Sunday Mail - Body and Soul

3 ways to balance your cholestero­l

These easy lifestyle edits will help keep your levels in check, discovers Jaymie Hooper

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Cholestero­l is everywhere and seems to do everything: it’s found in food and also made by your body, where its job is to help make vitamin D and hormones, build cells and support your digestive system. Produced in two main forms – high- and low-density lipoprotei­ns (HDL and LDL) – this waxy fat-like substance is essential for good health, but too much can cause problems.

As Kate Save, dietitian and CEO of Be Fit Foods explains, there’s “good” and “bad” cholestero­l. “HDL cholestero­l, the ‘good’, carries other types of cholestero­l to your liver where it can be promptly removed from your bloodstrea­m before it builds up in your arteries,” she tells Body+Soul. “LDL cholestero­l [the bad] transports cholestero­l to your arteries, where it may accumulate in artery walls, causing them to stiffen and narrow.”

Since having excess LDL cholestero­l in your bloodstrea­m can increase your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, keeping your levels in check is crucial. Want to balance your cholestero­l levels naturally? Here’s how to do it:

DITCH THE JUNK FOOD

“To reduce the amount of LDL cholestero­l in your diet, cut down on foods that are high in saturated and trans fats,” Save says. This includes foods like cookies, pastries, butter, cream, fried and fast foods, ice-cream and potato chips.

GET MOVING

Exercise can help increase the amount of HDL cholestero­l in your blood, and even out LDL levels. Aim for 30-60 minutes of aerobic or resistance training each day.

EAT THE RAINBOW

“Eating fruits and vegetables as well as oily fish can help boost levels of HDL cholestero­l and keep total cholestero­l levels in the healthy range,” Save adds. Load up on wholefoods and opt for plant-based products that are free of cholestero­l and low in salt when you can.

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