Fitness Chef Blog – Importance of Keeping Cholesterol Low
Cholesterol can be a confusing topic! You’ve probably heard someone talk about having high cholesterol at some point in your life, but what does ‘high cholesterol’ even mean?
Our bodies actually need some types of cholesterol to keep up our health and perform important tasks like making hormones and building cells. Cholesterol is carried throughout the body in the blood by two types of lipoproteins.
- Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is often what people refer to as “bad” cholesterol. High levels of LDL can lead to blood clots, a stroke, or heart attack.
- High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is what’s known as “good” cholesterol. HDL helps carry bad cholesterol back to the liver where it’s broken down and flushed out of the body. Having high levels of HDL have been shown to protect against heart attack and strokes.
A common myth is that you would be able to feel it if you had high cholesterol. There are usually no symptoms or signs of high cholesterol, and you may not know it until it’s too late. To keep our bodies healthy, it’s important to get your cholesterol checked every four to six years, unless your doctor states otherwise.
Besides routine checkups, there are plenty of other ways to be proactive about keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range.
- Know your family’s medical history. If anyone in your immediate family has high cholesterol, it’s a good idea to get tested more often.
- Get regular exercise. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. To simplify it, think 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week!
- Eat healthy. Think foods that are low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Eat healthier fats like lean meat, nuts, and unsaturated oils like canola and olive. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and limit your salt and alcohol intake.