Is cholesterol so important?
We hear about cholesterol a lot. Every media outlet is running a campaign on the adverse effects of bad cholesterol. But we are bombarded with new information every day and when it comes to the topic of cholesterol, there’s so much we still need to learn about. This is why our experts have created this article on cholesterol, its types, characteristics, and factors that influence your cholesterol levels.
What Is Cholesterol?
Before moving on, let’s first see what cholesterol is, it’s a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in both the human body and products that come from animal fat. Contrary to popular belief, humans need cholesterol, the reason why cholesterol is characterized as good and bad. The human body uses cholesterol for many vital functions including the production of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and vitamin D.
Cholesterol is made in the human liver and the type of cholesterol it creates is largely dependent on genetics.
Dietary cholesterol comes from eggs, poultry, beef, and shellfish. A daily intake of 300mg/day is recommended, an excessive amount can raise your cholesterol levels and cause heart diseases.
While getting your cholesterol tested, you’ll see different columns, these are types of cholesterol, listed as LDL, HDL, VDL, and lipoprotein a [Lp(a)].
In order to determine your total cholesterol levels, HDL and LDL, along with triglycerides’ percentage, are calculated. Triglyceride is another bad fat in our body. If your LDL and Triglyceride levels are higher, you are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Since cholesterol is a fatty substance, it doesn’t flow in the body with water or other fluids. Cholesterol comes out of the liver through proteins, also known as lipoproteins. LDL cholesterol is Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol and is responsible for carrying the cholesterol out of the liver into the body to perform various functions including making hormones.
However, if the LDL range is higher than normal, it can lead to poor heart health and poses a serious threat to your health.
HDL is also known as the good cholesterol. It is because HDL is High-Density Lipoproteins which contain less cholesterol than LDL. Moreover, these are produced in both the liver and the intestines and are responsible for eliminating cholesterol deposits from the walls of the arteries.
Very Low-Density Lipoproteins are another form of bad fat. The difference between LDL and VDL is the fact that VDL carries triglyceride instead of cholesterol and once they have disposed of the triglycerides, they are only proteins with cholesterol that can form plaque inside the arteries.
Foods That Help With High Cholesterol Levels
Foods such as eggs, shellfish, tuna, salmon, milk, fortified yogurt, sardines, walnuts, flaxseeds, and fish oil are all loaded with essential fatty acids including Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to that, herbs, garlic infused olive oil and cinnamon are known to help lower your cholesterol levels. Most fruits and vegetables are rich in soluble fibers and are highly effective for achieving healthy cholesterol levels.
Foods To Avoid
High-fat, Saturated, Trans and hydrogenated foods must be avoided at all costs. Full-fat dairy, meat, poultry, egg yolk, are all high in cholesterol and are simply not advised to patients of high cholesterol.
How To Raise The Good Cholesterol?
Raising HDL is as essential as lowering LDL. Some of the ways to raise HDL include:
- Losing Weight
- Vitamin B3 Supplement (Niacin)
It’s best to check with your doctor before taking niacin.
If you are a patient of high cholesterol and also struggling with obesity, we can help you lose weight and manage your cholesterol levels with lifestyle changes. To learn more about our bariatric services, book your free consultation today!