Cholesterol: Good Vs. Bad - Whats It All About?

raspberrySeptember is National Cholesterol Education Month and theres good news to report:

A recent study by nutritional scientists in Boston revealed that kids who drink fewer sugary drinks can increase their good cholesterol.


Conducted over a period of 12 months, 690 children ages eight to 15 participated in the study, the result of which revealed that by decreasing their intake of sugary drinks, like carbonated sodas and sweetened fruit juices, they helped to improve the level of their good cholesterol. Although this study was a small one, its encouraging for the more than 100 million Americans who have high levels of the bad cholesterol. Way to go kids!


What Is Cholesterol Anyway?

Your liver manufactures cholesterol from the foods you eat. The more saturated fats and trans fats you eat, the more cholesterol your liver makes. The extra cholesterol can form a waxy buildup in your arteries and block the flow of blood, which can result in the formation of blood clots, and the onset of a stroke or a heart attack. Exercise and a healthy diet can help you increase the good and thereby decrease the bad cholesterol in your system.


What Makes One Cholesterol Good And The Other Bad?

Remember the old Pac-Man video game? Well, in a way your good HDL cholesterol works like Pac-Man to gobble up excess fat, as well as the bad cholesterol, and remove it from your bloodstream.


The bad cholesterol, or LDL, is a villain because it can clog your arteries and create plaque which can cause a condition called atherosclerosis. And in a kind of domino effect, atherosclerosis can trigger heart disease - the leading cause of death in the United States.


How Can You Be Proactive?

  1. Work with your doctor to determine your level of risk for cholesterol-related diseases; and develop a plan of action that includes your diet and an exercise regimen.

  2. Reduce your intake of sugar.

  3. Eat purple - that is, include foods like eggplant, plums, grapes, raspberries, purple figs, and purple cabbage, in addition to red fruits and veggies to help boost your good cholesterol level.

  4. And if youve been looking for an excuse to eat chocolate, youve got one - dark chocolate, that is. It actually improves the antioxidant effects of the good cholesterol in your body. But, of course, moderation should be your guide in this and in your exercise routine, which should include both aerobic and resistance training.


Even if youre fit, footloose, and fancy-free, the American Heart Association recommends that adults check their cholesterol levels every four to six years.

What you dont know can hurt you. Knowledge is power so use it.


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