Reducing Cholesterol

Reducing Cholesterol

Cholesterol occurs naturally within the human body. Cholesterol is produced by the liver and comes from the foods that you ingest. It is a waxy substance that occurs in nearly every part of the body. Cholesterol is used by the body to produce certain hormones and to help create bile which digests fat. Cholesterol, in very small amounts, is important for the body to function correctly. It is when cholesterol is found in large quantities that the trouble begins.

Cholesterol in the bloodstream causes all sorts of trouble. It tends to build up on the walls of your arteries and created clogs. These clogs actually impair the flow of blood to major organs like the heart or lungs. Over a period of time, the cholesterol that adheres to the arteries hardens and forms plaque. This calcified plaque can only be removed through surgical intervention. Plaque that forms along many arteries in a single body is called atherosclerosis. This disease is one of the most common causes of heart attack or stroke. In some studies, atherosclerosis has been shown to cause a hardening of the arteries to the brain that is thought to lead to dementia.

Cholesterol comes from many of the foods that you eat. Foods that are fattening are generally also high in cholesterol. Red meat is one of the main sources of unhealthy amounts of cholesterol. Since it is found in the blood of most mammals, cholesterol is more prevalent in meat products. Reducing your intake of the foods most commonly associated with high cholesterol levels is one of the easiest ways to lower your cholesterol. Some foods to avoid might include red meat like beef and veal. Both of these foods contain almost three thousand milligrams of cholesterol per one hundred grams. Whole eggs, meaning eggs with the yolk included, also contain large amounts of cholesterol. Bacon is a pork product, but the combination of cholesterol and the frying process makes bacon another food to avoid.

Most oils and fats, like butter, are high in cholesterol. If you must use an oil or fat, olive oil is an excellent alternative to butter. Replacing butter or salad dressing with olive oil is an excellent way to lower cholesterol intake in a daily diet. Olive oil does not contain saturated fats and is a good source of vitamins that protect the heart. Fruits and vegetables are another excellent addition to a diet for heart health and lowering cholesterol. These can be eaten in large quantities without adding additional cholesterol to the body.

Exercise and a nutritious diet can go a long way to reducing your risk of heart disease. Moderate exercise has been shown to lower the amount of cholesterol in the human body. The combination of diet and exercise is a wonderful alternative to medication for those with only moderately high cholesterol. Lowering your cholesterol not only protects your heart but can also lead to a longer and healthier life.

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