Cholesterol is an essential facet to a healthy body. It is required to produce hormones and build cell membranes. While your body produces about 75 percent of the cholesterol that is found in an individual’s blood, cholesterol is part of any healthy diet. This cholesterol, which is dubbed as “good” and clinically known as high-density lipoprotein, comes in the form of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
While many people think consuming fat in their diet is bad, these types of fat are a necessity, and very good for you. These include:
- Plant-based oils (like olive, canola, for example) are forms of “good” fat and should be used whenever cooking
- Omega 3 sources – like fish, some nuts. Consuming omega 3 fats is essential to a person’s diet as the body cannot produce these itself.
The “bad” fats, namely low-density lipoproteins, are called saturated and trans fats. These are unhealthy and will increase the risk of developing certain diseases.
How do you avoid the “bad” fats? It is simple. Simply do not eat fried foods, too many baked goods and read labels when grocery shopping to ensure there are no trans fats in the product. Other tips include:
- Drinking low-fat milk
- Switching from butter to margarine
- Eating lean meat
High cholesterol levels in a person’s blood (meaning too much low-density lipoproteins or “bad” fats) can cause the following diseases.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Increases chance of having a stroke
If a person is found to have high levels of cholesterol in their blood, which may be determined with a blood test, they can lower these levels by having a healthier diet (including more “good” fats), excercising and/or losing weight. Some may be prescribed medication. The most common type of medication used to treat high levels of cholesterol are statins. Find out more about cholesterol medication.
Click here to read common misconceptions about cholesterol, and find out whether you are at risk.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton had a bypass due to his cholesterol problem.
Image: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/930547Tags: brain cholesterol diet heart