Cholesterol is a chemical compound in the body required to build block for cell membranes and for hormones like testosterone and estrogen. When a person eats a meal, cholesterol in the diet is absorbed by the small intestine and stored in the liver. Cholesterol content in the blood is controlled and regulated by the liver. The time the human body requires cholesterol liver, secreted it as per requirement. If there is too much cholesterol in a person’s body, it leads to building up deposits termed as plaque inside the walls of arteries and make them narrow. Cholesterol is an oil-based substance and does not mix with the blood, which is water-based and travels in the body in lipoproteins. Weight Loss Clinic advises that cholesterol can be maintained by some diet and lifestyle changes.
Cholesterol has four main functions, which is needed by the human body:
Cholesterol contributes to the structure of cell walls
Cholesterol makes up digestive bile acids in the intestine
Cholesterol supports the human body to produce Vitamin D
Cholesterol helps the body to make certain hormones
Types of cholesterol
Cholesterol travels through the body in lipoproteins and is both good and bad. There are two types of lipoproteins:
LDL i.e., low-density lipoproteins
LDL is the cholesterol that travels in the body in a bad way and is known as bad cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease as well as stroke. A buildup of cholesterol may narrow the arteries, slowing or cutting off blood flow to the heart or the brain and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Thus reducing LDL cholesterol level is better.
HDL i.e., high-density lipoproteins
It is the type of cholesterol that is present is also termed as good cholesterol. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease as well as stroke. If a person’s HDL levels are low, their risk for heart disease rises. Staying physically active and avoiding smoke and maintain a healthy weight are the best ways to boost HDL cholesterol.
How to control cholesterol?
Different kinds of lipoproteins have different effects on health as high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) leads to cholesterol deposits in blood vessel walls, and results in strokes, clogged arteries, heart attacks as well as kidney failure. Diet Clinic experts make people understand that it is important to control your cholesterol levels, and there are many ways to control it naturally. Dietician Sheela Seharawat suggested some tips to control cholesterol naturally:
1- Consume more of Monosaturated fats
To lower your cholesterol levels, focus on monosaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts, avocados as they are considered healthy. This type of fats decreases the harmful LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol and also reduces harmful oxidation.
2- Use polyunsaturated fats and avoid Trans fats
Polyunsaturated fats, especially Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood and fish oil help to lower the bad cholesterol levels and also decreases the risk of heart stroke, risk of metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Trans fats should be avoided to manage cholesterol levels.
3- Eat soluble fiber
Soluble fiber is best to consume as intestines having beneficial bacteria digest them easily. Soluble fiber is good bacteria known as probiotics and reduces the harmful types of lipoproteins i.e., LDL and VLDL.
Exercise is the best way to manage cholesterol as it not only improves physical fitness but also controls obesity and reduces LDL and increases good cholesterol HDL. Dietician Sheela Seharawat suggests people lose weight as Weight loss reduces total cholesterol by decreasing the creation of new cholesterol in the liver.
5- Worst foods to eat for cholesterol
Whether a person has high cholesterol or else you have to maintain a healthy cholesterol level avoiding certain foods can help you with it. Keep in mind that any food that has saturated fat, as well as Trans fat, should be completely avoided as they raise LDL i.e., bad cholesterol and lower the HDL i.e., the good cholesterol. There are many worst foods that should be avoided for cholesterol:
6- Red meat
Red meat counting lamb, beef, and pork has more cholesterol as well as saturated fat, thus avoiding them is good to manage cholesterol levels. Instead of red meat, you can switch to chicken, fish, beans, etc.
Butter is the worst should for you if you are dealing with high cholesterol and heart disease. Not everything is good, which is made with butter, so be cautious before eating.
8- Egg yolks
Egg yolks are the best breakfast but are not good for people dealing with high cholesterol. People should avoid eggs as it increases the risk of heart disease. You can have it but in moderation to maintain cholesterol level.
9- Ice cream
Ice cream is the worst food for people with high cholesterol as just one scoop of it has more fat than a hamburger. It has much more cholesterol than ten doughnuts too.
10- French fries
French fries are the worst food for people with high cholesterol because it has hydrogenated vegetable oils. Foods made with partially hydrogenated oils should be avoided as they have large amounts of Trans fats.
11- Commercial baked goods
Commercially baked foods like cupcakes, cookies cakes should be avoided as they are filled with Trans fats because of the use of hydrogenated vegetable oils in its making.
Muffins are a healthy breakfast option, but people with high cholesterol levels should avoid it. However, it also depends upon which material muffin is made like eating low-fat bran muffins made with whole wheat flour is beneficial for health.
If a person’s cholesterol is out of balance, lifestyle interventions are the first line of treatment. A few changes in your diet and lifestyle can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health. Consult Cholesterol Diet for you in case you want to manage your cholesterol levels effectively.