How to Love your Heart and Lower your Cholesterol
by Lucy Wyndham-Read
The most important muscle in our body is our HEART, but often we focus more on our weight and toning than we do on our underlying health. Yet really our overall health should be our primary concern, and the most important muscle for us all to keep toned and strong is our heart. The bonus of this is the stronger our heart, then the fitter our body, so we can also then get those super sleek arms and tiny toned tummy.
Imagine your heart as a pump; if you exercise what you get is a better, stronger pump. Regular exercise makes the heart more efficient. Exercising regularly promotes improvement in the heart s ability to transport and use oxygen, reduces blood clotting ,lowers blood pressure, boosts the HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol),increases your energy levels and the “feel good “chemicals in the brain! Plus off course we are still burning calories, getting in shape, sculpting our body and giving our complexion a beautiful glow all at the same time!
Here is how we can keep our cholesterol levels healthy. Let’s start with a simple analogy of cholesterol and our arteries. Imagine that your arteries are like a straw, and that you want to drink your favourite drink. But then imagine if there were bits of debris inside the straw. This would make it very hard to drink. And this is very similar to the effect of a build-up of cholesterol within our arteries causing narrowing of the arteries and even a blockage, which reflects how much harder your heart would have to work to get the flow through the arteries. But if the inside of the straw is clear, then you’re able to sip away and enjoy your drink. And if you have clear arteries, then this is easing on your heart.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is found naturally in the body as it plays a key role in the workings of every cell. The body also uses cholesterol to make vital chemicals. Cholesterol only becomes a problem if you have MORE than your body needs.
Cholesterol can’t dissolve in the blood so it has to be carried in the bloodstream by special transporters known as lipoproteins, which include low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL)
The one that is thought of as the bad guy here is the Low-Density LDL, and the good guy is the High-Density HDL.
If you have too much LDL in your body it then dumps the cholesterol to the sides of your arteries.
So this is why LDL is called the bad guy. But the good news is that you can lower the amount of LDL Cholesterol you have, by simply eating the right foods, which is all about eating the less saturated fat. Below is a guide to the best foods to eat to lower your cholesterol.
The good guy here, the HDL Cholesterol, is the opposite to the LDL, as this one hoovers up all the cholesterol that the bad guy, the LDL, has left sticking to the arteries. HDL goes through sucking it all up and takes cholesterol away from the arteries to the liver to be disposed of. This is why you should try to maintain a high level of HDL cholesterol. Exercise is a great way to increase your Good Cholesterol, HDL and also tone the most important muscle your heart!!
To keep your heart strong and healthy, focus on exercising, which could be anything such as a walk, run, swimming, or cycling. This will help to keep you heart healthy and strong. Look at doing some sort of activity/exercise 5 – 6 times a week.
To help lower your cholesterol, adopt a two-pronged approach. To reduce the Bad Guy Cholesterol, the LDL, focus on a low saturated fat, healthy diet.
And then to increase the good guy, the HDL, you need to focus again on the exercise, so keep your body moving, and this will help keep more of the high levels of the Good Cholesterol.
Understanding and visualizing in simple terms how heart and cholesterol work in our body can help give us that extra motivation. By getting a better grasp of how we work, we can work ever better.
In the end it always goes back to basics: eat healthily and move more!!
For more information on Cholesterol visit: http://heartuk.org.uk/