Our bodies depend on cholesterol, which is found in our blood, for the creation of healthy new cells. When cholesterol levels are too high you run the risk of having a heart attack. If your levels consistently stay high you can end up with fatty deposits in your blood vessels. If they keep growing they will probably end up blocking your blood flow or even worse, they could break off into a clot. Either way, you will have a good chance of having a stroke or heart issues.
There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein is referred to as LDL (the bad one) and high-density lipoprotein known as HDL (the good one). The purpose of LDL is to send the particles of cholesterol through the body. If it builds up in the arteries it leaves them narrow and hard. HDL takes care of any excess cholesterol and sends it back to the liver.
While cholesterol is responsible for your cells, triglycerides are lipids that also play a part in the status of your arteries and are often included on a cholesterol test. They take the calories that are not used and store them while giving you energy. If your triglycerides are too high they could cause your arteries to harden and the result could be heart problems, a heart attack or a vascular condition.
There are no symptoms for having high LDL cholesterol, so you will only find out if you have it when you have blood work taken. Some of the reasons you may have high bad cholesterol levels are from eating poorly, being overweight, smoking cigarettes, having diabetes, not exercising regularly, and getting older. However, your diet does make an impact on your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, especially if you eat these foods:
1. Legumes, beans, lentils
It only takes consuming a 1/2 cup of these plant-based foods to reduce your LDL cholesterol by up to 6.6 mg/dl.
With its combination of fiber and monounsaturated fats, avocados can raise your HDL cholesterol while reducing your LDL cholesterol. They can also lower elevated triglycerides.
3. Fatty fish
Mackerel and salmon are filled with omega-3 fatty acids which raise the HDL cholesterol cutting chances of having vascular issues. Tuna can reduce the chance of having a brain blockage by 27%.
4. Walnuts and almonds
Nuts have high levels of monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids which is important for the health of your heart. Almonds contain L-arginine which keeps your blood pressure regulated. Consuming 2 to 3 servings a day of nuts was found to reduce LDL cholesterol by about 10.2 mg/dl.
5. Oats and barley
More than 45 tests showed consuming three servings of these grains reduced the risk of heart problems and stroke by 20%.
6. Dark chocolate
Studies showed that people who consumed cocoa two times a day for one month saw their LDL cholesterol drop 6.5 mg/dl, their blood pressure went down and their HDL went up.