What is cholesterol
Cholesterol is a wax-like substance needed by our body to protect nerves and build new cells, make vitamins and hormones. The total cholesterol in our body comes from two sources i.e, the cholesterol produced by the liver and the dietary cholesterol. The cholesterol which is derived from the food we eat is called dietary cholesterol.
Cholesterol becomes dangerous only when it is accumulated in our body in excess amounts. Excess cholesterol settles along the walls of the arteries and can clog them thus, restricting blood flow. This leads to angina, other heart problems and stroke [study] It has also been shown that high cholesterol may lead to gallstones. The two types of cholesterol that is seen in our blood are HDL (good cholesterol) and bad LDL(bad cholesterol). LDL is the cholesterol that clogs the arteries while HDL scours the artery walls and removes the harmful LDL. It is recommended that the level of LDL should be lower and HDL should be higher in your blood.
When Cholesterol Becomes Dangerous
The problem starts when you regularly consume food items that contain high amounts of fat. Along with the self produced cholesterol, it accumulates excessively in your blood and leads to severe health problems.
It is a known fact that a high fat diet is linked to high blood cholesterol and may lead to health issues like angina, heart problems and stroke. Several studies from the medical industry point to the drawbacks and hidden dangers of having a high fat diet. It is the diet that mostly contains food items having high fat content. Doctors recommend reducing or avoiding high-fat diets is an effective precaution to avoid the situation.
What are Fats?
Fats are the major dietary energy source and belong to the three main macronutrient groups (fats, carbohydrates and proteins) in the human diet, They are the main components of common food products like milk, butter, tallow, lard, bacon, and cooking oils. They play important structural and metabolic functions including water proofing, energy storage and thermal insulation.
In nutrition or biology, they are described as a mixture of compounds such as fatty acids and often refers specifically to triglycerides or lipids.
They also recommend regular exercising and the consumption of high fiber content foods to reduce or avoid the settling of cholesterol in the artery walls. They effectively reduce cholesterol build up in the artery walls.
Foods That are High In Cholesterol
- High fat dairy products egg yolks, red meat, organ meats.
- Processed foods made with cocoa butter or palm oil.
- Deep fried foods
- Baked goods such as cookies and muffins
Tips To Lower your Cholesterol Through Diet
Below are some tips to lower your cholesterol level through diet change
- Choose lean sources of protein such as legumes, fish and chicken
- Include high fiber foods (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) in your diet
- Replace fried foods with grilled, roasted, baked, boiled and steamed foods
- Lower sugar intake
- Avoid fast foods and packaged foods
Foods like pizzas, burgers, ice creams, red meat, steaks or any foods containing high amount of animal fat are all in the list of high fat diets. For having a healthy blood cholesterol level, there is no need to give up all these food items. But you should always be careful while choosing your diet. It should contain a healthy and nutritious combination of food items from all food groups. Discrimination is the key. Careful food selection along with enough fiber intake and regular physical exercise can help you to maintain a healthy blood cholesterol level.
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