Half of the people who read this article are affected by heart disease from cholesterol. Dr. Oz’s helper of the day, Yolanda, said that she had her cholesterol checked, and that her doctor said it was a good level, but she did not know her cholesterol level. This is a major no-no. If you called up a bank, would you be ok to just hear them say your account looks fine, or would you want to know the actual amount of money in the account? When you take a cholesterol test, find out what your level is, and remember it! This will be useful for you in the future.
Cholesterol is both good and bad. The good side of cholesterol helps to make cell membranes in your body. The bad part of cholesterol is the thick plaque that builds in your aorta, making it more difficult for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. The aorta is a big tube that carries blood around your body. Dr. Oz showed a bad aorta, which is hard, flaky, with lots of cracks. If one of these chips flake off of the aorta and goes to your brain, you get a stroke. So a healthy aorta is important not just because of heart disease, but also because of the risk of a stroke.
As a demonstration of what LDL (lousy bad) cholesterol and HDL (healthy good) cholesterol do, Dr. Oz had a large tube (the “aorta”), a tub of thick grease (cholesterol plaque), a melon baller and an ice cream scoop. Dr. Oz acted as the bad cholesterol and used the ice cream scooper to scoop the cholesterol plaque into the “aorta”, and Yolanda acted as the good cholesterol and used the melon baller to try and remove the cholesterol plaque from the “aorta.” Dr. Oz quickly took over and the bad cholesterol filled up the aorta. However, if you increase the good cholesterol in your system then Yolanda (the “good” cholesterol) would also get an ice cream scooper… so while Dr. Oz filled the aorta with cholesterol plaque, Yolanda was able to keep up and clean out the aorta. This is why you want to keep your LDL cholesterol under 100 mg/DL.
What else can you do to boost your good cholesterol and reduce your bad cholesterol? Well of course there is exercise and medications, but you cannot ignore the foods you ingest. For example, white bread, even though it isn’t high in cholesterol, is very bad for you. Not only is white bread bleached and not natural, but it contains sugars and carbohydrates that deposits fat around your belly. Anything that gives you belly fat will drive your bad cholesterol up. Liver, whole milk and dark chicken meat all hurt you. Monosaturated fats and fiber, such as olive oil and whole wheat bagels, help improve your cholesterol levels.