Angels or demons? Good and bad cholesterol!
A lot of us are confused about the nature of good and bad cholesterol and what they can actually do to our body. Let's find out what is what and see how to protect ourselves.
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) are two types of proteins that carry cholesterol around the body. LDL Cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because high levels can accumulate in the arteries causing narrowing that leads to increased risk of heart attack, stroke and heart disease.
HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein and is “good” cholesterol. It is a “Healthy” cholesterol, and you want it to be High. HDLs task is to attack and remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream and back to the liver where it’s broken down and passed from the body.
Triglycerides are necessary fats, but when in excess they can lead to problems.
The combination of high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and low levels of HDL cholesterol is seen as a major risk factor for cholesterol build up and narrowing of the arteries that lead to problems like heart attacks, strokes and coronary heart disease.
A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. Some of them, we cannot control, for example:
Luckily, there are also some that we can control and monitor:
· No smoking
· Eating a healthy diet
· Maintaining a healthy weight
· Being physically active at least 30 minutes a day
So, eating a healthy diet is quite important in order to control our cholesterol levels. And by healthy diet, we mean one rich in extra virgin olive oil. This is because olive oil helps maintain the levels of these fat compounds within a healthy range, thus protecting the cardiovascular system. A daily dose of olive oil in our food, either in our salads or in our cooked vegetables, will greatly help our body monitor the fat compounds and maintain a healthy weight. So, drink up everyone!