"Cholesterol" is a word that many people do not want to hear – especially from their doctor!
Whether your cholesterol report is good, bad, or something that needs to be monitored to prevent further concerns, here are five simple facts about cholesterol that may help you on your journey to having vibrant health.
As a note, seeking a health professional's advice is always the most important step that you can take.
1. It's Not All Bad!
There are two types of cholesterol, one is bad and one is healthy.
LDL Cholesterol – also known as "low-density lipoprotein". This type of cholesterol is considered as being "bad cholesterol". LDL cholesterol contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. A low LDL number is desirable.
HDL Cholesterol – also known as "high-density lipoprotein". This cholesterol type is considered “healthy cholesterol". It is beneficial because researchers believe that it helps to "scavenge" LDL cholesterol and remove it from your body (source). Higher levels of HDL are beneficial to overall health.
2. Lifestyle Choices Are Important.
The every-day lifestyle that you choose to live out impacts your heart health.
A sedentary lifestyle is a killer; Research shows that the more time spent sitting leads to higher mortality rates (source). Maintaining an active lifestyle is important, even if you work a busy desk job, make sure to spend time each day walking around getting sunshine.
Stay away from processed foods - foods made with white flour and white sugar are damaging to your overall health.
3. A Healthy Diet is Always the Right Choice!
A healthy body starts with a healthy diet.
In a recent study, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that more than 30% of participants on a diet of healthier foods experienced positive results relating to cholesterol (source)
Some foods are beneficial for maintaining good cholesterol health. These foods include healthy nuts such as almonds (raw) and walnuts. In addition, eating a good amount of fiber through food sources such as beans, dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale & spinach), and garlic is also beneficial.
A good example of a cholesterol-friendly eating plan would be a Mediterranean diet (learn more here). A Vegetarian diet is also a good option, you can click here to learn more about the benefits of a Vegetarian diet.
At Utzy, one of our core pillars for healthy living is to "eat food that is convenient for your body - not convenient food". Viewing food in this light changes the way that you consume food. If you haven't already, check out our article on the Seven Essentials For Healthy Living.
One of the most important nutrients to prioritize is fiber. In general, we tend to not get enough of it.
Dietary fiber known to help remove cholesterol from your body, you can learn more about this process here.
Recommendations of good sources of dietary fiber include soluble fibers (such as pectin or psyllium) and fibers that come from fruits and vegetables.
Nutritional experts suggest that it is especially beneficial to consume skins whenever possible, such as those from apples and potatoes (organic). If you have a busy daily schedule and struggle with getting enough fiber, taking a daily fiber supplement may be a good option.
5. Exercise is Beneficial.
Healthy eating is important, and just behind it on the scale of importance is regular exercise.
Researchers from Duke University found that the intensity of an exercise program seemed to correlate with raising the levels of HDL, or "good" cholesterol (source).
The reduction of LDL is also linked to exercise. The science is still unclear as to how. However, is thought to be linked with weight loss.
The Federal Government now recommends at least a 150 minutes each week of either moderate or intense aerobic physical activity for those 18-64 years of age. That comes out to about 20 minutes a day.
If you are looking to add exercise to your daily routine and are not sure where to start, check out our blog on How to Start Working Out.
Try out these tips and start living a more healthy, active lifestyle!
Daniel Powers (co-founder of Utzy Naturals) is a health fanatic and writer. He's currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Herbal Medicine. He's obsessed with learning how to live a healthier, happier life.