If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you might feel quite unnerved by that and be wondering if there`s anything you can do to help yourself. This topic is a large one that I`m going to break down over different posts, but the first thing I wanted to address was the balance of Good and bad fats.
Most people immediately start to reign in their fat content in their diets when getting a diagnosis like this, but it`s important to know that “good fats” will actually help to lower your cholesterol and should actually be increased.
Good fats to lower cholesterol
So, first, it's important to understand that there are two main types of cholesterol in your body: HDL, or "good" cholesterol, and LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. HDL cholesterol actually helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream and therefor lower your blood pressure, so it's important to have high levels of HDL cholesterol.
Now, here's where good fats come in. Unsaturated fats, which are found in foods like nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish, have been shown to increase levels of HDL cholesterol in the body. This is because when you eat unsaturated fats, they can actually replace some of the saturated and trans fats in your diet, which can increase your levels of LDL cholesterol.
Unsaturated fats can also help to lower your levels of triglycerides which can contribute to the development of high cholesterol. When you have high levels of triglycerides in your bloodstream, your liver produces more LDL cholesterol, which can build up in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. By lowering your levels of triglycerides, unsaturated fats can help to reduce your overall risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.
Good fats to lower high blood pressure
Diets that are high in unsaturated fats have been shown to help reduce blood pressure levels in people with hypertension.
One way that unsaturated fats can help lower blood pressure is by improving the function of your blood vessels. When you consume unsaturated fats, they can help your blood vessels to dilate, or widen, which can improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure. Additionally, unsaturated fats can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can also contribute to lower blood pressure levels.
Bad fats, also known as saturated and trans fats, can contribute to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are both risk factors for heart disease.
Let me explain how...
Saturated fats are found in foods like butter, cheese, red meat, and full-fat dairy products. When you eat too much saturated fat, it can raise your levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the "bad" cholesterol that can build up in your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease.
Saturated fat can also contribute to high blood pressure, as it can cause your blood vessels to become stiff and narrow, which makes it harder for your heart to pump blood through your body.
Trans fats are found in processed foods like fried foods, baked goods, and snack foods.
They're often listed on ingredient labels as "partially hydrogenated oils."
Like saturated fats, trans fats can increase your levels of LDL cholesterol and contribute to high blood pressure. They can also decrease your levels of HDL cholesterol, which is the "good" cholesterol that helps to remove LDL cholesterol from your bloodstream.
When you consume a diet that's high in bad fats, it can lead to the build up of fatty plaques in your arteries. These plaques can cause your blood vessels to become narrower and stiffer, which makes it harder for blood to flow through them. As a result, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body, which can lead to an increase in blood pressure.
Additionally, bad fats can contribute to inflammation in the body, which can also contribute to high blood pressure. When you consume too many saturated and trans fats, it can cause your body to produce more inflammatory chemicals, which can damage the walls of your blood vessels and increase your risk of hypertension.
To sum up
Good fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can be beneficial for lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
These healthy fats can help to improve the function of blood vessels and reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
To incorporate more healthy fats into your diet, choose foods like fatty fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, and flaxseed.
At the same time, it's important to limit your intake of bad fats, like saturated and trans fats, which can contribute to high blood pressure and cholesterol.
By making simple dietary changes and being mindful of your fat intake, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease and protect your overall health.
The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, dietary supplement, exercise, or other health program.