Cholesterol: The good, the bad and the ugly
Cholesterol is a waxy fat like substance that is found in all cells of your body. Cholesterol is carried through your body’s blood stream via carriers known as lipoproteins. The 2 main types of lipoprotein are Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
So what exactly is so good about cholesterol?
Cholesterol is necessary to maintain the membrane of cells. It makes up the bile acids that aid in digestion, enables body to produce vitamin D, enables body to produce various hormones such as estrogen in women, testosterone in men, cortisone etc. The body itself makes most of the cholesterol that it needs. The remaining cholesterol needs are met via the various foods you consume. LDL and HDL the carrier proteins for cholesterol. They differ in their structure as well as function. LDL has lower density due to higher cholesterol content and is used to carry cholesterol to cells throughout the body. Whereas HDL has a higher density and carries cholesterol away from the heart and other organs back to the liver. Liver plays a major role in regulating cholesterol by recycling or by eliminating the excess cholesterol that the HDL brings from various parts of the body. When an organ is deficient in cholesterol, liver can make cholesterol and bundle it with LDL and send it to the organ in need.
The bad aspect of cholesterol comes into play when the LDL levels increase and when HDL levels go low. Two aspects play a major role in creating such a situation - your genetic predisposition to having high cholesterol levels and your diet and exercise regime. LDL has a tendency to deposit cholesterol in the arteries that they pass through leading to plague formation within arteries. If HDL levels are low enough then they won’t be able to keep up with the removal of these LDL cholesterol deposits.
The ugly part is when excess LDL deposits create plague formation in various arteries within the body, thereby leading to serious conditions such as hypercholesterolemia, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and heart attack.
Ways to control cholesterol levels:
While genetic predisposition to having high cholesterol levels may be harder to alter, there’s certainly more leverage to mold one’s diet and exercise to ensure cholesterol levels are kept at check. Here are a few suggestions that ELITE supermarket is offering to help you lead a healthy life.
Incorporate unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats into your diet like olive oil and bran oil
Consume more food containing omega-3 fatty acids like sardines, flaxseeds, walnuts, ELITE soybeans and almonds
Fruits rich in monounsaturated fats like avocados are very essential to keep your heart healthy
Focus on consuming more soluble fiber rich foods such as legumes, ELITE oats, ELITE whole wheat bread, lentils, peas etc.
Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet that are low in calories and fat
Choose lean meats such as chicken breast meat and opt for skim milk
Go for a brisk 30-minute walk daily or take part in any moderate aerobic activity