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January 1, 2010 at 9:27 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

HDL Moves Bad Cholesterol Out of Your Blood Vessels

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Cholesterol 101

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that the liver makes and it occurs naturally in the body and in the foods we eat. It doesn't mix with water and needs help to be removed from the blood stream. We need cholesterol. However, too much cholesterol can build up in our systems and have adverse health effects.

Why is Good Cholesterol and Bad Cholesterol?

Good cholesterol, also called HDL which stands for high density lipoprotein, works to remove the bad cholesterol from your blood and prevents it from building up in the heart. Bad cholesterol is also called LDL for low density lipoprotein, and is what builds up in your body and can cause heart disease.

What Happens if I Have Too Much Bad Cholesterol?

An excess of bad cholesterol, LDL, causes it to build up in your blood vessels and arteries, causing them to narrow and harden. This reduces the amount of blood that reaches your heart, brain and the rest of your body. Health problems stemming from high cholesterol include chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, stroke and arterial disease.

HDL Moves LDL Out of the Blood Stream

High density lipids, HDL, latch on and carry low density lipids, LDL, to the liver, which disposes them with bile. HDL's also prevent LDL's from building up in the blood stream. LDL's do the opposite. They actually deposit cholesterol onto blood vessel walls, and contain much more cholesterol than their high density counterparts. If you get confused, just think: HDL=Good cholesterol, LDL=Bad cholesterol.

Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol

There are many ways to lower your cholesterol. Diet and exercise are the most effective. A diet high in soluble fiber, found in oatmeal and oat bran, is very effective at removing bad cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids found in tuna, salmon, nuts and flaxseed are also great ways to restore health to your blood vessels and remove bad cholesterol. Avoiding fatty meats, and consuming low fat or skim dairy products are other easy ways of reducing cholesterol. Exercise not only increases your energy levels but, combined with weight loss, can shed the excess cholesterol from your system. Reducing stress and getting plenty of sleep can also work wonders for your body and your mind. Stress can cause long term health problems including a weakened immune system and weight gain, not to mention moodiness and inability to deal with minor problems.

Sources:

http://www.medicinenet.com/cholesterol/page4.htm#tocd

Photo Credit: aareps

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