Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid and is vital for the normal functioning of the body. The body does produce cholesterol via the liver and you can consume it from a number of different foods. Cholesterol is transported around the body by proteins and when the two combine they become lipoproteins.
However there are good and bad cholesterol and to answer this we needs to talk about the different types of cholesterol.
Lipoproteins are then broken down into two types:
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) – this carries cholesterol around the body, away from cells and back to the liver where its either broken down or passed out of the body. HDL is known as the good cholesterol and provides many benefits to the body. The NHS state that the higher levels the better.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – carries cholesterol to the cells that need LDL which is a good thing. The issue here is that when there is too much LDL in the bloodstream and cells cannot take any more in, LDL starts to build up on the artery walls leading to disease of the arteries, clots and strokes. LDL is known as the Bad cholesterol.
Top foods for HDL
- Olive oil
- Beans and legumes
- High-fibre fruit
- Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines and rainbow trout)
- Flax seeds
- Red wine
Top ways to reduce LDL
- Stop smoking
- Taking regular exercise
- Reduce food products that increase LDL such as palm oil, margarines, Fried and Processed Foods.