Dietary cholesterol for most people is not as troublesome as once believed. On the contrary, it is essential for the body. The amount of cholesterol content in your food does not majorly impact your health, but the mix of fat and carbohydrates do. Nonetheless, diabetic people should keep a check on the amount of cholesterol consumed by them.
Gain a perspective on what is cholesterol, types of it, the difference between good and bad cholesterol, bursting some myths and the relation between dietary cholesterol and heart diseases in this article.
A waxy fat-like substance is referred to as cholesterol which is required as a building block for cell membranes. The body uses cholesterol primarily to make estrogen, testosterone, vitamin D, and other vital compounds. 20% of the cholesterol comes from eatables like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and dairy products while the liver produces the remaining 80%. Plant-derived food, however, does not contain cholesterol. The liver regulates cholesterol content in the bloodstream. It also metabolises and stores the cholesterol in the diet after a meal from the small intestine. It may then secrete the required amount of cholesterol.
The types of cholesterol
Cholesterol is attached or carried by lipoproteins in the blood since it can not travel freely through the bloodstream. The amount of different types of cholesterol carried by lipoproteins determines the health risk. Let us learn more about three main types of lipoprotein below, LDL, also known as Low-density lipoprotein, contains a higher level of cholesterol and a lower level of protein.
HDL, also known as High-density lipoprotein, contains a higher level of protein and a lower level of cholesterol. Triglyceride is a type of fat that may increase cholesterol-containing plaques if levels of LDL are high and HDL is low. Triglyceride is a type of fat that may increase cholesterol-containing plaques if levels of LDL are high and HDL is low.
Difference between D and D
LDL referred to as the ‘bad cholesterol’ as it leads up to the build up of plaque in the arteries. In simpler words, LDL cholesterol can build up walls in your arteries which leads up to the risk of heart disease. The higher the LDL cholesterol, the higher is the risk of heart diseases. There are different types of LDL, mainly classified by size as either small, dense LDL or large LDL. The size of the LDL does not matter as much as the number of it. The ideal amount of cholesterol should be less than 200 milligrams.
HDL is often referred to as ‘good cholesterol’ as it picks up excess cholesterol throughout your body and brings it back to your liver where it can be stored for further use or discarded. Higher levels of HDL means a lower risk of heart disease. Some researches show that a high-level of HDL protects plaque build up in the arteries.
Many other factors determine the level of cholesterol in the body but first, let’s clear up some delusions we’ve always had about cholesterol below, Cholesterol levels are determined by diet and physical activities.
Diet and physical activities in certain situations may affect cholesterol levels but not always. Bad cholesterol (LDL) level tends to increase with being overweight or obese. One of the factors for increasing LDL levels to be considered is getting older. In some cases, hereditary may be the cause.
Cholesterol check should be done after a certain age. It is recommended that a cholesterol check should be done by all adults 20 and older every four to six years or with a doctor’s recommendation and not only after middle age.
Cholesterol does not affect children.
A hereditary genetic disorder may be a reason that a child develops heart risk due to cholesterol. That being said, cholesterol testing should be done by:
- A child whose parent or grandparent has evidence of coronary atherosclerosis, peripheral vascular disease or cerebrovascular disease.
- A child whose parents or grandparents have had a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest before the age of 55.
- A child whose parents have a history of high total cholesterol levels (240 mg/dL or higher).
Cholesterol does not affect thin people.
While overweight people are more likely to get high levels of cholesterol, people with a thin frame are not prone to it. Advice is to have a check with the doctor.
Only men are affected by cholesterol
Women have a high level of HDL because of the higher level of estrogen that is generated during the childbearing years. But with age, both men and women tend to observe more elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
The relationship between dietary cholesterol and heart disease
Seventeen million deaths globally, are caused due to cardiovascular diseases every year. There are several reasons for cardiovascular diseases. High cholesterol can lead to the risk of multiple heart diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease. As we read above, there are various reasons for a higher level of cholesterol. Though there is no significant proof that food containing high cholesterol increases the level of cholesterol in the body.
The body regulates its own cholesterol in the blood by controlling the production of it. The amount of cholesterol in your blood and your food are not the same. The necessary amount of cholesterol required is produced by the body regardless of dietary cholesterol intake. However, the body may produce less amount of cholesterol if dietary cholesterol consumed by a human body is more and vice versa.
With easy workouts and curated diet plans, you can keep your cholesterol under control. Even though all cholesterol may not be harmful to your body, maintaining a healthy physique is essential for later stages of life. Heres a curated list of foods that you can include in your daily diet to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) in your body,
- Olive oil
- Fatty fish
- Fruits with high fibre
- Chia seeds
- Red wine