You turn on the television, and a Honey Nut Cheerios commercial is on. Instead of painting a picture of the sweet and sticky goodness you’re used to tasting, the bee highlights that the product will help lower cholesterol. What’s so good about that? You wonder. Why would cholesterol be more important than all the other positives the cereal possesses?
What is Cholesterol?
Extracting cholesterol from your body would reveal a waxy substance that looks similar to fat. This substance is naturally occurring in the body, so all of your cells contain it. Despite the rumors, cholesterol isn’t a bad thing, you need it to perform everyday bodily functions and obtain vitamins. There are two main types of cholesterol:
High-Density Lipoprotein- HDL are the good group of cholesterol. This type can prevent the illnesses that having too much cholesterol would normally cause. High-Density Lipoproteins are denser than LDL, hence, the name. HDL functions by flowing through the bloodstream and removes all bad cholesterol; this cholesterol is sent to the liver and then reconstructed. High-Density Lipoproteins act as the maintenance man in your body, scrubbing away at the cell wall and arteries.
Low-Density Lipoprotein- LDL are the black sheep, no one wants them, and those that do aren’t aware of their reputation. As these lipoproteins swim through the bloodstream, they get caught onto the cells and arteries. Primarily, this wouldn’t seem like a problem but after a while, cholesterol builds closing the cell wall and arteries to create what is called a blockage.
The Effects of High Cholesterol
Your blood and bodily fluids need to flow efficiently to keep your heart functioning properly. It is obvious that once your cell wall and arteries are clogged, this can’t happen, resulting in some major issues. High cholesterol is the most common illness diagnosed when levels are awkward and is just the first steps to contacting other diseases.
Stroke- There is an artery that supplies blood to the brain and when this is blocked a stroke occurs.
Heart Attack- This painful anomaly occurs when the heart is deprived of blood and oxygen, typically due to cholesterol buildup.
Heart disease- Having too many low-density lipoproteins raises your risk of having a heart attack. It is already tough enough to predict when these attacks will occur, so you don’t want to increase the chances. A buildup of cholesterol is called plaque.
Atherosclerosis- The diagnosis given when the arteries contain excessive plaque.
So how does one get high cholesterol? Let me count the ways:
- What you eat- If you eat foods that are high in saturated fats, you may get high cholesterol at some point in your life. Saturated fat gets hard and can stay inside of the body, which clog the arteries. Think of the reason you don’t pour fat down your drain, now pretend the pipes are your arteries…
- It’s in your genes- Studies show that if your family history reveals high cholesterol as a common concern, you may end up with it too. My theory is that because families generally eat the same foods, they end up with high cholesterol.
- How much you weigh- Being overweight can cause the body’s amount of LDL to increase, causing good cholesterol to disappear. If you are a larger person, you may also have a poor diet.
- How active you are- Sitting around all day can increase the amount of bad cholesterol in the body. Get up and exercise to increase high-density lipoproteins.
- You’re a smoker- Smoking can increase the amount of low-density lipoproteins in the body.
- Your Gender- Women tend to have lower cholesterol until they hit menopause.
- Are you healthy? – There are a few illnesses that can increase your risk of having high cholesterol including diabetes and thyroid disease.
A Low Cholesterol Diet
Remember, you want to maintain more high-density lipoprotein than low, you can do this by following a few simple rules:
- Get a lipid test to see where your body is currently. Knowing how many HDL vs. LDL you have can give you a great starting point. Aim for around 60 milligrams per deciliter for HDL content. It is recommended that you are tested every five years.
- Working out can increase the amount of HDL in the body. If you recall from an earlier section, it can create its cholesterol.
- Stop smoking NOW! You know that smoking increases your risk for so many illnesses, so why not kick the habit? As discussed earlier, cigarette smoke will lower the number of high-density lipoproteins in the body.
- If you aren’t a very active person, make sure you stay at a healthy weight, stick to a method that works for you.
- If you are a diabetic pay close attention to your glucose levels to ensure they remain normal.
- In severe cases, the doctor can prescribe medication to lower cholesterol, but remember medications have side effects.
Eating foods that are low in saturated fat and cholesterol can also help decrease the amount of LDL in the body, here is an extensive list of the best cholesterol reducing foods!
Create your own Lip Products
Here are a whole slew of DIY lip recipes, I will provide the source in case you need more information! Check out our guide for naturally beautiful lips.
- All natural powder blush
- Melt crayons in a lip gloss pot.
- Sweet almond oil
- Powdered blush
- Essential oils
- Coconut milk
- Leftover lipstick
- Lip balm
Beet root stain
- Beet root
- Lip gloss
Tinted lip balm (Provided by Wellness Mama)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon beeswax
- 1 tablespoon shea butter
- 1/2 teaspoon red or rose mica powder
- optional: 2-4 drops of peppermint essential oil
Very Berry Stain (Provided by The Beauty Department)
- 1 raspberry
- 3 pomegranate seeds
- 3 blackberries
- ½ teaspoon of olive oil
Kool-Aid Stain (Provided by Elle )
- Kool-aid powder
Now that you’re aware of which foods are good to eat, let’s go over foods that you should avoid. Most of these happen to contain a large amount of saturated fat.
- Macaroni and cheese
- Ice cream
- Ribeye steak
- Poultry skin
- Fried chicken
- French fries
- Cream cheese
- Red meat
- Microwave popcorn
- Store bought baked goods
Lower your cholesterol and change your life, you already know what could happen if you neglect it! Just like protecting your skin from the sun is a no brainer, so too is a cholesterol lowering diet.