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Shot Through the Heart: Saving Cholesterol's Name

By Genevieve Smith

Cholesterol has a bad name. While the compound is necessary for the production of hormones and Vitamin D, among other things, it essentially exists in two categories in your body: good and bad. While this is no comic book storyline of heroes versus villains, it is safe to say that some forms of cholesterol are here to help you out (in the form of HDL, or high-density lipoproteins) and others can’t help but gang up to bring you down (popping up as LDL, apolipoprotein B, and others). While we could cover foods to cut out in order to ward off those destructive forms of cholesterol, that’s no fun. Let’s get zesty and track some foods that bring in the form of cholesterol that’s on your side.

Heart-Friendly Foods

Here are some foods that will make you healthier.

Beans - Bring on the summer succotash because it’s bean time. Legumes contain elements which help reduce levels of the LDL form of cholesterol in your body. Shoot for a cup of beans a day. Over time, researchers have seen a 5 percent drop in LDL levels with that serving size, which pans out to reducing the risk for heart attack or stroke by 5 percent as well. Yum.

Avocados - OK, almost nobody can argue with an invite to eat avocados. They’re like the vegetable world’s heart-healthy version of butter. High in fiber and dense in nutrients, avocados help halt the body’s absorption of that pesky LDL cholesterol, as found in a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Incorporate an avocado a day into a healthy and balanced, moderate-fat diet, and you may see a 10 percent drop in LDL and 8 percent reduction in total non-HDL cholesterol like the participants in a 2015 study.

Soy - Step up your game and make a super succotash with a secret ingredient: Edamame. A 2015 meta-analysis of soy-based foods found nutrients in soy help beat down the fats that don’t have your best interests at heart. Like participants in the study, you too could see a 3 percent drop in LDL and a 4 percent decrease in triglycerides (the multi-chain fats associated with heart disease) by eating 14 to 50 grams of soy daily.  

Oats - Oats are absolutely your partner in fighting cholesterol crime. They break up non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, a lipoprotein that partners up with “bad” cholesterol as its get-away car, transporting it through your bloodstream to do you harm.

Delve into summer-friendly recipes of avocado toast, cool bean salads and homemade nutrition bars to wage a silent but friendly war on the kind of cholesterol that’s looking to take you down. Forget not that there is indeed good cholesterol out there in the world, and it’s here to help build a better you -- from aiding in hormone production to strengthening your bones via Vitamin D. High-density lipoproteins are the cholesterols here to help.  

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Mint Hill, N.C.


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