[Related blood test: Lipid Profile Test]
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found in each cell of the body. It’s far essential for many body functions which include strengthening cell membranes, manufacturing hormones and digesting fats. The liver produces all of the cholesterol that our body desires. The extra cholesterol that we eat via our diet can be dangerous while in excess.
When the cholesterol in our bloodstream will become too high, it could increase as plaques on the arterial walls, causing a slowing or blockage of blood flow. This build-up also causes narrowing and hardening of the blood vessels, a process called arteriosclerosis. The build-up of cholesterol plaques can begin very early in life.
Usually, there are not any signs and symptoms till the arteries end up so narrow that blood flow is limited to the heart or different important organs. At this factor, a person can experience chest ache, heart attack, stroke, poor circulation, and so on. High cholesterol is one of the most important risk factors for heart disease.
Raised cholesterol is a common problem and a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease; however, a visit to your GP and following a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to lower cholesterol levels and will significantly reduce the risk. To know your cholesterol level, get the test done without wasting much of your time.
What is cholesterol?
Each and every cell in our body is surrounded by a membrane known as the plasma membrane. The plasma membrane is a biological membrane separating the inside of the cells from the outside and appearing as a barrier. it is a continuous double layer of phospholipids, intermingled with cholesterol and proteins.
Cholesterol is a plentiful and important constituent of the cell wall. It acts as safety shield allowing only those materials to go into the cell and preventing the unwanted ones. Without cholesterol, the plasma cell membrane would be too fluid, now not strong enough, and very permeable to some unwanted molecules. Besides being had to build cell wall, cholesterol additionally keeps the cell membrane in place and maintains its fluidity.
It keeps the fluidity of the membrane by means of stabilizing it and raising its melting point at high temperatures. At low temperatures, it separates the phospholipids and prevents them from binding collectively and stiffening. Cholesterol also plays an important role in maintaining the health of the body cells by helping them with the uptake of nutrients.
Total cholesterol is the sum of all the different types of cholesterol found in the blood. It serves as a general indicator of someone’s overall risk of developing heart disease. Lipoproteins are the carriers that transport cholesterol throughout the body. These carriers consist of cholesterol, fats, and proteins that are manufactured by the body. They are not found in food.
The 2 most important lipoproteins are:-
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL)
- LDL is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. It is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because it leads to the accumulation of plaque on the walls of arteries. Therefore, decreasing LDL levels is a crucial part of lowering the risk of heart disease.
- HDL, known as the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol to the liver, where it is eliminated from the body. High levels of HDL (especially over 60) are believed to protect against heart disease, while low levels (less than 40) increase the risk of heart disease and possibly the risk of stroke.
What causes high cholesterol?
Foods high in saturated and trans fat increase cholesterol levels. Saturated and trans fats, found mainly in fatty meats, full cream dairy products (e.g. milk, cream, cheese, and butter), deep-fried takeaway foods, baked products (e.g. biscuits and pastries). You should limit the number of foods you eat that contain, saturated and trans fats.
Food that helps lowering cholesterol?
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
Here we have mentioned few healthy food — that help in keeping your cholesterol level under control:-
Oats and oat bran
Whole grains, linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Oats and barley contain beta-glucan, a soluble fiber that is very effective at lowering LDL cholesterol.
Beans and legumes
Legumes like beans, peas, and lentils can help lower LDL levels and are a good source of plant-based protein.
Contain monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber, two heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering nutrients.
Nuts, rich in cholesterol-lowering fats and fiber, as well as minerals, linked to improved heart health.
Barley and other grains
Like oats, barley and other whole grains lower the risk of heart diseases, because of the soluble fiber they deliver.
Eggplant and okra
These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber and fiber is essential to control cholesterol level in the body.
Fruit can help lower cholesterol and improve heart health. This is largely, caused by fiber and antioxidants.
There is some evidence that soy foods can reduce heart disease risk factors, especially in people with high cholesterol.
Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. The omega-3 fatty acid in fish when consumed reduces the triglyceride level by as much as 25-30 percent while increasing the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) that are good for heart health.
Ginger is the best solution for healthy stimulation and increases blood circulation. While during winter, it keeps us warm and helps in getting rid of throat infections. Ginger is also rich in good enzymes and natural oil which reduces the level of bad cholesterol from the body.
Contains allicin and other plant compounds, which may help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce other heart disease risk factors.
Green Tea is one thing, found in almost every household and is a natural medicine to aid digestion. It also improves heart and mental health and regulates body temperature.
Coriander seeds are very useful in lowering the cholesterol level.
Even half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces the blood sugar level, triglycerides, and LDL (bad) cholesterol in people suffering from type 2 diabetes
Heart disease is the biggest killer worldwide. Having high cholesterol (especially LDL particles) is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Having low HDL (the “good”) cholesterol and high triglycerides, also linked to increased risk. Fortunately, what you eat can have a powerful effect on your cholesterol and other risk factors.