Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cholesterol Rears its Ugly Head

‘Healthy’ HDL cholesterol works to remove excess cholesterol in our body. ‘Lousy’ LDL cholesterol causes atherosclerotic plaque build-up that can lead to potential health crises such as heart attack, stroke and heart disease.

The Cholesterol Triad in Action.

What is this about an ugly cholesterol, too?? Ugly cholesterol, sometimes referred to as remnant cholesterol, is the consequence when there are high levels of triglycerides left circulating through the coronary arteries. Triglycerides are the storage form of fat in your body. So when you eat more than you should or fail to burn excess calories via exercise, the remaining energy is stored in your blood as triglycerides.

Move over, LDL.
We have bigger fish to fry.
A recent study published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that ugly cholesterol triples the risk of developing ischemic heart disease. Ischemic heart disease results when insufficient oxygen reaches the heart because of narrowed, plaque-clogged arteries from unhealthy triglyceride levels. Ischemic heart disease is the most frequent cause of death in most western countries.

If your triglyceride levels are creeping up above 150mg/dl, it’s time to take action. Rather than relying on medication, some things you can work on to decrease your ugly cholersterol are:

1. Achieve a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
2. Decrease refined sugars and added sugars in your diet. 
3. Increase sources of good-for-you mono and polyunsaturated fats and decrease saturated and Trans fats.
4. Eat at least 30 grams of fiber a day.
5. Get regular exercise, preferably at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. 
6. Drink alcohol in moderation.

Cholesterol may not be pretty, but the good news is that it is something that you can help control through a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.

My inspiration for this post came after reading an article from Science Daily.

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