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Heart Health And High Cholesterol Foods - Important Facts You Might Not Be Aware Of

Author : Erik Delosrios


Having high blood cholesterol is a serious condition that needs to be managed before it develops into full-blown heart disease. What's the big deal with cholesterol and why is it necessary to keep it at manageable levels? Cholesterol, mostly found in the brain and spinal tissue, is actually a waxy, fat-like substance that is necessary for hormone synthesis and cell membrane formation.

The two kinds of cholesterol found in the blood are LDL or low-density lipoprotein and HDL or high-density lipoprotein. LDLs act as a means of transport, bringing cholesterol and triglycerides into the cell. They are referred to as "bad cholesterol" because they tend to get deposited in the arterial walls, causing it to harden and get clogged over time. HDLs, meanwhile, serve to transport cholesterol away from the tissue and cells of the arteries to the liver for excretion. Because of this protective action, they are known as "good cholesterol."

When the cholesterol levels are high, a person's chances of developing hypertension, heart disease and atherosclerosis are also increased. Thus, it is important to keep cholesterol at manageable levels so that the body can remain healthy. There are two sources of cholesterol: the liver which is the site of fat synthesis and the foods we eat. To keep our heart healthy or prevent cardiac problems from getting worse, there are high cholesterol foods that must be avoided.

Foods that are high in trans fatty acids and saturated fats raise the blood cholesterol levels. These foods increase the levels of "bad cholesterol" and lower the "good cholesterol." Processed foods, especially pre-packaged baked goodies and candies are very high in trans fat content. French fries, burgers and other fried foods bought in restaurants are also high cholesterol foods since trans fats oils or semi-solidified oils are used in frying these items. Unless you are sure of the ingredients used in the food you order-- from the preparation to the cooking-- then you need to be wary about anything you eat that you haven't cooked yourself.

Saturated fats, meanwhile, are found in such items as the fatty portions of red meat, skin on chicken and other poultry animals, and full fat dairy products. Products derived from animal meat such as cheese and ice cream are also guilty of increasing cholesterol levels in the blood.

This does not mean, however, that all fats are bad for you. Monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs and polyunsaturated fats are actually beneficial since they improve good cholesterol levels. This can be taken from olive oil, avocado and almond oils just to name a few. Virgin coconut oil also has medium chain fatty acids that have a variety of benefits. It aids in weight loss, protects the immune system and even keeps the heart healthy. Polyunsaturated fats such as those which can be gleaned from fish are also full of omega-3 that helps lower cholesterol levels and keeps the cardiovascular system functioning smoothly.

Finally, if you are consuming too much sugar-- whether it be cane, brown or corn syrup-- it's about time to go slow. Research has shown that refined carbohydrates cause a rise in cholesterol levels that heighten your risk for heart disease. Because these sugars are easily absorbed by the body, they lead to increased appetite which can lead one to overeat and gain weight. Reduce your intake of these high cholesterol foods by replacing your white breads and pasta with whole grain versions of these foods. Ditch the candy and pastries and snack on fruits and vegetables instead.


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Article Source:
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Tags:   high cholesterol foods, heart health, nutrition

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Submitted : 2011-05-17    Word Count : 631    Times Viewed: 199