Cholesterol is a waxy substance. It is similar to fat and made in the liver and helps in important bodily function. It helps in the production of cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids used in digestion. It can’t dissolve in the blood and so it binds to proteins in the liver and creates a lipoprotein that carries cholesterol through the circulatory system. LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) is considered bad cholesterol as it blocks the passage of blood through the circulatory system and can cause heart attacks.
HDL (High-density lipoprotein) is good as it carries cholesterol back to the liver from where it is flushed out from the body.
Your total cholesterol level should be less than 200 mg per decilitre of blood.
High blood cholesterol is major risk factors for heart disease along with many other things such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. And so avoiding it is absolutely must. It is very important to get your cholesterol checked once every five years once you turn 20. If it is high, you need to take steps to lower them by changing your lifestyle and medications that will help you to get your cholesterol back to healthy levels.
Regular exercise is an important factor in preventing heart disease and improves cholesterol level. Be physically active like walking, gardening, cleaning the house at least for half an hour in a day can positively affect your cholesterol.
If you are a smoker, quit this habit as it can develop heart disease. Chain smoking can lower your level of HDL cholesterol, which offers protection against heart disease.
Switch to a heart healthy diet to reduce cholesterol. Avoid food that contains too much saturated fat or Tran’s fat like meat, egg and dairy products as it increases cholesterol production. Have lot of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat, skinless poultry and skim milk.
Increase intake of soluble fibre in your diet to lower cholesterol level. Insoluble fibre passes through our system very quickly, whereas soluble fibre spends some time in our system and binds with cholesterol. Along with Soluble fibre bad LDL cholesterol is also flushed out from our body. It is found in foods like nuts, barley, beans and the psyllium husk but the best source of soluble fibre is oatmeal or oat bran.
Have fish high in Omega 3fatty acids as it is good for your cardiovascular health in many ways and helps in reducing cholesterol by lowering triglyceride levels in the blood. Having fish like trout, salmon, albacore, tuna which are rich in omega-3 fatty acid can positively affect your overall cholesterol level. You can also substitute it with fish oil supplements, if you don’t want to eat fish.
But if your cholesterol level is too high and you have multiple risk factors for heart disease and your diet and exercise does not help to lower your cholesterol levels, then you should consult a doctor and take medicines as prescribed by him.