What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an oil-based substance, or we can say a waxy, fat-like substance which is produced in our body by the liver and is present in all cells of the body. Cholesterol plays an important role in how every cell works and is required to make Vitamin D, some hormones, and substances that help in food digestion. It is also found in some of the foods we eat. A high level of cholesterol can be a danger as it can cause heart and circulatory diseases.
Your bloodstream is the main path through which the cholesterol travels in your body. It travels in small packages which are known as lipoproteins. There are two main forms of lipoproteins: LDL (low-density lipoproteins) and HDL (high-density lipoproteins). It is important to have healthy levels of both the types of lipoproteins. LDL is called ‘bad cholesterol’ because it is unhealthy and a high LDL level can lead to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. HDL is called good cholesterol’ because it is safe and through HDL, the cholesterol is carried from other parts of the body to back to the liver.
Causes of high blood cholesterol:
High blood cholesterol is a condition in which you have too much cholesterol in your blood, and this is quite a danger to your body as it can cause coronary heart diseases. Coronary heart disease is a condition where plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, and it restricts the blood flow. Plaque is made up of four things: cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances that are present in the blood. When this plaque is building up in the arteries, then this condition is termed as “atherosclerosis.”
High blood cholesterol is caused by the high levels of LDL cholesterol which leads to building up of cholesterol in the arteries. This can be explained as a rather simple premise: the higher the levels of LDL cholesterol, greater the chance of getting heart disease and the higher the levels of HDL cholesterol, lower the chances of getting heart diseases.
High cholesterol symptoms
There are no symptoms or signs of high cholesterol. A blood test can only detect it.
How to reduce the levels of cholesterol:
The following tips will help you to reduce your cholesterol levels:
- Change your diet
Most of the foods contain cholesterol which is bad for our health. Therefore, we must keep an eye on what we are eating. Fruits, beans, vegetables, wholegrain and other such wholesome ingredients can help you reduce the cholesterol levels naturally. Take the following fat in a small amount or avoid it completely :
- Saturated fats: This includes butter, coconut oil, meat, full-fat and low-fat dairy products like cream, whole and low-fat milk, cheese and other such ingredients.
- Dietary cholesterol: Egg yolks, shellfish, organ meat are the main sources of this type of cholesterol.
- Trans fat: Foods which have hydrogenated fat in the ingredients list contain trans fat. One should avoid them completely.
Consume more and more protein or choose protein-rich foods: Beans, legumes, nuts are healthy and protein-rich. Beans also help in lowering the sugar levels and can also help in lowering the cancer risk.
- Stick to these products while choosing soybean products: Soya bean, Soya milk, and Tofu.
- Exercise daily
Exercise keeps you fit, and healthy even as it ensures that all your organs function in the best possible manner. It can help in curing many diseases including the high cholesterol levels. One to two hours of walk daily will reduce your cholesterol levels and high blood pressure as well.
- Lose excess weight
Losing excess weight will help you in many ways. It will not only reduce your cholesterol, but it will also help in reducing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, strokes and many types of cancer.
Lower the intake of refined grains (such as white flour) in your diet: White bread, white flour, white pasta constitutes of our daily diet. We are unaware of their negative aspects. White flour is often injected with sugar, salt, and fat. The more white or refined grain we consume, the fewer whole grains tend to get ingested by us, and that is where the problems begin. Therefore, we must avoid refined grains to reduce the cholesterol level.
- Sleep at least 8-10 hours daily
A good sleep and a good laugh can cure anything. Sleep deprivation results in the increase of LDL cholesterol which is also known as “bad cholesterol” which also contributes to a high blood pressure and leads to overeating. A sound 8-10 hours sleep will help reduce the cholesterol levels.
- Check your vitamin D level
Lower the vitamin D, higher the cholesterol level. You should get your vitamin D checked along with blood sugar levels. Also, it is essential to consume vitamin D-rich products as they will help in reducing your cholesterol levels.