Cholesterol is a type of fat that is carried around in the blood.
It performs useful functions in the body and is a major building
block for cells and many of your hormones, including oestrogen,
testosterone and cortisol. Cholesterol is also important for the
synthesis of vitamin D, as well as bile acids which aid in the
digestion of fats. Our bodies manufacture cholesterol but it can
also be found in foods containing saturated fats. It is important
to check your cholesterol levels regularly. Even though our
bodies need some cholesterol, having high cholesterol can
be bad for your health and increase the risk of cardiovascular
THE GOOD VS. THE BAD
HDL and LDL are letters that you may have seen before on a
blood test. Total cholesterol is made up of two types of cholesterol, often
referred to as “good” and “bad” cholesterol.
• High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is essentially the “good”
form of cholesterol. It carries cholesterol from the tissues
to the liver to be broken down and excreted. HDL helps to
decrease cardiovascular risk.
• Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is often referred to as the
“bad” form of cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol
can leave cholesterol deposits in the arteries, increasing the
risk of the coronary artery disease known as atherosclerosis.
• It is important to keep your HDL:LDL ratio in balance; aim
towards having higher levels of the “good” and lower levels
of the “bad” cholesterol.
NATURAL SUPPORT FOR CHOLESTEROL
Staying healthy will reduce your risk of cardiovascular and chronic disease in
the future. There are some key nutrients specifically to
help maintain healthy cholesterol levels and cardiovascular
• Polymethoxyflavones: Also known as PMFs, these natural
antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds found in
citrus peel assist in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
Researhytochemicals found in PMFs, may assist in lowering LDL
levels by reducing synthesis and increasing the clearance of
• Tocotrienols: Tocotrienols are members of the vitamin E
family. These antioxidants also increase the clearance of LDL
cholesterol and reduce the body’s production of LDL.
• Krill oil: The oil from the crustacean, krill, has been shown
to be beneficial for cholesterol balance, particularly by
supporting HDL levels.
• Fish oil: 2 g to 4 g of combined EPA/DHA has been shown to
decrease triglyceride levels and is beneficial for heart health.
SIX TIPS FOR OPTIMAL CARDIOVASCULAR PERFORMANCE
Take on these tips for eating and living to support healthy
cholesterol and cardiovascular health:
• Follow the Mediterranean diet. People eating this diet rich in
essential nutrients and antioxidants have the lowest rates of
cardiovascular disease in the world.
• Reduce saturated fats by choosing lean meats. Eating too
much saturated fat may increase your weight and cholesterol
• Eliminate detrimental trans fats found in many fast foods,
fried foods and packaged baked goods.
• Cut down on sugary refined carbohydrates and processed
food. These foods often contain ‘hidden sugars’ that can be
converted to fat when supply is high.
• Weight loss. If you are overweight, losing extra weight will
help to lose the risk factors associated with cardiovascular
• Get moving towards a healthy lifestyle. Exercise improves
cardiovascular and overall health and supports your “good”
cholesterol levels. Move away from unhealthy habits such as
smoking and excessive alcohol intake as they increase your