Almost everyone knows that having high cholesterol is not a good thing. This natural substance increases a persons risk of suffering from a heart attack, and polls have shown that among those who have suffered from a heart attack, none actually enjoyed it. Taking the proper steps beforehand is the best way to prevent a heart attack; that includes managing your cholesterol.
Good Cholesterol and Bad Cholesterol
There are two forms of cholesterol that are in our bodies. The good cholesterol is called HDL, or High Density Lipoproteins. The bad cholesterol is called LDL, or Low Density Lipoproteins. Both of these cholesterols serve a purpose in the body.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance made in your liver. It helps to break down foods and carry essential acids throughout the body. It is imperative that we have cholesterol in our body.
HDL cholesterol levels should be higher. This cholesterol actually helps clean up your blood stream by removing junk in the blood, taking LDL cholesterol back to the liver to be reprocessed, and maintaining the walls of your blood vessels.
LDL cholesterol, on the other hand, should be low. This cholesterol is the type that has gone rogue. It builds up on the walls of the blood vessels and causes blockages. If it builds up too much it can slow or stop blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack.
How to Maintain Your Cholesterol
Barring any genetic factors or medical conditions, a person should be able to keep their cholesterol at normal (healthy) levels. The problem that many Americans face is that it takes some discipline and conscious choice to do so. Make it a habit, and it wont be too hard after a while.
Eat Good Foods This is easier said than done considering a large portion of the food available to us is processed. But it can be done, and it is a myth that whole foods cost way more than processed foods. Keep in mind that there is little evidence that organic is better for you, and non-organic doesnt mean poisonous.
To eat properly keep these tips in mind. Fish is good, whole grains are better, vegetables are best. Lean meats, such as fish, are high in omega fatty acids. These help your body produce HDL cholesterol. Whole grains, such as oats and others, are complex and the body has to work hard to break them down. This is a good thing. Lumped into that category are nuts and beans too. Not exactly whole grains, but they help you out. The bulk of your calories should come from vegetables. These will bring in all your nutrients and cleanse your system.
Skip Bad Food Fried foods, processed foods, and excessive red meats are all bad for you. Can you indulge every now and then? Sure, who doesnt love French Fries or a nice steak? Just keep in mind that the more you eat of them, the higher your LDL cholesterol will be.
Exercise It seems to be a dying practice. For some reason people dont like to be active. However, doctors have found that any drug you take is designed to mimic the effects of proper exercise. So if you want to keep your heart and body healthy, get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes per day. That can be as simple as taking a walk around the block after dinner, or as complex as doing a 12 part workout in the gym. Just be sure to move!
Keeping Your Cholesterol at Bay
It shouldnt be hard to keep your cholesterol levels in the proper allocation. However, many people try to shortcut the process and they end up taking a cholesterol drug like Lipitor. They cheat their body out of what it truly needs, and often the results are dire. These drugs can actually cause kidney damage, liver damage, and muscle damage. Instead of taking the easy way out, stick to what is known to work effectively: eat right and exercise.