måndag 11 januari 2010

Understanding Good and Bad Cholesterol

By Keira Adams

You may have been told that you have to lower your fat intake or get your cholesterol levels in order, but did you know that there are actually two kinds of cholesterol? There's bad cholesterol, and there's also good cholesterol that you'll want to keep in the body. Here is some information about these two substances, as well as how you can make the necessary lifestyle changes to keep your levels of each where they should be.

Good cholesterol is also referred to as high density lipoprotein (HDL), and high levels of this substance help to protect the body against heart attacks. But if you have low HDL, your risk of heart disease is increased, since the substance carries cholesterol away from the heart and liver, making for better circulation, and giving you the ability to flush out toxins from the body much faster. HDL can also slow the buildup of plaque in the arteries by taking the additional fat and impurities away from the body. Conversely, too much of the bad cholesterol, known as low density lipoprotein or LDL, is very unhealthy for your heart, because it slows down the process of removing excess fat from your body's tissues.

In order to keep both types of cholesterol at the right level, you'll need to manage your triglycerides. This is a substance that is created by the body, but you shouldn't have too much of it, since it can lead to serious health problems. You can also find triglycerides in some of the things that you eat, which is why you have to be careful of your diet so that you're not consuming too much of this substance.

By taking unhealthy foods out of your diet, you can manage your cholesterol levels quite effectively. Instead of eating lots of fast foods and fried meats, you can try baking your favorite dishes instead of using unhealthy oils for frying. You'll also want to pay special attention to the snacks that you're consuming throughout the day. Potato chips, cookies, and snack cakes all contain a considerable amount of cholesterol, so you'll need to start eating things like nuts, fresh fruit, or trail mix in between meals to keep your good cholesterol at the right levels.

Staying active is another great way to make sure that both your good and bad cholesterol levels are where they should be. Start small by taking a walk after dinner each night, or jogging around the block in the morning before breakfast. You can increase your exercise time as you gain more energy, and you'll be amazed at how much better you feel.

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