There are many factors and steps you can take to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. The importance of maintaining a healthy cholesterol level are simple, it can greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, in other words, protecting the heart that keeps us alive.
Let's discuss cholesterol and what it means to us. Cholesterol is a fatty wax like substance that goes through our bloodstream. It requires a water soluble protein transport carrier from the liver to all the necessary parts of our bodies, and then returning to the liver for breaking down and elimination. Combined protein and cholesterol, known as lipoproteins, can be HDL (high-density) or LDL (low-density).
HDL is referred to as “good cholesterol". This type is responsible for returning extra cholesterol not being used to the liver, ready for the breakdown process. This cholesterol type is good only because it enables the excess to be disposed of.
LDL works in a different way. LDL is responsible for transporting cholesterol to all the necessary organs and tissues in our body from the liver.
So what does all this mean to my cardiovascular system? LDL is the problem type of cholesterol when there is more than needed and HDL cannot remove it from our blood vessels and arteries. When the excess amount of cholesterol cannot be removed, it builds up into a plaque-like substance and it starts to clog the artery walls. When this happens, this leaves a lot of room for diseases. With our arteries clogged, there is no possible way we are giving the correct transport of blood to all of our essential organs.
Without a clean blood flow, there is a chance the arteries will become clogged which results in higher blood pressure and can drastically affect our health. With clogged arteries, we are open up to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, a heart attack, strokes and paralysis.
Now that we know the dangers of high cholesterol, how do we lower it to prevent diseases? A correct diet and regular exercise is an excellent place to start.
A proper diet is the first step to lowering or even preventing high cholesterol. There are foods that we eat everyday that are good for us, but some of the foods we love most can cause the most damaging.
Leafy green vegetables are a good source of nutrients to fight off diseases and to maintain a healthy protein level.
Such greens are broccoli, spinach and green beans. Lettuce is also good, although there are not nearly enough nutrients in just lettuce alone. One factor I want to mention when eating your vegetables is to chew your food well. In order to get the most out of our greens, we need to chew them really well, extracting the natural nutrients.
Switching to healthier cooking oils is another step towards lowering your cholesterol . Olive oil and walnut oil are the best cooking oils you can use.
Some other essential foods we can eat to help with cardiovascular disease are baked or grilled fish, fruits and berries and nuts; including walnuts, pecans and peanuts.
Avoiding certain types of food is another way to help lower cholesterol. Red meats and dairy products that have not been reduced of fat may be the first thing to take out of our diet. Although there is protein in these foods, too much of a good thing can be too much.
Adding whole grains to your diet has been known for years to help reduce high cholesterol. The benefits of whole grain are that it is a soluble fiber that will lower LDL (the bad one) and raise the good type of cholesterol, HDL. Oat bran and other whole grain foods are not the only source to
get a good amount of fiber into our bodies to lower LDL. Other sources of fiber include barley, beans and green peas.
Although there is almost no substitute to a proper diet, there are some excellent supplements on the market today that have proven results to lowering cholesterol.
Supplements, as in vitamins and minerals, can really help with cholesterol. Not everyone has the time or dedication to reduce cholesterol with a proper diet. When choosing a supplement, here are some of the ingredients to look for in a quality product targeted to lowering cholesterol.
One of the most known supplements is in the form of fish oils, called Omega-3 fatty acids. This is a stand alone supplement, yet it is in most of the cholesterol lowering supplements out there.
Vitamin B-6 and B-12 are also great supplements. Another proven B vitamin, Niacin, also reduces LDL and raises HDL. If you plan on taking this, take as directed as too much can cause damage to the liver.
Vitamin E is a simple vitamin that will not cause damage in excess. In some cases, just a little extra vitamin E can reduce cholesterol levels.
If you feel you might have high cholesterol, please consult your doctor for tests and before taking a supplement specifically for lowering cholesterol.
Steven Johnson is committed to helping people maintain healthy and effective lifestyles. For more information on any other health supplements please visit his website Alternative Health Supplements at http://alternative-health-supplements.com