Why cholesterol is bad for you
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Therefore, preventing or lowering cholesterol can be vital to our health. There are several factors that can lead to increased cholesterol including exercise, age, and genetics. However, diet is often one of the major causes.
There are two types of cholesterol found in the blood, which are often referred to as “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
Having “good” cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein, makes you less likely to suffer these complications.
Whereas “bad” cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein puts you at greater risk of this.
One study found a key ingredient in a cup of tea could determine how much good cholesterol you have.
Research by a team from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark showed that full-fat milk, also known as whole milk, was more effective at increasing high-density lipoprotein compared to skimmed milk.
The paper, which was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, analysed the blood of 17 adults who incorporated one type of milk into their diets for three weeks and then repeated with the other milk.
It says: “Dietary guidelines have for decades recommended choosing low-fat dairy products due to the high content of saturated fat in dairy known to increase blood concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
“However, meta-analyses including observational studies show no association between overall dairy intake and risk of cardiovascular disease and even point to an inverse association with type 2 diabetes.
“The objective was to compare the effects of whole milk (3.5 percent fat) with skimmed milk (0.1 percent fat) on fasting serum blood lipids, insulin, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects.”
High-density lipoprotein works to reduce cholesterol levels by absorbing it and carrying it back to the liver.
The liver then removes it from the body.
In contrast, low-density lipoprotein is what can build up on the walls of your blood vessels.
Over time this causes the insides of the vessels to narrow.
The study concludes: “Whole milk increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations significantly compared to skimmed milk.
“There were no significant differences between whole milk and skimmed milk in effects on total and low-density cholesterol, triacylglycerol, insulin, and glucose concentrations.
“These findings suggest that if the higher energy content is taken into account, whole milk might be considered a part of a healthy diet among the normal cholesterolemic population.”
Generally a healthy level of total cholesterol in the blood is considered to be five or less millimoles per litre (mmol/l).
More specifically, a healthy level of high-density lipoprotein is one or more mmol/l.
And you should have four or less mmol/l of low-density lipoprotein.
To reduce cholesterol levels the NHS advises:
- Eating less saturated fat
- Exercising more
- To stop smoking
- Cutting back on alcohol.
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