What exactly is “bad” cholesterol?
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), more commonly known as the “bad” cholesterol, is mainly responsible for choking up the arteries when there is too much LDLs - a process known as atherosclerosis. On the other hand, there is another type of cholesterol called the highdensity lipoprotein (HDL), which helps to clear up chokepoints caused by the LDLs.
Therefore, when there are health messages which stress the need to reduce cholesterol, they are in fact referring to the LDLs. While HDLs are beneficial to health, it is important to keep your overall cholesterol level in check within the healthy range.
Good to know
Measuring your cholesterol levels is the best way to find out if they are within the healthy range. Always remember: the lower the LDL, the better. For HDL, on the other hand, it is the opposite.
5 types of food that you should eat more
Foods with soluble fibre
It is believed that soluble fibre may bind with cholesterol particles in the digestive system and remove them before being absorbed by the body, which helps to lower the overall cholesterol level, especially LDLs. Some good sources of soluble fibre include:
• Beans and peas, such as kidney beans, lentils and black beans
• Citrus fruits, such as oranges and apples
This type of fatty acid helps to reduce both LDLs and triglycerides and bring down blood pressure. Fatty fishes, such as salmon, mackerels, herring and sardines, are some of the foods that contain the highest amounts of omega-3. Fish oil are generally high in omega-3 too.
Foods cooked using vegetable oils
Vegetable oils are healthier alternatives to animal fats (e.g. lard). The latter is high in saturated fats and LDLs, while vegetable-based oils are mainly unsaturated and may help to reduce LDLs - some are even rich in omega-3! Examples include canola, sunflower and flaxseed oils.
A handful of almonds, hazelnuts or peanuts can be beneficial to our health because these nuts not only reduce LDLs, but also contain protein and healthy unsaturated fats. However, this does not include salted or sugar-coated nuts.
Studies have shown that soybeans and soy-made food, such as bean curd and soy bean milk, may significantly reduce LDLs.
Food added with sterols or stanols
These plant-based molecules may help to reduce LDLs by preventing the body from absorbing cholesterol. Studies have shown that food fortified with sterols or stanols are able to lower LDLs by 5% to 15%.
Avoid these foods
Food high in saturated fats
These foods increase the level of “bad” cholesterol. Examples of these are red meat, whole-fat dairy products and eggs. You should eat these in moderation.
Trans Fat Food
Trans fat is a no-no for everyone. Not only does it increases the LDLs - it also decreases the “good” cholesterol HDLs.
Source: Prime Magazine Jun - Jul 2017 Issue. Reproduced with permission.
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