What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy-like substance that is found in almost all cells of the human body. Unlike what most people think cholesterol is an essential compound which is essential for your body to produce vitamins, hormones and other elements which help in the digestion of the food you ingest. Cholesterol is not the bad guy, in fact, its a significant factor inside your body. Your body is capable of meeting all the cholesterol needs by manufacturing it.
On the other hand, cholesterol is also available in some of the foods you consume. It makes its way into the bloodstream using tiny packages called lipoproteins. These packages are composed of proteins on the exterior and fat on the interior. It is essential to know how to lower LDL cholesterol.
Types of cholesterol:
There are two kinds of lipoproteins which circulate the cholesterol around your body.
- Low-density Lipoproteins (LDL)
- High-density Lipoproteins (HDL)
Maintaining a nominal level of both of these types is crucial for good health.
LDL cholesterol is referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol. A high value of LDL in your blood means that there’s an active buildup of cholesterol in the walls of your arteries (these are blood vessels which are responsible for transporting blood from your heart to the rest of the body). If you have a high LDL level, you need to know how to lower LDL cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol is also known as ‘good’ cholesterol. That’s because HDL is responsible for bringing cholesterol from various parts of the body to the liver. The liver is capable of eliminating cholesterol from your body.
High blood cholesterol
High cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol are terms that can be used interchangeably because they pretty much mean the same thing, cholesterol that isn’t good for your body. You need to figure out how to lower LDL cholesterol.
This is a condition in which you have way too much cholesterol content in your bloodstream. The interesting part about this situation is that there are no apparent, evident symptoms or signs. As a result of this, a lot of people who have high cholesterol have no idea that they are silently increasing their chances of a heart attack.
The amount of LDL cholesterol is directly proportional to the risk of having a heart attack. Higher the LDL, more are your risks. On the other hand, larger amounts of HDL, as a matter of fact, reduces your chances of going down with a heart attack. Thus, you need to know how to lower LDL cholesterol.
Below mentioned are the nominal cholesterol ranges:
- High: > 240 MG/DL
- Borderline High: 200-239 MG/DL
- Desirable: < 200 MG/DL
Causes of high cholesterol
- High cholesterol is due to unhealthy eating habits:
- Consuming excess meat and cheese
- Consumption of Saturated fats found in meats, chocolate and processed and deep-fried food articles
- Intake of trans fats found in certain fried items
Other reasons for high cholesterol include:
- Kidney disease
- Pregnancy or other medical conditions which increase female hormones.
Ways to treat and prevent high levels and how to lower LDL cholesterol
There are different ways to lower LDL levels. If you want to know how to lower LDL cholesterol levels, then read on:
- Maintain a healthy diet which isn’t high in fats (especially the fats mentioned above).
- One healthy alternative to fatty foods is omega fish such as sardines, mackerel, and herring.
- Include much more fiber-rich food items in your diet. Foods having plenty of soluble fiber are very effective in lowering cholesterol.
- Protein-rich food items such as legumes or nuts are perfect alternatives for meat.
- Remember to keep track of how many calories you are in taking daily. While switching to a healthy-heart food program, you must keep an eye on the calorie counter.
- Start taking plant sterol supplements. These are natural substances found in plants. Consumption of a couple of grams of these sterols is one guaranteed way to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- Exercise regularly to burn off excess calories.
- Say no to smoking. In addition to the several negative aspects of smoking, it reduces the HDL cholesterol.
- Sip on black tea as often as you can. Research has shown that black tea can lower LDL cholesterol levels.
- Cut down on the alcohol. Excess intake of alcohol is known to stimulate the liver to effectuate more cholesterol.
- Use essential oils such as cypress oil which is famous for its ability to improve circulation and rosemary oil which is cardioprotective and possesses excellent antioxidant properties.
- Don’t get depressed if your cholesterol levels are high. Do what you can every day, and the right thing will happen.
Apart from the above methods, there’s always the obvious choice of visiting a doctor for an effective solution, but most of these cholesterol-reducing drugs have certain side effects, which is why several dieticians and physicians recommend natural, drug-free ways to keep the cholesterol down.
To sum up, lowering LDL cholesterol is not difficult. All you need to do is maintain a healthy lifestyle, stay away from things that increase your cholesterol, and exercise.