Diet, exercise and health

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Diet, exercise and health

Diet and cholesterol

  • A high level of cholesterol in the blood increases the risk of developing plaques in the walls of the arteries. Figure 1 shows how this can happen.
  • Sometimes, a clot blocks one of the arteries that take oxygenated blood to the heart muscle. This causes a heart attack - the muscle cannot work, so the heart cannot beat properly.
  • Eating saturated fats (those found in animal products) raises blood cholesterol levels. Unsaturated fats, found in plants, seem to lower blood cholesterol level.
  • Some people's bodies are better than others at keeping low levels of cholesterol in their blood. They have inherited this from their parents.

Good and bad cholesterol

  • Cholesterol is carried in your blood in two ways, as:
    • low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is 'bad' and can cause heart disease.
    • high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is 'good' as it can protect against heart disease by helping to remove cholesterol from the walls of blood vessels.
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