The things you eat can make you healthy or unhealthy. For most people, diet is the single biggest factor affecting their health. Everyone loves talking about eating and foods, so we will get to that in a minute. Plus, even many kids these days know to watch their good and bad cholesterol levels.
First, let’s discuss cholesterol, exactly what it is, and then look at some foods you should be eating to keep your cholesterol levels healthy and also raise the good cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance and is naturally found in every cell of your body. If this is a natural component that is found in all of us, in every cell, why are we told it is a bad thing? Let’s take a look.
There are 2 different components of cholesterol which naturally exist in a healthy ratio. Your body makes plenty of cholesterol on its own, and you use this to make vitamin D, hormones and some of the substances and chemicals that help you digest food.
Aside from naturally occurring, there are different types of cholesterol found in some of the foods you eat. Cholesterol is made up of low density lipoproteins and high density lipoproteins. You are considered to have healthy cholesterol levels when they are in balance.
Introducing The “Bad” Cholesterol, LDL
It is a shame low density lipoproteins have developed such a bad reputation in the health, nutrition and fitness industries. As we just mentioned, LDL is absolutely essential for human existence. You must have some of these types of proteins in your body. The problem that gives LDLs such a bad name is when this type of protein exists above a healthy level.
High levels of LDL as opposed to HDL (who you will meet in a minute), can create a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. When these arteries are blocked or backed up, blood does not flow as freely.
This means your heart has to pump extra-hard to push blood through those arteries to all of the parts of your body. This is how LDL causes heart problems. Your heart has to work overtime, and if your LDL levels are high for an extended period of time, you raise your risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
HDL, the Good Guy Cholesterol
Now that you have met the arch-villain of the cholesterol process, let’s introduce you to the “good” cholesterol. As we explained earlier, LDL and HDL are not cholesterol. They are proteins that carry cholesterol throughout your body.
In most cases though, people will refer to LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. Just bear in mind that they are referring to the low-density or high-density proteins which distribute cholesterol through your body.
HDL, or high density lipoproteins carry cholesterol and plaque buildup from your body back to your liver. Your liver’s primary function in life is to act as a filter. Your liver continuously filters your blood supply.
It removes toxins, poisons and other negative chemicals and components that would otherwise do damage to your body, and sends them to your elimination process for removal. Since HDL sends cholesterol to your liver for healthy filtering, it is seen as the good cholesterol to LDL’s bad.
What Foods Should You Be Eating to Promote a Healthy Cholesterol Level
There are foods which automatically and naturally keep your HDL and LDL proteins in a healthy ratio. Eat more of the following foods and you lower your risk of coronary heart disease related to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
” Extra-virgin olive oil
” Beans and legumes
” Whole grains
” High-fiber fruits like apples, pears, prunes and avocados
” Wild caught, fatty fish such as mackerel, albacore tuna, sardines and salmon
” Flax seeds and flax seed oil
” Almonds, walnuts, pistachios and other nuts
” Chia seeds.