Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a substance that has an important function in our bodies. When accumulated in excess however, it can build up in the artery walls and increase risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure.

There are two types of cholesterol to consider:
  • LDL (low density lipoprotein)
    described as ‘bad’ cholesterol because it deposits fat on artery walls
  • HDL (high density lipoprotein)
    described as ‘good’ because it removes the fat from the artery walls

When monitoring blood cholesterol levels, it is therefore imperative to watch the ratio between LDLs and HDLs. For example, different types of saturated and unsaturated fats can directly influence this ratio:

 
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Saturated fats

Increase total blood cholesterol as well as LDL-cholesterol levels.

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Polyunsaturated fats

Lower both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in the blood, and are therefore only partially beneficial.

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Monounsaturated fats

Lower LDL levels without effecting HDL cholesterol thus improving the ratio between LDL and HDL.

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