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Cholesterol: The “Good” the “Bad” and the Ugly

It’s common knowledge today that cholesterol is bad for you, right? Well, not necessarily. Cholesterol is often made out to be the bad guy, but it is actually a very important molecule that keeps your body functioning properly. Since over 102 million adults in the United States have high cholesterol, it is important to learn the risks associated with high cholesterol and how to avoid it in the first place. Be sure to consult your physician if you are worried about your cholesterol levels.

What is it?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all the cells in your body, and it is needed to make hormones, vitamin D, and the substances that help you digest food. Your body, specifically your liver, makes all the cholesterol you need. However, cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese. Cholesterol travels through your bloodstream, however in order to do so it needs to be incased in particles called lipoproteins.

LDL and HDL

We often hear about HDL and LDL cholesterol. These aren’t actually types of cholesterol per se, but rather the lipoprotein casings that carry cholesterol through the body. HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and is often known as the “good” type of cholesterol. This is because it protects the arteries against plaque buildup by carrying excess cholesterol back to your liver for disposal. LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and it is sometimes called the “bad” type of cholesterol because it contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. It is important to have both LDL and HDL cholesterol; however, these levels need to be kept within a healthy range.

The Problem with High Cholesterol

Although everyone needs cholesterol, too much cholesterol in your bloodstream can lead to trouble. Generally, high levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with a greater risk for developing various cardiovascular diseases, while high levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk. Extra LDL can combine with other substances in your blood and form plaque in your arteries, hardening and clogging the arteries over time and leaving you at higher risk for heart disease, heart attacks, stroke and other health related problems.

Risk Factors

There are a variety of factors that can raise your risk for developing high cholesterol:

  • Weight. Being overweight or obese tends to raise your LDL levels, lower your HDL levels, and increase your total cholesterol.
  • Inactivity. Exercise helps to boost your body’s HDL, aka the “good” cholesterol. Additionally, lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain, which is important to avoid if you’re worried about your cholesterol.
  • Poor Diet. Having a diet that is high in saturated fats, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in many baked goods and store-bought snacks, can raise your cholesterol level.
  • Age. As you age, your body’s chemistry changes, increasing your risk for high cholesterol. For example, as you get older your liver becomes less efficient at removing excess LDL cholesterol.
  • Genetics. Unfortunately, many cholesterol problems are passed down through families. Some families are blessed with low total cholesterol levels regardless of their diet or lifestyle, while others may inherit genes that increase their risk for high cholesterol.

Lowering Your Cholesterol

Luckily, there are many lifestyle changes you can make that may help lower your cholesterol or even prevent high cholesterol in the first place.

  • Heart-Healthy Eating. Try adopting a diet that limits the amount of saturated and trans fats that you eat. Choose foods that are naturally high in fiber and unsaturated fats and limit high-cholesterol foods such as animal products.
  • Exercise Regularly. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week but you should always check with your health care provider before beginning any exercise routine.
  • Lose Weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your LDL cholesterol.

If you struggle to manage your weight, Lipozene can help you lose 4x weight and reduce your risk for high cholesterol. According to the FDA, scientific evidence also indicates that Lipozene’s active ingredient, glucomannan, significantly lowers blood lipids and LDL cholesterol.

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