The Good and the Bad…Cholesterol and the Caveman Diet
You’ve probably heard of good and bad cholesterol, or maybe even LDL and HDL, but you may be wondering what the difference is, and what all these terms mean. Following a paleo diet has been shown to lead to significant changes in cholesterol, but it’s important when on a paleolithic diet to understand the differences between the two types of cholesterol, in order to ensure you’re eating a diet that is conducive to a healthy cholesterol level.
Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is often referred to as the bad cholesterol. When too much LDL is found in the bloodstream, it can build up on walls of the arteries. If a clot forms, there is the possibility of heart attack or stroke.
High-density lipoprotein, also known as HDL, is referred to as good cholesterol. HDL is known to reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease.
Foods that are known to lower your bad cholesterol levels are important to the paleo diet. Examples include foods with fiber, such as leafy green vegetables, berries and other fruits. Fatty fish and foods that are rich in Omega-3 fats are also a great way to lower bad cholesterol levels. Fish is a great food to enjoy on the paleo diet, and some fish that are particularly high in cholesterol-reducing fats include mackerel, trout, albacore tuna, salmon and halibut.
Walnuts, almonds and other nuts are also great for your cholesterol, and also a very important part of a well-rounded paleo diet. Nuts are full of polyunsaturated fatty acids, to protect the health of your blood vessels. Nuts can also be a replacement for dairy products, such as cheese, or grain products, such as croutons to top off your salads.
Olive oil, which is a staple of many paleo recipes, is also a great fat for reducing LDL levels in the blood, while helping the body to maintain its levels of HDL. Extra-virgin olive oil, which is the most paleo-friendly type of oil, is also the most healthy and has the most beneficial impact on cholesterol.
Trans fats, found in many processed and premade foods, such as baked goods, are shown to have a very negative impact on bad cholesterol levels. The paleo diet is inherently beneficial for your cholesterol, because a cornerstone of the diet is the elimination of processed foods heavy in trans fats.