Essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are lipids that are essential to your diet because our bodies cannot synthesize the nutrient ourselves, so we must get them from dietary sources. Examples of these are Omega-3 and Omega-6.
Omega-6 can be found in corn, soybean, sunflower seed, cottonseed, and peanut oils.
Omega-3 are found in fish, shellfish and flax. Omega-3 has a lot of health benefits, such as hypolipidemic and antithrombotic actions, which why it is so important to eat fish at least once a week and the reason why it is so common to supplement fish oil.
Contrary to popular belief, the well-known lipid, Cholesterol, is actually a steroid we need to incorporate in our diet (somewhat). The Dietary Guideline for Americans has proven that cholesterol intake does not have a relationship with you serum (blood) intake. Even the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics came and supported this! What a discovery!
Now, keep in mind, triglycerides are a type of lipid that are stored in your adipose (fat) tissue.
Low-Density Lipoprotein vs. High-Density Lipoprotein
HDL = good
HDL has the opposite function of LDL, it removes cholesterol from the body by returning it to the liver and attaching it to liver cells and bile which then are excreted.
LDL = bad
LDL is the major carrier of cholesterol, holding about 60% of your total blood cholesterol, and transports cholesterol to your body tissues.
LDL and HDL are synthesized by the liver.
High livers of LDL and low levels of HDL are both associated as an indicator of risk for heart disease.
what does all of this mean?
- Incorporate fish in your diet once a week for the intake of the essential fatty acid, omega-3, since we do not synthesize it ourself.
- Incorporate omega-6 into your diet as much as possible, and if lacking, include it by taking a multivitamin.
- Dietary cholesterol has no relationship with blood cholesterol, so monitoring dietary cholesterol in unnecessary.
- Increase your HDL's with olive oil, beans, whole grains, fruit, fish, flax, nuts, chia, avocado, soy, & red wine.
- Lower your LDL's by limiting fried food, red meats, ice cream, pizza, bagels, cream cheese, butter
If you struggle with blood cholesterol, triglyceride and LDL levels, contact your provider, consultant or nutritionist.