Have you recently found out that you have high cholesterol levels? Do you need to make your diet more heart healthy? Or do you have high cholesterol levels despite a seemingly healthy diet and need to look at other factors that can help lower cholesterol?
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and lowering your cholesterol levels is one of the simple ways of protecting your heart. It is important to remember though that not all cholesterol is harmful, and we still require some fats through the diet as they are a vital component of every cell.
There are two types of cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is the ‘good’ one, helping to transport excess cholesterol away from the blood vessels. LDL cholesterol is the harmful ‘bad’ cholesterol and is more likely to be deposited on the blood vessel walls causing problems.
A number of factors affect the ratio between the two types of cholesterol.
It is not only the different fats in the diet that you need to worry about, but excess sugar consumption and high amount of caffeine can also contribute to increased levels of LDL cholesterol.
Homocysteine is another risk factor. It is a harmful by-product of protein metabolism which can oxidise cholesterol leading to plaque formation. Measuring homocysteine levels can give a good indication of the cardio-vascular risk levels.
Lowered anti-oxidant nutrient intake can also have a negative effect, increasing the levels of LDL cholesterol.
The great news about cholesterol is that it can respond well to dietary changes. Short-term targeted supplementation with key nutrients can also help in bringing LDL cholesterol levels down quickly and naturally.