Los Angeles, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/11/2013 -- The word Cholesterol is mentioned in fitness and wellness news on a daily basis, but many admit they don’t fully understand what it is, and how it affects our overall health. Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy material the liver produces naturally to protect nerves, produce hormones and assist in making tissue for new cells. There are two types of cholesterol the body produces naturally: the good kind, HDL (High Density Lipoprotein), and the bad kind, LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein). While HDL assists in keeping LDL levels in check, a build-up of too much LDL resulting from diet, aging, genetics, or lack of physical activity can eventually lead to heart disease and other health issues.
While a majority of the media focuses on how to lowering cholesterol, it’s important to remind ourselves that some of the substance is needed. The protective cushioning it provides to nerve cells helps keep the bad cholesterol away from arteries, and HDL also assists in producing hormones that help our bodies digest and metabolize fat. Protecting the nerves also assists in the formation of memories, making cholesterol vital for neurological function and maintenance.
Knowing the difference in the types of cholesterol our body produces can aid us in understanding how to keep these levels within a healthy range. While some factors in cholesterol levels, such as genetics, age and gender, are out of our control, we can make changes in our diet and physical activity levels.
Reducing intake of saturated fat and cholesterol can make a difference, as can being overweight. Maintaining a healthy diet and reducing weight by as little as 10 percent can make a large difference on cholesterol levels. In addition to diet, physical activity can assist in reducing LDL levels to nominal ranges, and assist in raising HDL levels. This activity will also aid in weight reduction, and can encourage a person to make better choices regarding diet to maintain the sensation of well-being that being active produces.
Those with concerns should consult their physician to determine current cholesterol levels, and then adjust practices accordingly. Through diet and exercise, both healthy and bad cholesterol are easily managed problems that can increase overall health and wellness.
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