Bad Cholesterol

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Bad cholesterol, as it is commonly known, is called that because it accumulates in the walls of coronary arteries, reduces blood flow, leads to blood clots that in lead to either heart attack or stroke, depending on where the blood clot travels, to the heart or to the brain. In formal medical terminology, it is called low density lipoproteins, or LDL.

Bad cholesterol is, one might say, the bad guy on the run in that it carries most of the cholesterol in the bloodstream. The idea is to minimize it. What you want are levels of LDL in the 130 mg/dL or less. In the best of all worlds, bad cholesterol levels would be under 100 mg/dL.

What To Do About Bad Cholesterol

Food and drink are the stuff of my diet, a saying goes. And your diet is the best way to control the levels of LDL—the bad cholesterol—in your bloodstream. The ideal diet in respect to heart health is one that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and poly- and monounsaturated fats. The ideal diet will also go light on animal products such as meats, eggs, and whole milk products and on foods high in transfatty acids such as processed and fast foods.

Saturated fats are the real culprit in bad cholesterol, are not healthy, because they make the body produce more cholesterol than it needs. Transfats are hydrogenated. This is what turns liquids into semisolids, such as oil into margarine. These are economical for the manufacturer but increase the risk of heart disease dramatically. Reducing salt intake and increasing the amount of water you drink are important and often overlooked factors in a healthy diet.

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