Working Out More Isn't Enough to Lower Cholesterol
September 26, 2018
You went to the doctor, got your blood tested, and it comes back: Your HDLs are healthy, but your LDLs are high.
The doctor tells you-you need to work out more. But you already workout 5 days a week for a minimum of 45 minutes. What the heck? You let the doctor know you're already working out. The doctor says, add more and cut the junk food out of your diet.
Does this sound like a familiar scene?
Blood diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol is becoming a pandemic. And a lot of people are feeling lost on how to start tackling the issue of getting their cholesterol under control. Diet is #1 when it comes to this.
**Warning, this next part is very condensed to try and limit the amount of boredom**
First, you should get to know the stuff that travels through your blood vessels. There's two kinds of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Then there's the transportation service of triglycerides.
LDLs are bad. This is the stuff that causes strokes, and heart attacks. The way I remember this is L stands for Lucifer, and that's bad. LDL begins from the liver and goes out into the bloodstream. Your body is very attracted to LDL and latch onto it to grab the fat and cholesterol. But when your LDL is too high, it begins to cause a traffic jam by forming plaque in your artery walls and narrowing the vessels and limiting the blood flow.
But the ultimate cholesterol protector is HDL. Having high HDL numbers is good. HDL is the good cholesterol, it's the cholesterol that protects your body and removes the bad cholesterol. The way I remember it is H stands for Heaven, and that's good!
Think of your HDL as a police officer, your HDLs travels through your blood vessels looking for LDL. When it finds LDL, it arrests it, and brings it back to the liver to be incarcerated and eventually removed from the body.
Triglycerides are fat, and they are the transport service of the body to get your cells some energy in the form of fat. When the energy isn't used, it gets stored for later use and becomes fat cells. Your hormones will signal to the fat cells when it needs energy-- like in between meals-- and triglycerides will then be used as energy.
Why is it important to know about your triglycerides when it comes to cholesterol? Triglycerides are the taxi for cholesterol. These guys are a packaged deal.
So if your triglyceride levels are high, that's more taxis for the cholesterol to get into the blood. Usually, there's an association between high triglycerides and high LDL and low HDL. It's uncommon to see high LDL and low triglycerides and HDL.
However, when you get your blood panel results back, it's measuring blood cholesterol. And your blood cholesterol is all about carbs and fats mix, and the balance has got to be there to lower your cholesterol.
This is WHY people who workout consistently find themselves totally befuddled when they go to the doctor and find out they still have high cholesterol.
So here are some cholesterol reducing tips:
1.) Increase Your Soluble Fiber Consumption
-This can be looked at as increasing your carbs (whole grains, oatmeal) and reducing your fats (butter, margarine, heavy cream), or it can be viewed as reducing your simple carbs (skittles, candy, cupcakes) and increasing your complex carbs (apples, blueberries, carrots). -Soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol and helps navigate them OUT of your body in the form of waste. -Best soluble fiber sources: Brussel sprouts, apples, pears, oatmeal, black beans, kidney beans, carrots, sunflower seeds, kale, spinach, etc.
2.) Reduce Saturated and Trans Fats, and Eliminate Added Sugar Consumption
-Because high cholesterol tends to be how carbs and fats mix if you reduce saturated fat and sugar consumption, one you'll be able to lose weight and lower your cholesterol. -Added sugar can be found in cakes, pastries, candy, cereals, granola bars, etc. So look to decrease sugar and replace with natural sugars from fruit, which also are good to promote soluble fiber consumption. -Saturated Fats include red meat, whole milk and other whole-milk dairy foods, cheese, coconut oil, and many commercially prepared baked goods and other foods. -Trans fats are found mainly in solid margarine and vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Trans fats are used to keep thing on shelves for long periods of time. Trans fats can be found in everything from store-bought cookies and pastries to fast-food.
3.) Eat Cholesterol Friendly Foods
-Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are considered to be the "healthy fats." Your body needs fat to function so if you are eliminating saturated and trans fats, look to incorporate some unsaturated fats.
-Your body cannot make polyunsaturated fat (omega 3 and 6s) so it's an essential fat to function. Polyunsaturated fats help with blood clotting, cell membranes to cover nerves, muscle movement, and help with inflammation.
-Polyunsaturated fats are linked to lowering bad cholesterol (LDL)
-Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish.
-Eat your eggs. It's okay to eat 4-6 eggs a week. The benefits of eating a whole egg have been shown to promote increased levels of HDL.
4.) Quit Smoking
-There's no secret that smoking is bad for your health. But non-smokers tend to have higher levels of HDL because of better overall circulation.
5.) Drink in Moderation
-Occasional alcoholic beverages like Red Wine are tied to positive benefits of improving HDL because of the antioxidants.