What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat that is carried around your body in the blood. You need to have enough of it for your body to work properly. But too much cholesterol can cause your arteries to become blocked, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
What do the terms HDLs and LDLs mean?
HDL is a medical term, it is short for 'high density lipoprotein', and is a type of cholesterol (fat) that is cardio-protective, meaning it is beneficial for heart health. HDLs can help to clean up blood vessels and protect against heart disease. Low levels of HDL are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. If you hear people referring to 'good' cholesterol they are referring to HDLs.
LDL is short for 'low density lipoprotein', and is a type of cholesterol that is bad for you. LDLs can accumulate in the blood vessels and cause them to narrow. High levels of LDL are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. If you hear people referring to 'bad' cholesterol, they are referring to LDLs.
What can I do to control my blood cholesterol levels?
Eating a healthy diet goes a long way to help balance the good cholesterol levels in your blood. A good diet is the cornerstone of reducing bad cholesterol levels.
- Choose fish and skinless chicken
- Choose lean meat (round and loins) and remove any visible fat
- Use low fat milk, yogurt, laban, labneh, and cheese
- Use spices, lemon, garlic and vinegar to season vegetables instead of butter, ghee, cream sauces or mayonnaise
- Use healthier cooking methods such as steaming, boiling, grilling and baking instead of deep frying and adding extra fat
- Avoid eating saturated fats such as ghee, butter and animal fats
- Use unsaturated fats and oils such as sunflower, corn and olive
- Limit chocolate, cakes, doughnuts and Arabic sweets they are very high in fat as well as sugar
- Your diet is the cornerstone of reducing cholesterol levels
- Regular exercise, even just 30 minutes a day such as a brisk walk or a jog, will also help reduce cholesterol levels and keep you fit.