Every senior has been told time again to watch their cholesterol. It is the boogieman of any diet, and is always there, whether we think about it or not. But what is it really? Would our bodies really create something unnecessary and solely bent on destroying itself? The answer is obviously no, but our general understanding is still lacking. Luckily, the American Heart Association is here to shed some light on cholesterol, and all its good, bad, and ugly qualities.
What it is
Cholesterol is a lipid, or blood fat, which is naturally produced in our liver. It helps create new cells, allowing our bodies to heal and function normally. It serves a purpose, but management is essential. Too little and your body won’t function, and too much causes high blood pressure and risk of other serious health issues. Cholesterol can be broken down into three categories: HDL, LDL, and Triglycerides.
Of the two main types, HDL is the “good” cholesterol. It protects cells in our blood stream. HDL stands for High-Density-Lipoprotein, and it eats away at bad cholesterol to keep your arteries open and clear. We can prioritize HDL through diet and exercise.
The second type, LDL is the “bad’ cholesterol, and responsible for cholesterol’s bad rap in general. Low-Density-Lipoprotein narrows our arteries; it comes from our food and forces our livers to overproduce cholesterol. Sugary diets are responsible for overproduction of LDL and lowering HDL.
Finally, Triglycerides is a fancy name for fat. The fat in our bodies help us store energy. Neither good nor bad, triglyceride can be helpful or harmful to the body depending on how high one type of cholesterol is over the other. Too much triglyceride with high LDL is what our bodies need to avoid for better health.
The Council for Retirement Security is fighting to protect every senior’s retirement. You can protect your own retirement by prioritizing your physical health. By managing your sugar, along with exercise, you can protect your heart, while gifting yourself good health and a long retirement.