So, what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of lipid that is waxy. It’s a fat-like substance naturally produced by our liver. It is an integral element to form cell membranes, hormones Vitamin D.
As cholesterol is a lipid, it can’t travel in the blood. Due to its incompetency of dissolving in water, our liver produces lipoproteins that are made up of fat and proteins to carry these cholesterol molecules. There are majorly 2 types of lipoproteins- LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) and HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein). In this blog, you will get an in-depth understanding of different types of cholesterol and natural ways to keep it in control.
Types of Cholesterol:
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)
LDL is commonly known as bad cholesterol. It carries the cholesterol to the arteries and eventually, the concentration rises. The artery build-up of cholesterol is also known as Cholesterol plaque and can lead to fatal heart issues. The cholesterol plaque narrows our arteries and limits the blood flow. This eventually increases the risk of a block in the artery and can cause a heart attack or a stroke.
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)
HDL is commonly termed as good cholesterol as it helps prevent cholesterol plaque. HDL helps LDL to return back to our liver. Having healthy levels of HDL can be very helpful for lowering the risk of blood clots, heart diseases and stroke.
Here’s a chart that represents the normal levels of cholesterol in a person’s body:
5 ways to keep your cholesterol at bay:
- Exercise: Exercise not only helps to combat obesity, but also to maintain good heart health. Regular exercise helps people to reduce LDL and increase the HDL level. Even a low-intensity workout such as walking helps in the healthy increase of the HDL levels. Consequently, regular workouts bring more benefits supporting lowering our body cholesterol.
- Healthy Diet: Diet is the eminent way in which our body absorbs and produces cholesterol. Importantly, maintaining a healthy diet sustains the balance of different types of cholesterol (LDL and HDL). . This helps in the prevention of any heart disease in the long run. Hence, add more green and leafy vegetables, and fruits to your regular diet for improved cholesterol level.
- Avoid Smoking: Smoking amplifies the risks of heart disease as it changes the way our body regulates cholesterol; the damage caused by nicotine is fatal. The immune cells in people with smoking habits don't allow the cholesterol to return to the blood for transport to the liver from the vessel walls. These dysfunctional immune cells result in the faster development of clogged arteries. Fortunately, it’s not irreversible and the condition can be taken care of by quitting smoking.
- Moderate The Alcohol Usage: Similar to smoking, alcohol consumption is another reason that affects our body cholesterol level. The ethanol in alcohol certainly increases the levels of good HDL when used in moderation; that also reduces the risk of heart disease. Alcohol improves “Reverse Cholesterol Transport” which means that the cholesterol is transported back to the liver from the arteries and vessels. However, consumption of too much alcohol harms the liver in the long run and develops a risk of dependency. It is recommended that men should try and stick to two drinks daily and for women it’s best to stick to one.
- Avoid Trans-Fat: Unsaturated fats that are modified by the process called hydrogenation is known as trans fat. The hydrogenation is done to make the unsaturated fats more stable in vegetable oils. The resulting trans fat is not completely saturated and is solid at room temperature. That’s why different food companies use trans fats in products like spreads, pastries and cookies as they offer more texture than unsaturated fats. Trans fat increases the total cholesterol level and also enhances the body LDL. Besides, it decreases the important HDL cholesterol by as much as 20%.
Now that you know and understand the normal and healthy levels of cholesterol, ensure that you get it regularly checked and maintain it precisely.
Check out our blog: Why is regular health checkup the need of the hour?
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