Cholesterol is a chemical compound that the body requires as a building block for cell membranes, hormones like estrogen and testosterone and digesting fatty food. Your body makes cholesterol it needs. The liver produces about 80% of the body’s fat and the rest comes from dietary sources like meat, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy products.
Types of cholesterol
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) It is called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) It is called the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver.
Very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) It is also called”bad” cholesterol because it too contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
Causes of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
- Unhealthy Diet: a) Eating high saturated fat can raise cholesterol levels in the blood most found in Diary products, meat, baked products. b) Another Type Trans fat in some processed food and fries foods.
- Inactivate life style: Lack of physical activity or exercise will increase LDL levels in the blood.
- Smoking: A chemical called acrolein fond in cigarettes lowers the HDL levels.
- Diabetes: Blood sugar contributes to higher LDL and lower HDL.
- Genetics: Inherited (genetic) problem that changes the way the body handles cholesterol. These conditions are called lipid disorders and they may be more difficult to treat.
- Diet Control: Avoid foods which are high in saturated fat. Maximum of 11% of a person’s food energy should come from saturated fat. Swap food containing saturated fat for fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals.
- Consume soluble Fiber: Soluble fiber help prevent your digestive tract from absorbing cholesterol. Whole-grain cereals such as oatmeal and oat bran.
- Limit salt: you should try to limit the amount of sodium.
- Weight Control: A healthy weight can help you control your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Choose low fat- low-calorie foods. Eat smaller portion of food. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
- Limit Alcohol: One drink is a glass of wine, beer, or a small amount of hard liquor is reasonable. Men can have no more that 2 drinks per day. Women can have no more the 1 drink per day.
- Physical Exercise: Exercise plays an important role in controlling your weight and preventing obesity. It can lower your blood sugar level and help your insulin work better.
- Quit Smoking: Since smoking decreases HDL.
- Stay Active: You can raise HDL levels by moderate activity such as walking fast, cycling slowly and light gardening.
If the lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol Levels, you may also need to take medicines.