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What Is Cholesterol- The Good And The Bad

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Cholesterol
All cholesterol is not bad
Cholesterol is a substance that is essential for the maintenance of a healthy body. It is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell. It helps the body perform various functions. 

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Never has the world been in such a crazy rush as it is today. We try hard to keep up with every trend in this ever dynamic world so as to make sure we do not lag behind.

No wonder we find ourselves running in the rat race. To make up for all the time that we require, we compromise on our leisure time, sleep hours and of course, diet.

We are constantly looking for the fastest option available when it comes to food. However, the fastest option available is never a healthy one. We have also picked up on health drinks and dietary supplements to compensate for the essentials that our body lacks.

Our body runs on nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals and water. But strictly speaking, there is no compensation enough for a routinely healthy diet.

When we cheat on that healthy diet plan there is a skew in the cholesterol proportions – yes there is a good one and a bad one – which impacts our heart health and definitely weight. So let’s get the facts about cholesterol straight right away:

Know what is cholesterol

Cholesterol is a substance that is essential for the maintenance of a healthy body.  It helps the body perform various functions like the production of hormones in the body, digestion of food and contributes in regulating insulin levels by generating Vitamin D in the body.

Almost 80% of cholesterol production is done by liver and intestines and the rest 20% is what we intake from food. It is definitely essential to keep our body functioning well but it must be kept in check. Too much of cholesterol in our blood is dangerous as it may lead to increased chances of heart attacks and strokes.

Difference between the good and the bad 

Now, that we have a basic idea of what cholesterol is and why it is necessary for our body, let us get into the details of it and explore the two types of cholesterol- the good and bad and their effect on our body. In order to understand what high cholesterol actually is, we would need to know about lipoproteins.

Lipoproteins are, simply said, vehicles that carry cholesterol around the body. There are 2 kinds of lipoproteins:

Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) –

his kind of cholesterol is what we know as ‘Bad Cholesterol’ because it leaves fatty deposits in the arteries which lead to increased chances of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke due to the formation of plaque in the arteries which is also termed as atherosclerosis.

High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL)- 

HDL or High-Density Lipoproteins imply towards the ‘Good Cholesterol’ that is essential for a good health as it carries LDL back to the liver, preventing the formation of plaque in the arteries and thus, preventing high cholesterol in the blood and the risk associated with it. The liver functions towards removing the excess cholesterol from the body.

When you have high cholesterol

High Cholesterol is defined as a condition wherein there the amount of LDL  in blood is high. The amount of bad cholesterol in the blood may be due to the intake of excess fatty food in the diet.

High levels of LDL cause the arteries to narrow down and the plaque formation restricts the free flow of blood to the heart.

As we all know, blood carries oxygen to the heart. But now, the arteries have been hardened and blocked with plaque and therefore the heart may not be able to get enough oxygen causing conditions like angina or chest pain. In case the arteries are completely blocked, there is a high chance that the individual might suffer a heart attack.

The safe levels of LDL cholesterol

Taking about high LDL levels in the blood that threaten the good health of the body, we simply need to remember the lower the levels, the better. These figures below shall clarify the point.

LDL LevelsRemarks
100mg/dLOptimal
100-129mg/dLAbove optimal
130-159mg/dLModerately high
160-189mg/dLHigh
190mg/Dl and aboveVery High

The effect of food on cholesterol levels

Since 20% of the cholesterol present in our body is derived from the food that we take, we need to look closely to understand how our diet bears an ultimate effect on the cholesterol levels in our blood and determines if we would be at risk of heart ailments in the future.

Foods that harm

The risk of suffering from a cardiovascular disease is enhanced by the increased levels of LDL and concentration of triglyceride, the main constituents of body fat in humans and low levels of HDL. Listed below are the food products that you better keep your hands off so as to make sure the high cholesterol levels in your blood come naturally down:

  • Dishes made from canola oil, corn oil, soy oil, safflower oil and other vegetable oil.
  • Sugary treats like pastries, muffins, cookies, cakes, and drinks with high added sugar contents.
  • Potato chips and other packaged food items
  • Red meat, hot dogs, sausage, bacon and other processed meats.
  • Milk and dairy products- full-fat cheese, cream, milk
  • Alcohol

Foods that are needed

HDL regulates the amount of LDL in the body and prevents it from building up in the blood. One must try to maintain HDL levels at 40-60mg/dL in the body.

Good cholesterol is produced in the body by certain hormones like estrogen and thyroid hormone which in turn dispose bad cholesterol into the liver avoiding plaque formation in the arteries.

Mild exercise may help, too. Listed below are the foods that you better start including in your diet to keep yourself fit and healthy:

One must always remember that the key to a healthy life is healthy food habits. Implement some of these healthy food habits while discarding the unhealthy ones so as to ensure that you do not collapse unless you cross the finish line in the race of your life.

QUICK BYTES

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance that is essential for the maintenance of a healthy body. It is a waxy, fat-like substance found in every cell.

It helps body perform various functions like the production of hormones in the body, digestion of food and contributes in regulating insulin levels by generating Vitamin D in the body. It does not mix with blood as it is an oil based substance

What is LDL ?

HDL is what we know as ‘Bad Cholesterol’ because it leaves fatty deposits in the arteries which lead to increased chances of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and stroke due to the formation of plaque in the arteries which is also termed as atherosclerosis.

Why is HDL important for the body?

HDL regulates the amount of bad cholesterol in the body and prevents it from building up in the blood. One must try to maintain HDL levels at 40-60mg/dL in the body.

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