The word Cholesterolis mentioned in fitness and wellness news on a daily basis, but many admit theydon’t fully understand what it is, and how it affects our overall health. Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy material theliver produces naturally to protect nerves, produce hormones and assist inmaking tissue for new cells. There aretwo types of cholesterol the body produces naturally: the good kind, HDL (HighDensity Lipoprotein), and the bad kind, LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein). While HDL assists in keeping LDL levels incheck, a build-up of too much LDL resulting from diet, aging, genetics, or lackof physical activity can eventually lead to heart disease and other healthissues.
While a majority ofthe media focuses on how to lowering cholesterol, it’s important to remindourselves that some of the substance is needed. The protective cushioning it provides to nerve cells helps keep the badcholesterol away from arteries, and HDL also assists in producing hormones thathelp our bodies digest and metabolize fat. Protecting the nerves also assists in the formation of memories, makingcholesterol vital for neurological function and maintenance.
Knowing the differencein the types of cholesterol our body produces can aid us in understanding howto keep these levels within a healthy range. While some factors in cholesterol levels, such as genetics, age andgender, are out of our control, we can make changes in our diet and physicalactivity levels.
Reducing intake ofsaturated fat and cholesterol can make a difference, as can beingoverweight. Maintaining a healthy dietand reducing weight by as little as 10 percent can make a large difference oncholesterol levels. In addition to diet,physical activity can assist in reducing LDL levels to nominal ranges, andassist in raising HDL levels. Thisactivity will also aid in weight reduction, and can encourage a person to makebetter choices regarding diet to maintain the sensation of well-being thatbeing active produces.
Those with concernsshould consult their physician to determine current cholesterol levels, andthen adjust practices accordingly. Through diet and exercise, both healthy and bad cholesterol are easilymanaged problems that can increase overall health and wellness.
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