Firstly, what is cholesterol? We hear so much about it but do we actually know what it is?
Cholesterol is a type of fat which is made by the liver. It is needed in our bodies to make important hormones but if excess amounts build up they can form a plague and narrowing in our arteries. This process is known as atherosclerosis. A build up of plague over time can cause cardiovascular disease (CVD).
There are different types of cholesterol which are high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins (HDL and LDL). HDL cholesterol moves cholesterol from the arteries before it can be deposited. This cholesterol is sent to the liver to be broken down and removed from the body. LDL cholesterol on the other hand is not removed and can build up in the arteries. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’ while HDL cholesterol is known as ‘good cholesterol’.
Foods high in saturated fat like fatty meats, butter, cheese and cakes can cause a build up of LDL cholesterol in the body (so that’s BAD). Monounsaturated fats in foods like olive and rapeseed oil, avocados, nuts and seeds help to lower LDL levels, removing it from circulation (that’s GOOD).
See, there’s a difference, so be aware of what kinds of cholesterol are actually beneficial for you. Choose foods containing good cholesterol and avoid foods with bad cholesterol. Basically it’s back to healthier choices and moving more- the usual!