What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like organic substance that is found in all cells in the human body. It is mainly produced in the body and helps in making of hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help digest foods. The body can also obtain cholesterol from outside products. These include animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese which are rich in cholesterol.
Cholesterol is mainly found in two forms in the body – Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is unhealthy and High-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is the healthy kind. Cholesterol helps with many vital body functions but too much of it can cause serious damage to the body. Read on further to know its many risks and how you can maintain healthy cholesterol levels in the body.
Effects of Cholesterol
Cholesterol is an important constituent of the body as the body needs cholesterol for the brain to function efficiently. But too much cholesterol content in the body can cause problems. Too much cholesterol in the arteries can cause strokes which can damage parts of the brain. This could lead to loss of memory and motor functions and other severe neurological damages.
High cholesterol content has also been linked to brain damage in people with Alzheimer’s disease. It is important to maintain your cholesterol levels in the body and not let it go higher than the required limits. It is recommended for many to go for regular checkups at a clinic.
Cardiovascular and circulatory systems
Too much LDL cholesterol in the body can lead to its build up in the arteries which clogs them. The arteries will harden and blood flow is hampered. This causes the heart to work harder to push blood through them leading to plaque buildup which in turn could lead to high blood pressure and heart diseases.
Plaque buildup in coronary arteries can disrupt the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart which may cause chest pain known as angina. This is a sign that the person is at risk for a heart attack and it can be dangerous. Breaking of plaque pieces could lead to formation of clot which is harmful to the body. A heart attack and in some cases strokes can be caused when clots are formed and not treated.
High levels of cholesterol in the body can lead to an imbalance of many hormones that are produced in the body. It has been reported that there could be an increased risk of heart attack in females after menopause. This is mainly due to increased levels of LDL cholesterol in the female body after reaching menopause as the whole menstrual cycle changes. When the menstrual cycle changes the hormones in the body undergo a huge change.
It is recommended for women reaching the age of menopause to take care of the cholesterol levels in their body and go for regular check ups at a clinic.
Cholesterol is essential for the production of bile which is an important substance that helps break down food and absorb nutrients. But too much cholesterol in the bile could will lead to the formation of gallstones in the gallbladder. Gallstones have been known to be extremely painful for a person to endure.
Cholesterol is a necessary substance in the body for efficient functioning of the digestive system but excess of it is harmful to the person. It is recommended to follow a smart healthy lifestyle to lower cholesterol levels. This is highly beneficial by preventing damage to the body and keeping the digestive system healthy and working properly.
How to bring down high cholesterol levels
- Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are good for health as they have benefits in keeping heart healthy and also reduce blood pressure. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds and add them to your healthy diet daily.
- Increase your intake of soluble fiber as it can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fiber can be found in such foods as oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.
- Also include whey protein in your healthy diet. Whey protein, which is found in dairy products, has been known to lower both LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol as well as blood pressure.
- Try to exercise regularly and keep being active daily. Exercise can improve HDL cholesterol content in the body . HDL cholesterol is the good kind and needed in the body. Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour.
- Being overweight can lead to high cholesterol. Switch to methods that can help you lose excess weight and maintain a fitter body. Try to keep track of the calories you eat and do not drink sugary. In fact, limit your intake of sugary and processed foods.
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