Cholesterol are fat steroids produced by the liver and intestines, and are used to produce cell membranes and hormones. Cholesterol also synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight. So, it is a necessary element for mammals. But they are the good type of cholesterol – the HDL(High-density lipoprotein). While high levels of LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol causes serious health issues, if not controlled in time. High cholesterol leads to heart disease, stroke and many more health complications. According to The National Health Service (NHS), UK, any blood cholesterol reading above 6 mmol/liter should be considered high.
High cholesterol problems are mostly caused by alcohol abuse, intake of fatty foods and inadequate physical activity. Read on to know the details.
Unfortunately the strongest reason is out of our control because it happens to be genetics. Genetics can control the production of LDL cholesterol in the intestines and cholesterol related problems can passed on from one generation to the other. As mentioned before, cholesterol is produced in our own body to control some vital bodily functions. The production level can be higher (or lower) due to hereditary reasons.
2. Diet and alcohol
Diet plays a major role in the synthesis of cholesterol. Excessive intake of foods which are high in cholesterol, trans fat and saturated fat is a sure fire way to get high cholesterol. Everyday foods like egg yolks, cheese, ice cream, beef steak (and other red meats), muffin and organ meats especially the liver part of animal meat are very high in cholesterol. Excessive intake of these foods will make cholesterol storage in your body. Instead replace some amount of these foods with other healthy and high protein foods like oats or oatmeal, barley, most types of nuts e.g. cashew, walnut, almonds and all kinds of fish. Oats and nuts are high in dietary fiber, which helps to reduce LDL in the body, while fishes are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which regulates blood pressure and blood clots. Fruits too are high in fiber. Replace regular oil with olive oil, not only is it tastier but also healthier.
Red wine can actually boost your good cholesterol (HDL) level, if taken in a restricted amount every day after dinner. But many other alcoholic beverages like beer can increase your bad cholesterol (LDL) level. So, be cautious about what you drink!
3. Inadequate physical activity
You know that laziness can cause many problems, and one of them happens to be high cholesterol problems. Physical activity can raise the HDL or good cholesterol levels in your body which can eliminate the LDL’s and unclog your arteries. But no or very less physical activity will do just the opposite. Exercise helps you lose weight, and losing weight leads you to losing LDL. According to researchers and doctors, you need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity like jogging, walking or working out every day. Yoga is an amazing remedy to all sorts of heart related problems. So, avoid a sedentary lifestyle and be active.
4. Gender and weight
Women suffer less from cholesterol related problems until their menopause. After menopause women’s LDL levels go higher than men’s and they remain that way unless some really good measures are taken to lower them. But generally men suffer more from cholesterol related problems.
Body weight too is a major LDL raising factor. Obesity can raise your bad cholesterol levels to an alarming rate. So, it’s basically related to bad diet and physical activity again.
5. Age and stress
Men’s cholesterol levels level out after 60, while in women it’s almost the opposite. The LDL levels can actually increase in women after 60 or after their menopause, at whatever age it may take place. So, a lot of restriction must be imposed on diet in these times to avoid heart attacks and heart diseases.
Long term stress related problems can lead to the raise of LDL cholesterol. That’s again because stress can lead to bad eating habits and alcohol abuse, which like mentioned before, plays a major role in increasing cholesterol levels.
The balance between the HDL and LDL is the key to a healthy life. Too less LDL is not good either; it’ll hamper many bodily functions.