Recently I got life insurance and had to have my blood drawn. I was shocked to find out that I had high cholesterol. I am a clean eater so it baffles me as to why my levels are so high. Thus spawning the following research.
What Causes High Cholesterol? According to the Mayo Clinic
- Smoking. Cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, making them likely to accumulate fatty deposits. Smoking may also lower your level of HDL, or "good," cholesterol.
- Obesity. Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol.
- Large waist circumference. Your risk increases if you are a man with a waist circumference of at least 40 inches (102 centimeters) or a woman with a waist circumference of at least 35 inches (89 centimeters).
- Poor diet. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will increase your total cholesterol. Eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers, also can raise your cholesterol level.
- Lack of exercise. Exercise helps boost your body's HDL "good" cholesterol while lowering your LDL "bad" cholesterol. Not getting enough exercise puts you at risk of high cholesterol.
- Diabetes. High blood sugar contributes to higher LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries.
There are secondary causes for high cholesterol such as:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Pregnancy and other conditions that increase levels of female hormones
- Underactive thyroid gland.
- Drugs that increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol (progestins, anabolic steroids and corticosteroids).
Why Should I Care?
In researching this a little more I found this great interactive article 11 Effects of High Cholesterol effects on the Body, by Healthline.
Bad cholesterol or LDL can cause problems in your Circulatory and Digestive System, resulting in possible heart attacks and/or gallstones. Healthline shows high cholesterol levels can manifest in your body in many different ways.
How to Reduce High Cholesterol
Get tested yearly.
While researching this topic I found that there are certain foods that you can eat to help reduce cholesterol. Prevention.com states there are 12 foods that may help.
2. Red wine
3. Salmon & fatty fish
8. Margarine ***
12. Olive oil
*** If you are a clean eater then #8 is not an option. I personally am very aware of how much REAL butter I eat.