A type of fat located in the body, cholesterol is essential to the production of hormones, digestion of food, and building of cells. However, too much cholesterol is linked to a variety of health issues.
To ensure you maintain your cholesterol at a healthy level, you should monitor every type of cholesterol.
The first is high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and is often referred to as the healthy kind as it is responsible for helping to remove extra cholesterol from your body. The second is low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and is known as the bad type as high levels of LDL are linked to many diseases. Fortunately, for individuals with high cholesterol, there are a variety of things they can do to address this health issue, including exercise and changing what they eat.
Increasing the amount of physical activity you engage in each week is a great way to lower your cholesterol. In fact, ensuring you engage in some moderate physical activity on most days can actually help to increase your healthy cholesterol levels, that is, your HDL. Further, research has shown that exercising a minimum of 30 minutes at least five times a week can help increase HDL levels. You can increase the amount you move each day if you include the following in your daily routine.
It is a common assumption that reducing overall fat intake will help to reduce high cholesterol. However, research has shown that although following a low-fat diet can reduce your LDL levels, this approach can also result in a reduction in your HDL levels. Conversely, participants who followed a diet that included either an increase in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats experienced a reduction in LDL levels and an increase in HDL levels.
Adding some of the following monounsaturated fats as well as polyunsaturated fats into your diet is an easy way to gain process in lowering your cholesterol.
Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that is not digestible. However, the healthy bacteria that are located in your gut are capable of digesting this type of fiber. In fact, these bacteria, also referred to as probiotics, need soluble fiber to maintain the health of your gut while also helping to reduce the levels of LDL in your body as they actually help block your body from absorbing cholesterol. Additionally, research has shown that individuals taking statins to lower their cholesterol experienced a boost in a reduction of their LDL levels when soluble fiber was added to their diet.
You can easily add soluble fiber to your daily routine by including psyllium, which is a form of soluble fiber. However, if you prefer to increase your intake of soluble fiber via your diet, there are a variety of sources available.
It is well known that smoking causes serious and often life-threatening lung damage. However, what may not be as commonly known is the fact that smoking complicates the way in which your body interacts with cholesterol. For instance, research has shown that individuals who smoke experience a decrease in their immune cells' ability to return cholesterol to the blood and eventually to the liver. This inability to remove unused cholesterol from the body in a timely fashion is thought to contribute to a quicker buildup of plaque in the arteries. In fact, studies have shown smokers to have a lower level of HDL and an increased level of overall cholesterol. However, it is important to note that stopping smoking can reverse these negative effects, and the body can resume its natural ability to remove unwanted cholesterol from the body.
Manufacturers add trans fats like partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and hydrogenated oil to food to help their product last longer, making it easier to ship over long distances. Additionally, trans fats do not provide any nutritional value. Even worse, trans fats contribute to the increase in the level of LDL in the body while decreasing the levels of HDL your body needs to remain healthy. Trans fats are commonly found in baked food that use shortening or margarine. Processed foods are another big contributor of trans fats.
Fortunately, you can easily avoid trans fats by reading the labels on the foods you buy. If a food contains trans fats, you should avoid consuming it.
Although moderate alcohol consumption among adults has been linked to increased HDL levels, research has not revealed strong enough benefits that warrant the recommendation to begin consuming alcohol if you do not already drink. If you currently consume alcohol, it is highly recommended that you keep your consumption to a moderate level. To ensure your alcohol consumption remains in the moderate range, you should adhere to the following daily guidelines.
Individuals who are overweight can reduce their LDL levels by losing weight. For instance, a study that compared three different diets designed for weight loss showed that all participants who lost weight, no matter the specific diet, also experienced and increase in their body’s ability to absorb cholesterol and a reduction in the creation of cholesterol. Additionally, participants' HDL levels increased while LDL levels remained stable and overall cholesterol levels were reduced.