This guide will help you understand how cholesterol works and how you can lower your risk of heart disease by making healthier food choices. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires controlling your cholesterol. Your cholesterol levels may have already been checked in blood tests by your doctor. Your doctor may have suggested methods to lessen it if the numbers are rising.
However, what precisely is cholesterol? And why is it necessary for you to monitor it? Knowing the different kinds and when you might need to reduce one is helpful.
What Are Cholesterol Levels?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is present in all the cells of your body. It’s also an important part of many functions, including:
- Cell growth and repair
- The production of bile salts (which help digest fats)
In addition to these roles, cholesterol plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system by helping make antibodies that fight infection.
Two forms of cholesterol
Two varieties of cholesterol are produced by your body. Which are:
- “Bad” cholesterol
- “Good” cholesterol
Low-density lipoprotein is the name for “bad” cholesterol (LDL). It’s harmful because having too much LDL in your body might cause fatty deposits to form in your arteries.
High-density lipoprotein is the name for “good” cholesterol (HDL). It is beneficial because it absorbs extra cholesterol from your arteries and flushes it out. This prevents the harmful effects of excess cholesterol.
The arteries leading to your heart and brain might gradually become clogged with too much cholesterol. Later, this may result in health issues. Therefore, you should maintain low levels of LDL cholesterol and high levels of HDL cholesterol.
For some people, doing this can be challenging. Your family may have a history of high cholesterol, for instance. However, there are numerous strategies to naturally reduce your cholesterol and strengthen the health of your heart.
How Cholesterol Levels Affect Your Health
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can build up in your arteries, causing them to narrow. High cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
Eating foods high in saturated fat (such as meat and dairy products) will cause your blood cholesterol levels to increase. This is because these foods contain lots of fat and hormones known as “bioavailable sterol” which are absorbed by the body and help make more bile acids than there would otherwise be circulating through our livers.
When you eat too much saturated fat over time this causes an increase in liver production of cholesterol causing higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while lowering HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
What You Can Do to Lower your Cholesterol Levels
When you eat, you could have a number of objectives. You can modify your diet to reduce your risk of contracting certain diseases, put on muscle, avoid allergies, lose or gain weight, or fuel up for an exercise. Not to mention the objective of just enjoying good meals.
It could feel a little overwhelming to take cholesterol into account as an additional consideration. A heart-healthy diet can, however, nonetheless be just as delectable and varied as any other.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Limit your saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol intake.
- Eat lean meat and poultry without skin if you can tolerate it.
- Drink alcohol in moderation (one drink per day for women; two drinks per day for men) and only when you are dining out with others who do not mind drinking it with you!
- Exercise regularly by walking 10 minutes a day every day for 30 days straight; build up to doing 30 minutes of vigorous activity three times per week by adding 5 minutes each week until reaching the goal of 30 minutes weekly exercise time commitment.
Just making healthier food choices can lower your cholesterol levels
Your cholesterol levels are affected by the foods you eat. So, if you want to lower your cholesterol level, it’s important that you focus on making healthier food choices.
Here are some tips:
- Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains—these foods contain fiber that helps remove LDL cholesterol from your body. They also provide other nutrients such as vitamins C and E which may help reduce inflammation in the body and boost immunity.
- Limit saturated fat and cholesterol intake—these two components of animal-based products can increase blood pressure levels which may lead to heart disease or stroke over time. Choose leaner meats (such as chicken breast) rather than fatty cuts like pork chops. Avoid trans fats whenever possible through cooking methods such as stir frying instead of deep frying. Use nonstick pans instead of cast iron ones when cooking so they won’t retain any unhealthy oils
We all know that cholesterol is one of the most important things you can do for your health, but it may come as a surprise that making just a few healthy food choices could help lower your cholesterol levels by up to 30%. So why not start today? Let’s get cooking! Index of Science is your place for enhancing your health and find harmony in your life with the right advice and pointers. Connect with us now.