Diabetes and Cholesterol


If you have or are at risk of developing diabetes, you probably have been told to watch your cholesterol at some point. Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease due to high cholesterol levels. But what is cholesterol, and how is it linked to diabetes?

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol isn’t as bad as its reputation makes it seem — our bodies naturally produce cholesterol, and it’s vital for cell structures and hormone production. However, foods also contain cholesterol, and having too much of it can increase the risk of heart disease.

Also, not all cholesterol is the same. LDL cholesterol, known as the “bad” cholesterol, can cause cholesterol to build up in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol — it lowers LDL.

Diabetes and Cholesterol

Individuals with diabetes and high blood sugar levels are at an elevated risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Studies show that people with diabetes are more prone to low HDL levels and high LDL levels. They don’t have enough HDL to remove the LDL. Thus, lowering cholesterol levels through a healthy lifestyle is especially important for keeping your heart healthy.

Lowering Cholesterol Levels

Foods high in saturated fats, such as processed meats, red meat, dairy products, and butter, increase LDL cholesterol. Trans fats are the worst for cholesterol and are in processed oils, such as margarine or (partially) hydrogenated vegetable oils. Try to avoid trans fats at all costs. Instead, incorporate more unsaturated fats into your diet, such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, fatty fish, and avocado. These foods help increase HDL, making them heart-healthy fats.

MagicKitchen.com has plenty of heart-healthy complete meals that are low in fat and can help lower cholesterol levels. Eat plenty of fiber, found in whole grains, beans, legumes, and fruits and veggies. Fiber helps lower cholesterol levels and is essential for a healthy diet.