Top 10 Diet Myths: Myth 7, Cholesterol is Bad for you
In the United States, an estimated 18 million mean and 24 million men have high cholesterol levels that put them at an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol can't be dissolved in the blood stream. Instead, it is transported by carriers call lipoproteins, back and forth to cells. Your total cholesterol count can be discovered with a blood test. The test will determine the amount of LDL (low-density lipoprotein, or the BAD cholesterol), HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or the GOOD cholesterol) as well as triglycerides and Lp(a) cholesterol.
What You Need to Know About BAD Cholesterol (LDL)
Whenever there is an overload of bad cholesterol, you put yourself at a major risk for negative health problems. The LDL can build up over time along the inner walls of your arteries that connect directly to the heart and brain. When other substances are present in the blood stream, plaque buildup can occur. Plaque is a hard and thick deposit that makes blood vessels less flexible and narrows the area blood has to flow through. When this happens, doctors will diagnose someone with atherosclerosis. This is especially dangerous because if a clot forms and blocks the blood passage, heart attack or stroke is a likely occurrence.
What You Need to Know About GOOD Cholesterol (HDL)
Up to one third of the cholesterol in blood is carried by high-density lipoprotein (HDL). HDL is considered the "good" kind of cholesterol due to its heart protecting nature. It seems to work to reduce the risk of heart attack by counteracting bad cholesterol as much as possible. If you have a low level of HDL in your body, you are more likely to develop heart disease.So, not only will this good cholesterol prevent heart attack, you NEED it to keep your heart healthy! Experts agree that this HDL carries cholesterol from the arteries where there is a danger for buildup, to the liver where it can then leave the body. Some researchers even think that HDL can remove some of that bad cholesterol buildup that has already been deposited in the arteries.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that the body produces. A high triglyceride level can be due to increased alcohol consumption, smoking cigarettes, being physically inactive or obese. A diet high in carbohydrates can be another reason for the overproduction of this bodily fat. Many people with diabetes or heart disease have a high level of triglycerides in them which means their LDL level is high and their HDL levels are low.
Lp(a) is the bodies version of bad cholesterol and is passed by genetics. When a high Lp(a) level is detected in the body, it could signify the increased risk and probability buildup in the arteries will occur at some point in life. Eat foods with HDL! This means grabbing oatmeal, nuts and fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Your body really NEEDS that good cholesterol so make your choices wisely and give your body what it deserves!