Among the many factors that a doctor will test during an annual check up is cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a wax like substance that is found within the blood. A certain level of cholesterol is necessary to help build healthy cells within the body. However, like many other things, too much can be dangerous and increase one’s risk of heart disease. The fatty deposits that cholesterol leaves in one’s blood vessels can hinder blood flow and form clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
Cholesterol is carried through the bloodstream by attaching itself to proteins. The cholesterol combined with the proteins is referred to as lipoprotein. The different types of cholesterol are based upon what the lipoprotein carries. A low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is what is considered the bad cholesterol. This is the cholesterol that builds up within the artery walls and narrows the passage for the blood stream. The good cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) actually picks up excess cholesterol in the artery walls and takes it back to your liver. Having high cholesterol has no symptoms and can be inherited. There are times when medication needs to be administered in order to maintain a healthy cholesterol level.
However, more often than not, high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol are typically results of being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet, and lack of regular exercise. Thankfully, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels may be reduced by consuming the following foods:
1. Oats and Fiber
Oatmeal and high fiber foods such as apples, kidney beans and brussels sprouts can help to break down the bad cholesterol in one’s body.
2. Fish and omega-3s
Fish and other foods that are high in omega-3 can help reduce triglycerides within the bloodstream.
Avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which can help lower bad cholesterol levels.
4. Olive Oil
Using olive oil in place of butter when cooking can greatly reduce the amount of clogging within the arteries.
5. Whey Protein
Often found within dairy products, whey protein can lower both LDL and total cholesterol levels as well as greatly reducing blood pressure.
6. Keeping you diet balanced
Eating a well balanced diet and increasing one’s activity level can keep the heart healthy and bad cholesterol levels down. Living a healthy lifestyle overall will provide a way to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. If one is concerned, it would be best to consult a doctor if one has any family history of heart problems or high cholesterol levels.