Low Density Lipoprotein – The Shocking Truth
Low density lipoprotein. You may have heard of the term after you had your cholesterol tested. Perhaps your doctor provided you with some brief information about how you need to improve your low density lipoprotein levels. Or maybe you simply stumbled upon this article due to your desire to learn more about how to attain a healthier heart and how to improve your overall cholesterol.
Regardless of how you arrived here, you can rest assure that you’ll leave here with a much broader knowledge of how low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol as it’s also called, affects your body and what you can do to combat these affects from occurring and progressing.
The prevalence of heart disease has increased quite significantly throughout the years. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, which accounts for 17.3 million deaths per year, a figure that is expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by the year 2030 . There are many different factors that can result in causing you to develop cardiovascular disease. Among one of those factors are your low density lipoprotein levels. So, what exactly are they?
Low density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered the “bad” cholesterol. They are essential molecules that are a combination of lipids (fats) and proteins. Lipoproteins are transported in the blood. Low density lipoprotein transports cholesterol from the liver to the tissues of the body .
How can low density lipoprotein harm you?
Low density lipoprotein can be harmful because it can turn into artery clogging plaque. This is the very plaque that can cause a heart attack or stroke. As this plaque builds up in your arteries, it increases arterial resistance. This makes it more difficult for blood to flow fluently throughout the cardiac cycle.
If your low density lipoprotein levels are abysmally high, then this will negatively affect your total cholesterol levels. Using a cholesterol levels chart will clearly show you where your levels should be at for total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Optimal low density lipoprotein levels are below 130 mg/dL. The middle range is 130-159 mg/dL, and the high risk range is over 159 mg/dL.
Foods that raise low density lipoprotein levels
You may be surprised of the vast amount of foods readily available to you at the supermarket that are highly potent with regards to their ability to raise your low density lipoprotein levels, while simultaneously lowering your “healthy” high density lipoprotein levels. This occurrence helps to create an environment in your body that encourages the development of cardiovascular disease. A manifestation that obviously no one desires to have.
Some foods that encourage such an environment are pizza, cheeseburgers, shellfish like shrimp, egg yolks, pork, and other foods that are very high in cholesterol and very low in heart healthy unsaturated fats. Your body is able to naturally produce all of the low density lipoprotein cholesterol you need. For adults who would benefit from lowering their low density lipoprotein cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends reducing saturated fat intake to no more than 5-6 % of your total calories. For someone who is eating 2,000 calories a day, that roughly comes around to 11-13 grams of saturated fat per day. It’s also recommended to reduce the percent of calories from trans fat as well .
Does exercise help improve low density lipoprotein levels?
Exercise in general is a very important tool to use to help you improve your cholesterol and triglycerides. You don’t have to train like an Olympic athlete to get the heart healthy benefits that exercise has to offer. Resistance exercise is very healthy for your heart as it thickens the left ventricle. Thus, increasing stroke volume. However, aerobic exercise may be more effective for improving your low density lipoprotein levels.
Clinical studies on aerobic exercises, such as jogging, running, and aerobics are among the most common. The results show that aerobic exercises appear to benefit cholesterol the most, by lowering low density lipoprotein cholesterol by 5-10% and raising high density lipoprotein cholesterol by 3-6% .
If you’re sedentary, then you should talk to your doctor before you start an exercise regimen to ensure that you’re healthy enough to do so. If you’re a fairly active person, then you can try all sorts of different exercises that will get you up and moving. Swimming, biking, tennis, hiking, even walking your dog is considered aerobic exercise. This type of fitness puts a significant demand on the cardiovascular system, which is just what you want if you’re looking to lower your low density lipoprotein levels.
What foods should you eat?
To lower your low density lipoprotein levels, you should try to eat foods that are high in heart healthy unsaturated fats and low in saturated fats. You should also check out each food’s cholesterol content. You may be surprised to find out how many foods are very high in cholesterol.
For example, most people believe that fish is a very healthy protein source that will greatly sway your cholesterol levels from abysmal to favorable. However, not all fish are created equal. Shellfish like shrimp and lobster are very high in cholesterol, while fish like salmon and herring are low in cholesterol and high in unsaturated fats.
Foods like peanut butter are also great for lowering low density lipoprotein levels as peanut butter has high amounts of mono- and poly- unsaturated fats. You can also try to eat more fruits and vegetables too. These foods contain heart healthy fiber that will help with lowering your cholesterol.
Other measures you can take to improve your levels
If exercise and eating right isn’t enough, you may want to opt for trying some heart healthy supplements. Supplements like fish oil softgels and omega-3 fatty acids are among some of the best available for helping you to lower your cholesterol and improve your heart health. This can be a very enticing option for you if you live a busy lifestyle and can’t quite find the time to cook every meal.
You can also find supplements that contain both fish oil and omega’s to give you even more heart healthy benefits. Fiber supplements can benefit your heart health as well. Psyllium husk caps are a very popular type of fiber supplement taken to help control cholesterol levels and improve intestinal health.
It’s very important to discuss all of your concerns and options with your doctor to ensure that you’re put on the path to success as soon as possible. If your low density lipoprotein levels are abysmal, there are indeed many ways to help improve them, as this article illustrates.
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2. “Medical Definition of LDL (low-density lipoprotein)”. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6232. Medicine Net. Accessed on Aug 2017.
3. “The Skinny on Fats”. Heart. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/The-Skinny-on-Fats_UCM_305628_Article.jsp#.WZ9DCyiGNPY. Accessed on Aug 2017.
4. Moll, Jennifer. “Which Exercise Routine Is Best to Lower Cholesterol?” Very Well. February 2017. https://www.verywell.com/lowering-cholesterol-exercise-routines-697887. Accessed on Aug 2017.