We live in an age where plenty of information is available and is growing by the day. One aspect of this is the way we deal with our health. As of today, there is a lot of data out there on how to deal with our overall health and well-being. Yet, there is a lot of confusion when it comes to maintaining overall heart health.
A vast majority of people don’t know what cholesterol is, why it’s important, or even how to test for it. It is one of those things that gets talked about in a very casual manner.
So, read on as we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about cholesterol:
1. What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid, or fat, waxy kind, that is found in the cells of the body and circulating in the blood. It is important for the body’s normal l functioning and helps in the production of hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help digest fat. Cholesterol is mostly synthesized by the liver and some is obtained by diet from animal foods. However, high levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease.
2. What are the types of cholesterol?
There are primarily two types of cholesterol, High-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) also called good cholesterol and Low-Density Lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) also known as bad cholesterol. The main difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol is that the latter is harmful and the former is protective. LDL cholesterol accumulates in the walls of the arteries and makes them hard and narrow increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, whereas HDL cholesterol picks up excess fat and carries it back to the liver, from where it is flushed out. An ideal ratio of HDL: LDL helps maintain heart health and keep you healthy!
Know more about cholesterol with our complete guide.
3. When To Check Cholesterol Levels & How Often?
For most people, high blood LDL cholesterol has no symptoms at all. However, it involves the blockage of large arteries in the body. Blockage of the coronary artery further leads to reduced oxygenated blood and causes chest pain (angina) or tightness, nausea, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), and fatigue. This is why after turning 20, getting your cholesterol levels examined once every 4-6 years can help you detect high cholesterol levels at the right time. If you have a family history of high blood cholesterol, are overweight, or have high blood pressure, you should get it checked more often. A simple lipid profile is used to measure the total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in the body.
Research recommends blood LDL cholesterol levels to be below 200 mg/dL, Higher levels than recommended can put your heart at risk of diseases. HDL protects against heart disease so levels higher than 60 mg/dl can help with a healthy heart.
4. What Are The Causes Of High Blood LDL Cholesterol?
Lifestyle and dietary choices play a major role in the development of this condition. A diet consisting of foods high in saturated fatty acids and trans fats like red meat, egg yolks, cheese, butter, highly processed foods and foods made in vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils) often can make your blood cholesterol levels go up. Being overweight, smoking and having high alcohol consumption can also increase your chances of developing high LDL cholesterol. There are many factors leading to high levels of LDL cholesterol. Still, simple lifestyle changes by being mindful of the food you consume, incorporating moderate exercise and controlling your smoking and alcohol consumption can help you manage your cholesterol levels.
According to a study, stress may have some effects on blood cholesterol levels. People who are dealing with chronic work stress or personal conflict are at a higher risk of developing high blood cholesterol. Psychological stress may increase triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol and reduce HDL cholesterol in the body and is hence associated with heart risk. Eliminating the stressful situation, following a nutritious diet and regular exercise can help maintain heart health.
5. What Are The Effect Of High LDL Blood Cholesterol & Why Is It Bad?
High blood cholesterol (LDL) in the body causes an accumulation of it on the walls of the arteries. These grow with time by attracting other blood cells and forming a plaque that can restrict blood flow through these arteries. The blocked blood supply can cause chest pain (angina), a rupture of the plaque can cause a heart attack and a blood clot can cause a stroke. It is crucial to keep the LDL cholesterol levels in check and aim to achieve a healthy heart.
6. How can I maintain my cholesterol levels?
Foods low in saturated fat, and sodium and high in fibre, and protein are great starting points. Reduce your intake of red meats and full-fat dairy products that contain saturated fats that raise blood cholesterol levels and avoid highly processed foods rich in trans fats. Focus on shifting your diet to lean proteins like fish, chicken, and turkey. Also, add fibre to your diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats like nuts and seeds. Getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day can help manage weight and maintain cholesterol levels.
Also, choose a blend or rotation of oils for healthy cooking. Saffola Total is a blended oil which is clinically proven to reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. It contains oryzanol which helps lower your bad cholesterol! Its dual-seed technology helps you achieve a good balance of healthy fatty acids like MUFA and PUFA for better nutrition, making it a better cooking oil for heart health.
To summarise, it is possible to maintain normal cholesterol levels by following a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet, and regular exercise. It is important to get your cholesterol levels checked when you are young since high blood LDL cholesterol does not have any early warning signs. We hope this article answers your questions. Stay healthy!