Cholesterol is an organic molecule that is a type of lipid. It is a waxy liquid which is biosynthesized by animal cells. Cholesterol is found in structural components of cell membranes of animals. This fat-like substance is found in cells of the human body. The human body needs cholesterol for making substances that help in digesting food, making hormones, and vitamin D. Cholesterol is both good and bad in situations.
The liver produces lipoproteins that carry cholesterol and triglycerides into the blood vessel. There are two types of lipoprotein:
- LDL (LOW-DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN)
- HDL (HIGH-DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN)
When LDL cholesterol level gets high in the blood it is known as High Cholesterol. When high cholesterol levels are left untreated, it can develop many lethal diseases or can be a risk to various diseases like heart diseases, stroke, etc.
The normal total cholesterol value should be lower from 200 mg/dL average (150 to 199 mg/dL). If less than 150 then it is considered abnormal. The normal LDL value is less than 100 mg/dL. The normal HDL level is greater than 50 mg/dL. High cholesterol has no symptoms clearly so it is better to have a routine checkup for your cholesterol level after a certain age and time.
Bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol carries cholesterol to the artery and make walls in the arteries. The wall build-up is known as ‘cholesterol plaque’. This limits the blood flow and can increase the risk of blood clots. One third of the adult population have elevated LDL Cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol helps to return LDL to the liver so it can be excreted from the body. It also helps in the prevention of plaque in your arteries.
Levels of HDL cholesterol decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, and also blood clots.
When should the cholesterol levels be checked?
In the early 30’s you should get to check your cholesterol levels with a routine. According to AHA ( American Heart Association ), cholesterol should be checked one time a year. If you have a family history of high cholesterol levels then the physician may recommend you more than one time.
A lipid panel is used to check total cholesterol which includes both HDL and LDL levels. If the report comes with a high total cholesterol level or high LDL level, then you will be diagnosed with HIGH CHOLESTEROL LEVEL. It can also be high cholesterol if you have low HDL levels.
Causes and risk factors of high cholesterol:
The causes of high cholesterol are mainly an unhealthy lifestyle, which has a low maintenance diet and improper diet. It includes all the bad, unhealthy, and junk food which are full of fat and lipids and could be dangerous for the adults aging from 45 +. The common causes are:
- Unhealthy eating habits.
- Lack of Physical Activity
High cholesterol levels can be of dangerous risk to many diseases as mentioned before like heart disease, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, stroke, etc. Variety of risks which can develop high cholesterol level are:
These factors increase the risk of developing high cholesterol levels in the bloodstream and also developing various health disorders.
How to lower cholesterol levels at home, naturally?
The best option for reducing cholesterol levels at home is by maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. Take a diet with healthy natural ingredients can help in preventing high cholesterol levels.
Not just diet but also weight check n balance and regular exercise or any physical activity like walk, jogging, running can help in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol.
Some foods which are high in cholesterol levels and their high consumption can cause risk are:
- Red meat
- Full-fat dairy products
- Hydrogenated oils
- Deep-fried fast foods
- Baked food items
- Crackers, cookies
- High saturated fat food items
- Coconut oil
- Trans fat.
Foods that can control the level of cholesterol and adding them to your diet can give good results are:
- Vegetables and mostly green leafy vegetables
- Whole grains and barley
- Fruits like apple, citrus fruits, strawberries, grapes, etc.
- Fiber-rich foods
- Gluten-free items
- Low-fat items
- Low salt and sugar items
- Beans, especially protein-rich like kidney beans black beans, soybeans, edamame beans, and garbanzo beans.
- Nuts and seeds.
- Reduced-fat products.
- Omega 3 rich food items
- Oils like olive oil, soy oil, vegetable-based oil like canola, and sunflower.
- Meat which is fat-free like chicken, turkey breasts, beef round, tenderloin, sirloin.
After all these diet and food items the main thing that will help you in preventing not only cholesterol but many other diseases and malfunctioning is EXERCISE. Physical activity works like magic and helps in maintaining a balanced healthy life. Physical fitness reduces harmful LDL levels, as well as proper blood flow and diet, which can also help in the prevention of plaque. According to a study, people who do exercise for 15 minutes 3 or 4 days a week, do walk or jogging or running or jumping have less chance of developing high cholesterol levels or cholesterol plaque in arteries.
Obesity is an open chance for many of the diseases. By losing weight, not only high LDL levels but many deadly diseases can be overcome. Young and fit people have healthy levels of cholesterol and also live a healthy life.
What should be the diet to lower cholesterol?
For lowering your cholesterol level at home, you should first change your lifestyle and diet. Add foods that can help to prevent high cholesterol levels in the blood which are above mentioned. And avoid those food items that can develop risk for high cholesterol.
The advice that will help you in lowering cholesterol at home are:
- Avoid or limit the food intake which is high in fats.
- Choose maximum food items that are rich in protein like fish, legumes, or chicken.
- Eat a variety of fresh fruits that are high in fiber.
- Not just fruits but also eat green leafy vegetables or vegetables that are high in fiber.
- Also, include whole grains in your diet as a daily intake.
- Go for steamed, grilled, roasted, or boiled foods rather than fried and deep-fried items like chips, onion chips, fried chicken, nuggets, potato chips, zinger fillets, etc
- Avoid bakery items like cookies, muffins, cupcakes, crackers, etc
- Avoid junk food and fast food like BBQ etc.
- Avoid processed food items that are made in cocoa butter, margarine, coconut oil, palm oil, butter, cheese, etc.
- Also, try to stay away from red meat like mutton and beef, organ meat, egg yolk, high-fat dairy items.
- Adding omega 3 rich food items like fish, oil can be very beneficial for controlling cholesterol levels.
- Including salmon, and herring in your diet because they are rich sources of omega-3s. Walnuts, almonds, ground flax seeds, and avocados also contain omega-3 which can help in treating and normalizing cholesterol levels.
Herbally how can be cholesterol level normalized?
If you do not want to take medicines and want to treat it by diet or by herbs than there are multiple herbs that will help you in the prevention of high cholesterol levels and also in normalizing it. Following herbs and ingredients can benefit you naturally
- By using garlic
- Red yeast rice
- Plant sterol and stanol supplements
- Oat bran, found in oatmeal and whole oats
- Blond psyllium, found in psyllium seed husk
- Ground flaxseed
But as told many times before that using any supplement or herb you should first tell your doctor then move forward for that. The same applies here first ask your physician and check whether or not you are allergic to any of these items or herbs.
FAQs related to cholesterol
Some frequent questions may come in your mind related to cholesterol. Bring up in the comments if not cleared or answered.
Why I should be concerned
Cholesterol leads to harmful life-threatening diseases as mentioned above and can be lethal if plaque develops. So it is important to get yourself checked once a year.
Difference between bad and good cholesterol?
Good cholesterol (HDL) prevents the cholesterol plaque to build up in walls of arteries, it also takes out bad cholesterol (LDL) from our blood vessels.
Bad cholesterol (LDL) flows with our blood because it can not be dissolved and makeup in the walls of arteries which leads to cardiovascular issues.
What is cholesterol borderline and what is the high value?
Above 200 mg//dL to 240 mg/dL is the borderline for cholesterol.
More than 240 mg/dL and rising is the high level of cholesterol which should be urgently treated.
A student of RESPIRATORY THERAPY from Dow University of Health Sciences. She tries to sum up most of the informative content about health diseases. Most commonly highlighting Cardio-Pulmonary illnesses. Providing indications & contraindications for various diseases and aims to empower not only medical students but common people.