What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol in simple terms is a type of fat found in our blood and body tissues. Cholesterol is produced by the liver in our body and is carried from the liver to the cells by Low density lipoprotein (LDL) which is also called as the bad cholesterol. We also have High density lipoprotein (HDL) or the good cholesterol which collects excess cholesterol from cells and brings it back to tissues. We also get cholesterol from a number of food items we consume. Cholesterol in a high amount is associated with a high risk of heart diseases.
In an average adult 200 mgs per deciliter (mg/dl) is considered normal. Anything between 200-239 mg/dl is considered borderline and above 240 mg/dl is considered high and serious.
Causes and Impact of Excess Cholesterol on Health
- Heredity plays an important role. Someone may inherit cholesterol from their parents or grandparents and is dangerous and leads to premature heart diseases.
- Unfit lifestyle and bad habits like indulging in alcohol or smoking are unhealthy behavior leading to high cholesterol. An unhealthy diet, not enough physical activity, obese or excess weight, these are all triggers which are risky for our body.
- Many drugs increases the LDL cholesterol in our body besides diseases like diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pregnancy, thyroid etc all are responsible for decreasing the number of HDL (High density lipoprotein) also called as good cholesterol.
- Consumption of a diet, high in saturated fats as contained in animal/meat products, deep fried items, dairy products and fried and processed food items which increase our trans fat is said to increases the LDL in our body and is considered a major factor for blockages in the heart and heart diseases.
Healthy Diet Tips to Maintain Cholesterol Levels
- Getting yourself regularly checked for cholesterol (lipid profile) is extremely necessary as it leads to prevention.
- Indulging in at least an hour of physical activity 3-4 times a week keeps us fit and healthy. Any kind of sport like swimming, running, cardio, tennis etc or even a simple activity like walking daily keeps our mind and body both fit and healthy.
- Eating a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and cutting down on processed food, fried foods, animal foods and organ meats keeps our cholesterol in check and our body strong to protect us and capable to fight diseases.
- Say no to stress. Effective stress management methods should be incorporated especially if your schedule is very distressing and you hardly find time for yourself. Meditation and Pranayam works the best. Also your can incorporate any activity you love to reduce stress.
Cholesterol is very much maintainable with adapting to a good lifestyle and bringing about changes in our diet which can keep us safe and prevent us from a number of fatal diseases.