Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) are evil. That’s what you have been told for years, maybe all of your life. Nutritionists, health gurus and doctors, will all tell you that if you keep your LDL cholesterol level low and your HDL level high, you will be a happy, healthy human being. This is partially correct.
LDL is not cholesterol. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is a type of protein which carries cholesterol throughout your body. You need cholesterol for many health processes, and this fatty looking substance is literally found in every single cell in your body. HDL and LDL, when they exist in the correct ratio, work together to transport cholesterol to all of your body parts and cells that need it.
The reason why LDL is seen as a “bad cholesterol” is because of what happens when you have too much of this protein in your body. LDL can cause plaque to buildup in your arteries. Your arteries exist to channel blood from your heart throughout your body.
Healthy, oxygenated blood is needed in high supply by every part of your body. From your head to your toes, from your brain to your feet, you need a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood so you can think, move and exist.
If there is too much plaque in your arteries due to high LDL levels, your heart is not happy.
Plaque buildup slows down the rate at which blood flows from your heart through your arteries. This means your heart has to work extra-hard to do its job. Left to its own devices, a high LDL level can eventually lead to low energy levels and fatigue in the beginning, and over time, coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
Foods That Help Manage Your Cholesterol Level
If you left your body alone and gave it the proper nutrition it requires, it would create optimal levels of high density and low density lipoproteins. Unfortunately, you need only look out of your car window on your way to work to see that human beings enjoy eating things that are not that good for us. This means from time to time you can abnormally and negatively affect your cholesterol level with your diet.
Just as some foods cause a problem with your cholesterol, and eventually with your heart if you do not remedy the situation, there are also foods that can help lower high LDL levels, leading to optimal health.
Eat some of the following foods every day to help LDL levels from becoming a problem. At the same time you also naturally boost HDL levels, and you don’t make your heart’s job any harder than it already is.
- Oats, Barley and Other Whole Grains
The soluble fiber in these foods binds to LDL and removes it from your body. Health authorities recommend eating anywhere from 20 to 35 g of fiber each day, so add some oat bran, whole grains and oatmeal to your diet.
Have you heard this funny saying before? “Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot.” While beans are definitely not a fruit, they do have a gaseous reputation. This is because of the wonderfully high levels of healthy soluble fiber they contain. They also make you feel full longer after a meal, which helps you manage a healthy body weight. They are additionally excellent for lowering unhealthy LDL levels.
- Strawberries, Citrus Fruits, Grapes and Apples
These foods are high in, you guessed it, soluble fiber. Fruits like these are rich in pectin, which is especially good for helping manage a healthy LDL level.
Eating just 2 ounces of walnuts, peanuts, almonds and other nuts each day can lower your LDL by about 5%.
- Fatty Fish
Not only do the essential fatty acids in wild caught fish like salmon and mackerel lower LDL, but they also promote a healthy HDL level.
- Fiber Supplements
Healthy dietary fiber is so important for your body to function properly in a number of ways. Metamucil and Benefiber are two fiber supplements that can be added to the foods and liquids you eat and drink, to ensure you are getting your daily required amount of LDL-regulating fiber.