good thing, but don't overdo it at first, take it gently. Coffee drinking and a high intake of sugars are also not very good for lowering Cholesterol. Sorry, but it looks like most of the things we all enjoy, including me, are not very good for our Cholesterol levels.
About The Author
Ric Wiley is an internet author and researcher. Check out his latest site at http://www.first-for-health.com.