Cholesterol of late has earned a very bad reputation but as a matter of fact it’s a type of fat that is essential for any healthy body. Consequently, cholesterol helps to build structure of the cell membranes, helps to make hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, as well as helps body to digest fat and absorb nutrients.

There are two types of cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is known as a good type of cholesterol as it helps to remove excess cholesterol out of the cells and can help clear up build up in the arteries. On the other hand LDL is known as bad cholesterol as if its levels get high it can clog up arteries. Majority of LDL cholesterol id average diet tend to come from animal fats or saturated fats, from foods such as meats and full fat dairy products. Great way to help increase levels of HLD is to increase consumption of foods that come from plants such as legumes and seeds, as well increasing consumption of fish such as tuna and salmon.

There is a wrong perception that in order to reduce cholesterol there is a need to cut out all dairy, seafood and eggs out of the diet not mentioning meats. One important thing to remember that any healthy diet is all about balanced approach. For example dairy foods are an important part of the daily diet and contain many essential nutrients such as calcium. Furthermore, seafood does contain cholesterol but seafood also low in saturated fat and contains high levels of omega-3, which can lead to increase levels of HDL and improve immune system. Thus seafood is a healthy food and should be part of any healthy eating plan but one should avoid fried and battered seafood.

If you are serious about reducing your bad cholesterol just improving your diet is not enough as your lifestyle also can play a great role. Consequently, quit smoking as smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage, exercise regularly at least 30 minutes of brisk walking daily as exercise increases the HDL levels, while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.

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