Cholesterol is a fat – or lipid – produced by the liver. This kind of fat is vital for our body for several reasons: 1) It converts sunlight to vitamin D, 2) creates new cell membranes, and 3) is essential for bile production, which is necessary for digestion.
Cholesterol on its own cannot travel in the body. That’s why it combines with proteins to form lipoproteins (remember cholesterol is a lipid; lipid + proteins = lipoproteins).
There are two kinds of lipoproteins: High-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). HDL is considered the good cholesterol, as it unclogs arteries of cholesterol and transports it to the liver for further processing or removal from the body. That’s where defecating comes in.
LDL is the opposite of HDL. It clogs the blood pathways of the heart. Having an excess of LDL in the body leads to heart disease, and in some cases diabetes as well. LDL can be found in fatty foods like burgers, pork, or sweets.
How then, can one lower the ‘bad’ cholesterol in your body for a healthier self? Surely, no one would like to spend a lot of money on medicine for diabetes or visits to your cardiologist. We’ll look at five ways to do that in this article.
Good physical activity lowers LDL and increases HDL. Exercising gets the blood circulating, meaning the ‘bad’ cholesterol will be flushed away from your heart. This also leads to greater heart health and a trimmer figure. 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day should do it. Physical activity also lowers your risk of death by 25% according to Dr. Thomas Pearson from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York.
- Eat foods that are high in fiber
Fruits, veggies, oats, beans, legumes, and grains contain no cholesterol. These are effective in absorbing LDL in your body like a sponge, according to Dr. James Beckerman, a practicing cardiologist in Portland, Oregon. Thus lowering LDL. Food high in fiber also brings up HDL.
- Quit the stick
Smoking increases your LDL and decreases HDL, according to Dr. Adam Gepner from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
- Use the right oils
Olive and canola oil are healthy alternatives to butter and other oils you use for cooking, as they lower LDL. As a bonus, using extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants which are beneficial to your heart.
- Get fishy
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish like mackerel, sardines, Albacore tuna, and salmon for better cholesterol levels. Fish contains omega-3 acids, which decreases the risk of dying from heart disease.