February 3, 2017
Foods that cause inflammation
Cholesterol is carried through your blood, attached to proteins. This combination of proteins and cholesterol is called a lipoprotein. Cholesterol is differentiated based on the type of lipoprotein that carries it. They are
LDL, or “bad” cholesterol transports cholesterol particles throughout your body. LDL cholesterol builds up in the walls of your arteries, making them hard and narrow.
HDL, or “good” cholesterol picks up excess cholesterol and takes it back to your liver.
Factors within your control — such as inactivity, obesity and an unhealthy diet — contribute to high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol. Factors beyond your control may play a role, too. For example, your genetic makeup may keep cells from removing LDL cholesterol from your blood efficiently or cause your liver to produce too much cholesterol.
Factors that may increase your risk of high cholesterol include:
Eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in commercially baked cookies and crackers, can raise your cholesterol level. Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, will also increase your total cholesterol.
Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol.
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).
Exercise helps boost your body’s HDL, or “good” cholesterol while increasing the size of the particles that make up your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, which makes it less harmful.
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.
High blood sugar contributes to higher LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries.