Sharing my opinion on LDL, HDL and cholesterol and making it simple:
LDL? HDL? What the HELL? The world of cholesterol and which one is good cholesterol and which one is bad, can be confusing to say the least! When your blood work comes back, what do all the numbers even mean? I had a professor at Cornell that did an amazing job of making this world of madness a little less mind-boggling. So, I will take his words and break them down even further.
Here we go: LDL, HDL, VLDL and IDL are lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are a combination of fats and proteins. I am just going to focus on the LDL and HDL.
LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. LDL is called the “bad cholesterol.” Think about it, do your really think your Creator made your body and said, “Just for fun, let me but something “bad” in it.” No. LDL isn’t the bad guy here. LDL is like a train. The train travels throughout your body dropping off passengers. The passengers on the LDL train are; triglycerides, phospholipids and cholesterol. The LDL train cruises around the body dropping off passengers to different organs. Cholesterol forms cell membranes, cortisol, vitamin D and digestive bile salts. Phospholipids are needed for cell integrity. Triglycerides are a huge source of energy for our heart and muscles. LDL has an extremely important job. We are the ones that make LDL the bad guy. There are two types of LDL particles, A and B. A is large and fluffy and they are the ones traveling through the body doing their job of keeping us going. The B particles are small and dense and are the problem particles. When we eat too many carbs and sugar, the LDL gets over loaded with triglycerides. They will continue to keep circulating around the body, they have no place to go and they become oxidized. These now oxidized (think of it like rust) LDL particles get picked up by inflammatory cells in the vessel walls, and stick there. Thus the beginning of coronary artery disease.
Now on to HDL: these are high-density lipoproteins. HDL comes from the liver, and works as a vacuum cleaner sucking up excess cholesterol and bringing it back to the liver. If your HDL is good, then it can counter balance the LDL particles that have gone bad. But if you do not exercise and your HDL is low, the bad LDL stays stuck to the artery walls building up plaque.
What does all this mean to you? When you get your blood work back you want your LDL to be lower than 100. Your HDL should be higher than 60. The idea is to keep your body flowing like the fine-tuned machine it is meant to be and avoid having to go on statin drugs. You can lower your LDL by eating less bread, pasta, processed foods, fried foods and junk foods. Eating more veggies and fruit and good fats like avocado, salmon, cod and cooking with olive oil. To raise your HDL, get out and find an exercise that works for you. Walking, yoga, running, the warrior dash, the gym, kayaking, tennis, I don’t care as long as you are jump starting that vacuum in your arteries. Keep LDL your friend and not the enemy.
Rosemary shrimp with peaches and mangos:
¼ cup of chopped fresh garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
16 jumbo shrimp
2 mangos chopped
2 peaches chopped
Mix everything but the olive oil in a bowl. Let is marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. Put olive oil in a pan and sauté till shrimp is done. Serve over brown rice. Shrimp was once thought of increasing LDL, but not true! It can actually increase levels of HDL.