Very often, we hear doctors and dietitians telling people, especially who are middle-aged, to eat foods which cause the cholesterol levels in the body to decrease. Have you ever given a thought as to what is this "cholesterol" they are talking about? Do you know that cholesterol is of two types, i.e. LDL and HDL? Certainly, in order to decrease cholesterol, we should have a thorough understanding of what exactly does cholesterol mean. Here is the meaning and types of cholesterol explained in detail, followed by ways to decrease LDL cholesterol levels.
LDL and HDL Cholesterol
First of all, let us start with Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, also known as LDL. This is considered the bad cholesterol as it builds up in the blood vessels. With time, this build up of LDL becomes even more thick and forms a kind of plaque inside the arteries, thereby blocking the arteries. When the arteries get clogged, it hampers the blood flow towards the heart. Lesser blood flow means lesser oxygen for the heart, which may cause heart disease or heart attack or angina.
High Density Lipoprotein, also known as HDL, is considered good cholesterol, as it aids in removing cholesterol from the blood vessels walls, bringing it back to the liver so that it can be safely excreted from there. Thus, HDL actually helps in cleaning up the arteries, thereby decreasing the risk of heart diseases. So, in order to be healthy, one should increase the HDL and decrease the LDL. Let us now move on to learn the ways to decrease LDL and increase HDL.
The diet should include lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish. By increasing the intake of such foods, the bad cholesterol levels in the body decrease considerably. Out of these food items, fish, especially the salmon and mackerel, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are especially known to lower the LDL levels. Decreasing the intake of meats, dairy products and foods that contain high level of saturated fats and trans fats, helps in reducing the build up of cholesterol in the body too.
If you want to decrease LDL naturally, a good option is to start exercising regularly. Exercising everyday helps in loss of weight, which is very useful for lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
In order to reduce the LDL levels, taking supplements such as soluble fibers and niacin can be very useful. Natural sources of soluble fibers such as nuts, flax seeds and oatmeal can also be taken.
Red wine, which is rich in antioxidants, is very useful to increase the HDL cholesterol levels. Although, wine does not decrease the bad cholesterol, but can be quite effective to increase the good cholesterol levels in the body.
If a controlled diet, supplements and a regular exercise regimen fail to show the desired results, doctors recommend cholesterol absorption inhibitors such as statin to lower the LDL levels. Another option is bile acid sequestrants, which researches show, can lower the LDL levels by ten percent. Supplements of plant sterols can be quite effective in lowering bad cholesterol too.
It is very necessary to decrease LDL levels in the body as clogged arteries can cause many heart problems. If the arteries that are close to brain get blocked too, there is a high risk of the person experiencing a stroke. Thus, taking a healthy diet and doing exercises regularly is very necessary to maintain our heart as well as overall health.