Cholesterol is a waxy fat like substance that is in all cell of our body. Cholesterol is needed to make hormones, vitamin D and other substances that help to digest food. Our bodies actually make all the cholesterol that we need to do the above functions.
Cholesterol travels through our bloodstream in fat and protein packages called lipoproteins.
Low Density Lipoproteins are known as the ‘bad cholesterol’. Elevated LDL results in a buildup of plaque in our arteries also known as atherosclerosis. Conversely, high Density Lipoproteins are known as the ‘good cholesterol’ caries LDL from other parts of our body and brings it to the liver. The liver then removes LDL from your body.
Triglycerides, another type of fat like cholesterol, are used to store extra energy (calories) from your diet. When you consume too many calories, particularly refined carbohydrates, your body turns them into triglycerides and stores them in your fat cells. Later, your body will release triglycerides for energy in between meals. High triglycerides are associated with atherosclerosis, like LDL cholesterol. High triglycerides can be caused by overweight/obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and diet high in carbohydrates (more than 60%).
The difference between triglycerides and cholesterol is that that triglycerides store unused energy, whereas cholesterol is used to build cells and certain hormones.
However, both LDL and triglycerides contribute negatively to your health. HDL positively affects your health.
LDL: 100mg/dl or less
Triglycerides: 150mg/dl or less
HDL: 60mg/dl or above
Here’s the good news: Cholesterol and triglycerides can be lowered through diet and lifestyle. To do this, follow the recommended advice.
- Exercise more
- Eat more plant-based foods
- Limit saturated fat from animal products and fried foods
- Cut back on added sugars
- Consuming more fiber
- Consume more whole foods
Hope you have enjoyed this introduction to cholesterol and triglycerides. Please stay tuned for more information!