Cholesterol is the waxy substance found in our blood. It is required by the body to build up the healthy cells. Cholesterol is both good and bad. It is the essential substance of the body. When the level increases, it becomes risky for our health.
TYPES OF CHOLESTEROL
There are 2 types of cholesterol, level of it tells whether it is healthy or harmful:
- Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) or "bad" cholesterol
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL), or "good" cholesterol
THE CAUSES WHICH CAN DISTURB THE LEVEL OF CHOLESTEROL ARE
- Poor Diet- Intake of unhealthy, greasy food, full of fat, and dairy products are counted to be poor diet as it disturbs the level of cholesterol.
- Obesity- Increase in weight leads to raised level of cholesterol.
- Lack of exercise – Exercise helps our body to encourage and boost the level of HDL which are healthy for us.
- Smoking- Smoking damages and kills the walls of our blood vessels which results in the accumulation of fat. It can also lower down the level of healthy cholesterol which is harmful.
- Pregnancy and other conditions that increase levels of female hormones
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Drugs that increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL
- Underactive thyroid gland
- Liver or kidney disease
WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATION FACED DUE TO INCREASE OR FALL IN THE LEVEL OF CHOLESTEROL?
- Chest Pain
- Heart attack
One should avoid the food which disturbs the level of cholesterol. Intake of healthy, balanced and light food helps lowering down the raised level of cholesterol.
- Foods rich in fiber
- Soy and soy-based foods
- Eggplant and okra
- Fruits like- strawberries, citrus, apples, and grapes should not be taken
- Vegetable oil (canola, sunflower)
- Fatty fish (particularly salmon, tuna, and sardines)
- Barley and whole grains
Let’s discuss a few foods which help in lowering down the raised level of cholesterol.
1. Olive oil
It is the oil which contains mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are healthy for the heart. It also lower down the LDL and help in reducing body fat especially the belly.
2. Green tea
Intake of green tea or any herbal tea provides the antioxidant property which helps body to fight against the bad cholesterol and boost the level of good cholesterol. Research says consumption of green tea is very healthy for our body as it reduces the risk of heart disease. It lower downs the blood pressure, reduces the inflammation in arthritis and also improves the function of the brain.
Avocados is considered to be one of the world’s best sources of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which are beneficial to make the heart-healthy, which may actually help to raise HDL cholesterol by lowering down the LDL-Cholesterol level. It has the property of high levels of fiber and also balances the level of blood sugar, it also has anti-inflammatory chemicals such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione, and lutein.
4. Increase the intake of Vegetables
Increase the intake of Vegetables as they are nutrient-dense, have anti-inflammatory and highly-antioxidant properties. They are full of phytochemicals which fight with damage made by free radicals, as it decreases the aging process and keeps our arteries healthy and flexible. The dark green leafy vegetables- like spinach and kale contains few calories which protects us from heart attacks as it keeps the artery walls clean and keeps away the cholesterol.
5. Intake of Nuts
These are good source of healthy polyunsaturated and MUFAs. Intake of it gives good and required amount of fiber. Research says intake of whole walnuts around1.5 oz and for 6 days in a week for 1-month lowers down the total cholesterol by 5.4 and LDL cholesterol by 9.3.
6. Beans and Legumes
It is good and beneficial for the heart. These are well known for their high fiber content. Their function is to slow down the rate of absorption of cholesterol. Beans & legumes have antioxidant property and it also contains minerals which supports the healthy circulation of blood.
How To Take- Intake of a ½ cup of beans soup regularly lowers down the total cholesterol level. One suffering with high cholesterol should also try nutritious things like- chickpeas, kidney beans, mung beans, pinto beans, and other varieties which are always helpful.
Turmeric is one of the most common and healthy spices in every kitchen. Turmeric is full of health benefits which makes it king in all spices. It has the property to fight against inflammation. Turmeric the herb and the spice has many benefits including lowering down the cholesterol, balances the hormones, kills the free radicals, prevents blood from clotting, fights viruses, increases the immunity within the body. Turmeric is the extract of curcumin, which has the properties to protect against numerous inflammatory diseases including- ulcerative colitis, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and many more.
Garlic should always be included in the Diet. As Garlic is one of the most common and healthy ingredient or spice used in the cooking. Garlic is full of benefits because of the properties present in it, i.e. antioxidant, anti-inflammatory by nature, antiviral- fights against virus, it acts as an anti-diabetic and helpful in boosting the immune system. The medicinal use of garlic lowers down the cholesterol level, prevents clotting of blood, reduces the blood pressure and works as safeguard against infections. Therefore the use of garlic in any form is beneficial for health.
9. Salmon & Fatty Fish
Intake of fish for twice or thrice in a week has the potency to lower down the LDL- It replaces meat, which has saturated fats which boosts the LDL, and it delivers LDL- which lowers down the omega-3 fats. The Omega-3 fats are one of the natural health wonders which prove to be very helpful in heart disease, dementia, and many other diseases.
Eating Oats on regular and daily basis can lower down the Cholesterol level.
If one changes the diet, shifts to oat from heavy, oily full of fat food will lower down the LDL-Cholesterol by 5.3 in only 6 weeks.
There are the foods that are bad for cholesterol levels as it increases it and leads to complications. These include:
- Red meat
- Full-fat dairy products
- Hydrogenated oils
- Baked goods
One following the healthy diet will always have balanced and managed level of cholesterol which will keep one healthy and far from the diseases.