What is cholesterol exactly? Well, cholesterol is a wax-like substance that occurs naturally in the body. The body needs some cholesterol to function properly; however, too much cholesterol build up can have a very negative effect. In combination with other substances in your blood, the cholesterol can stick to the walls of your arteries, eventually forming plaque. According to the National Institutes of Health, plaque can narrow your arteries or even clog them entirely.
Eventually, as you age, your cholesterol levels will rise. There are usually no signs or symptoms, but it can be detected through doctor administered blood tests. People who are 20 years or older are recommended to check their cholesterol levels at least once a year. Individuals who are overweight or obese or eat a lot of fatty foods are more likely to suffer from high cholesterol.
Fortunately, there are several ways to deal with managing high cholesterol. Individuals can engage in heart-healthy activities that help to reduce their cholesterol levels and prevent those levels from reaching dangerous heights. A proper diet and exercise regimen are one of the more powerful methods, aside from avoiding trans fats.
What are Trans Fats?
Trans fats can raise your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower your good levels (HDL) of cholesterol. Frequently eating foods with trans fats can increase your risk of heart disease or stroke. Trans fats are associated with a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Where are Trans Fats Found?
Trans fats are unnatural fats that are typically found in fried and processed foods. They decrease your brainpower and zap your memory. Trans fats also cause cellular destruction and wreak havoc on your hormone production. Additionally, trans fats adversely affect memory and can increase inflammation in the brain. As a result, trans fats inhibit the body’s ability to produce Omega-3 fatty acids; these are essential to brain function.
Avoid foods that have the ingredient “vegetable shortening” or “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” in the ingredient list. According to Joey Gochnour, Registered Dietician Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer at Nutrition and Fitness Professional, LLC, “There is no safe amount of this that can be consumed without a disproportionately negative effect on health, according to the research.”
Labeling Trans Fats
Did you know that labels are allowed to round down how many grams of Trans Fats are in their products? If a product has less than 0.5 grams of Trans Fats, a product is allowed to round down to 0 grams per serving. However, most people eat more than what an actual determined serving is. Some peanut butter has gone back to using palm oil which accomplishes the same creamy effect as trans fats oils.
Baked goods from stores are among the foods that are likely to contain trans fats, and that’s why some cardiologists avoid them. Not only are they high in calories, fat, and sugar, they also have trans fats. Instead, make these same baked goods at home to avoid those added calories, fats, and sugars.
Additionally, many processed foods contain partially hydrogenated oils, also known as PHO. The major dietary industrially produced trans fats in processed foods, according to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Food manufacturers must remove the primary source of trans fats by 2018.Related: 20 Foods That Help Lower Cholesterol