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Day 12: Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in our blood. We all need it to keep our cells healthy, but some of us have too much of it and this is a big risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

Types of cholesterol
There are two main types of cholesterol: HDL ‘high density lipoproteins’ and LDL ‘low density lipoproteins’. HDL is known as ‘good’ cholesterol as it gets rid of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol by transporting it back to the liver to be broken down.

LDL is known as bad cholesterol because when we have too much of it in our bloodstream, it can start to build up on the walls of blood vessels. Over time this can form a plaque which narrows arteries and in turn increases our risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol

High cholesterol is mainly caused by eating foods high in saturated fat, not exercising enough, being overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol. Genetics can also play a part.

As with all our goals, it’s important to focus on what we can control, which in this case is exercise and diet!

Simple food swaps to help lower cholesterol

  • Swap red meat for lean proteins like chicken, fish or lentils
  • Switch double cream to natural yoghurt
  • Replace crisps with unsalted nuts
  • Cook meals from scratch rather than ready or part-made, so you know exactly what’s gone in.

Perfection is an illusion - instead, seek progress and you will achieve