Scientific Concept: Good vs. Bad Cholesterol
Cholesterol has a rotten reputation, but it’s not all bad for the body. There’s “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol,” and learning the difference between the two, and how to control them, can help keep us healthy.
LDL and HDL are the two basic kinds of cholesterol, but it can be hard to keep up with the acronyms and remember which is which. There are a few memory tricks that can help you keep track, and we’ll throw in some simple lifestyle tips to help you lower your bad cholesterol and improve your good cholesterol. Here’s a hint: sitting less is a good start!
L is for Lower
Where cholesterol is concerned, L stands for “lower” and “less,” because LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that we should try to avoid. LDL are low density lipids or low density lipoproteins. LDL is the cholesterol that clogs your arteries and raises your risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. They are small blobs of cholesterol and fat proteins that float through your veins and arteries and cause inflammation, clogs and blockages, which can eventually lead to blood clots and heart attacks, just like when the gunk in your kitchen sink clogs your drain.
H Means Higher
HDL, by contrast, are high-density lipids or high-density lipoproteins. They are stiffer and denser than LDL, so they can clear out the LDL clogging your arteries, like bristles on a broom sweeping your veins clear. This one is easy to remember, too—H stands for “higher,” because you want more of this kind of cholesterol relative to your LDL levels.
Once you know the difference between HDL and LDL, you’re well on your way to taking the reins to improving your overall health by monitoring your cholesterol levels.
The Science Of Sitting
It’s what’s in your body that counts, far more than what you consume in your food. This means that whatever your diet is, you can still control your cholesterol by controlling your lifestyle, engaging in activities that boost good cholesterol and avoiding those that raise bad cholesterol.
We spoke to the team at Zen Space Desks who told us that sitting is associated with heart disease partly because of its effect on the body’s cholesterol levels. There are plenty of studies linking sedentary lifestyles to cholesterol levels. One study found that people who watched four hours of TV or movies per day had higher LDL levels and significantly lower HDL levels than those who didn’t.
If extended sitting is linked to high LDL levels, it makes sense that switching to standing and other kinds of movement is linked to lowering LDL. Studies show that replacing sitting time with standing time lowers bad cholesterol, raises good cholesterol and lowers blood sugar levels. Replacing sitting time with stepping had even greater benefits, including total body mass reduction and a significantly trimmer waist.
The science is simple: we want lower LDL, and higher HDL, and making simple lifestyle changes are an easy way to accomplish this simple goal. Replacing sitting with standing is a great way to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol, which can significantly improve your cardiovascular health and even lengthen your life! If you need more help on creating a healthy diet or improving your eating habits – talk to our dieticians about some simple ways to improve your diet and lifestyle!