What is cholesterol? Is all cholesterol bad for health? You might get these questions when thinking of cholesterol or are advised to get your lipid profile test done. Get answers to all your questions by reading this post below.
Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance, which is found in the cells in our body, produced by the liver. Your body needs cholesterol to make hormones, Vitamin D, and substances which enhance the digestion of food.
If cholesterol level rises too high in our blood than the normal range, it combines with other substances and form plaque. This plaque adheres to the wall of arteries and gradually thickens up to obstruct the normal blood flow through the vessels. This condition is known as atherosclerosis and leads to coronary artery diseases due to the blockage of arteries of the heart.
Lipoproteins are proteins carrying cholesterol through the blood.
There are mainly two types of lipoproteins.
- HDL: High-Density Lipoproteins: It is also called good cholesterol (High levels of HDL in the blood are better)
According to research, HDL acts as scavenger: It is believed to carry LDL (Bad cholesterol) away from arteries and back to the liver and is passed out from the body.
A healthy HDL level prevents the risk of heart attack and stroke. A low level of HDL increases the chances of coronary artery diseases.
- LDL: Low-Density Lipoproteins: It is also called ‘bad cholesterol’ sometimes because this type of cholesterol is mainly responsible for building up plaques in the arteries.
- VLDL: It stands for very low-density lipoprotein. It is produced in the liver, released in the blood, and helps to supply body cells with a type of fat called triglycerides.
- Triglycerides: These are the most common type of fat and store the extra energy from our diet. High level of triglycerides along with a low level of HDL or high level of LDL gives rise to poor functioning of the blood flow.
Cholesterol increases throughout the lifespan, but it is only problematic when it rises above the normal range. A higher range of cholesterol is called as ‘Hyperlipidemia’. Although there are no definite signs and symptoms, it can only be diagnosed by doing blood tests. Later symptoms observed are only stroke and chest pain (angina). Hence, there are simple but very effective ways to find measures to lower the cholesterol level through diet.
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Dietary Tips to Regulate Cholesterol:
Dos and Don’ts of diet to follow to control cholesterol are as follows:
Dos of Diet to Follow to Regulate Cholesterol:
- Have Fiber-Rich Food as below:
- Foods rich in fibers, such as Wholegrain cereals, oats, and barley
- Fruits, such as oranges, melons, and berries
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and radish
- Pulses, peas, and beans
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables: Eat more of plant-based food rather than animal-based food.
- Add More of Garlic and Onions to Your Diet: Onion and garlic are rich in vitamin C, Potassium. Garlic is an old home remedy for patients suffering from coronary artery disease.
- Use Good Cooking Oil: Using oil rich in Monosaturated and Polyunsaturated fatty acids helps to raise HDL and lower LDL.
- Say No to JUNK FOOD: Junk food contains a high level of LDL and VLDL, hence, it increases the risk of forming plaques in the arteries.
- Omega-3 Abundant Fish Meals – per week: Fishes are great sources of omega–3 fatty acids and help in lowering cholesterol.
- Vitamin B supplements: Seafood, Eggs, legumes, and leafy vegetables are the rich sources of vitamin B. Vitamin B plays an important role in adipocyte metabolism, and its deficiency causes an increase in total cholesterol.
- Herbals, such as Basil, Rosemary, and Turmeric: Herbals have always been proved to be healthy for mankind. They contain flavonoids and are a class of over 6,500 plant metabolites that have been linked with reduced mortality from coronary heart diseases.
Don’ts of Diet to Follow to Regulate Cholesterol:
- Avoid High Trans Fats: Foods, such as bakery products, deep-fried chips, and similar others, increase LDL. Hence, it is recommended to avoid such foods.
- Reduce Saturated Fats in the Diet: Many people cannot overcome their desire to eat sweets, chocolate, butter, and cheese, but all of these contain saturated fatty acids. It is responsible for increasing cholesterol in the bloodstream – HDL and LDL both. As it also raises HDL, hence it is comparatively less harmful than Trans Fats.
- Salt and Sugar Avoidance: Recent research indicates that an increased amount of added sugar and refined carbohydrates is linked with poor control of cholesterol. People who ate more added sugar happen to have a higher level of LDL and low level of HDL.
- Alcohol avoidance: Alcohol is known to raise triglycerides and LDL levels. Alcohol also exerts a bad effect on the liver, which processes cholesterol further to eliminate it out. So, it is recommended to avoid alcohol.
- Avoid too much of Caffeine: Coffee oils are found in caffeinated and Decaffeinated coffee. This Coffee oil affects metabolism to regulate cholesterol and decreases the bile acids and neutral sterols.
- Avoid animal products: Lipids are found only in foods that contain animal products. Hence, regulating animal-based product intake to normalize the cholesterol level is highly essential.
As per the dietary recommendations, a concise chart has been given. This indicates which type of food contains the type of cholesterol, its effect, and if it is recommended or not.
Chart as follows:
|Type of Cholesterol||Food Products||Effect on Cholesterol|
|Olives, Olive oil, peanut oil, almond, peanuts, and most of other nuts and avocados|
|Lowers LDL, Rises HDL.|| |
|Corn, Soybean, Safflower and cottonseed oil, and Fish|
|Lowers LDL, Rises HDL.|| |
|3.||Saturated||Whole milk, butter, cheese, ice-cream, red-meat, Chocolate, Coconut, coconut milk, egg yolk, and chicken skin|
|Rises both LDL and HDL|| |
|4.||Trans||Vegetable shortening, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, deep-fried chips, fast foods, and bakery products||Rises LDL|| |
Strictly Not Recommended
Hence, following these few dietary tips will surely give you relief from high levels of cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia) and its bad effect on your health!