Cholesterol is a fat-like substance within the body. It is produced via your frame — seventy-five percentage by way of your liver. The relaxation comes from the food you devour.
Cholesterol is present in every mobile of the body and is important in digesting ingredients, producing Vitamin D, building cell walls, and producing some hormones. While it’s miles needed for precise health, too much LDL cholesterol can harm your arteries and growth the risk of a coronary heart ailment.
Cholesterol within the blood would not circulate thru the frame on its very own. It combines with proteins to travel via the bloodstream.
Cholesterol and protein journeying collectively are known as lipoproteins. The foremost kinds of lipoproteins are excessive-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL actions cholesterol out of arteries and again to the liver for disposal. LDL LDL cholesterol is referred to as “bad” cholesterol as it brings and leaves LDL cholesterol on your arteries.
The extra LDL-LDL cholesterol builds up at the walls of the arteries, forming plaque. Plaque can block arteries, making it more difficult for the blood to float via and placing you at a threat of coronary heart disease, assaults, and strokes. High LDL cholesterol does no longer commonly produce any signs so that you might be in chance even without understanding it. One signal is a grey-white line of fats deposits growing on the outdoor fringe of your cornea. If you’re under forty, it may be a sign of dangerously high LDL cholesterol.
You can inherit a tendency towards high cholesterol. No one in my family has died of a heart attack so far, but I do have small yellowish-white patches on my eyelids which I developed in my 40s—and which are a symptom of extra cholesterol. They are more likely to develop during a person’s middle years and are more common in women than men. My mother and grandmother had them too. My cholesterol levels have always been on the higher side, even though my lifestyle includes exercise and only non-oily vegetarian food.
The doctors say hypercholesterolemia may be an inherited condition which occurs because of a mutated gene. This usually results in heart disease before 55, but I am past that now. Around 12 percent of females, who inherit the genetic mutation from a parent, will develop coronary artery disease before they turn 50, and 74 percent by the age of 70 years. About 85 percent of affected male children will have a heart attack before the age of 60. But, this can be kept in check by diet and exercise.
In adults, cholesterol levels of below 200 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) are considered healthy. Between 200 and 239 mg/dL is borderline high, while 240 mg/dL and above is high.
LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL. A reading of 100–129 mg/dL is acceptable for people with no health problems but may be a concern for anyone with heart disease or heart-disease risk factors. While 130—159 mg/dL is borderline high, 160–189 mg/dL is high.
HDL levels should be 60 mg/dL or higher. Less than 40 mg/dL can be a major risk factor for heart disease. Cholesterol only comes from animal foods such as eggs, milk, butter, cheese, meat, fish, poultry, and hydrogenated oils like lard, margarine, palm, and coconut.
People who eat animal products may have more cholesterol in their bodies, at any given time than those who don’t. It is not just from the food they eat — the liver will also increase cholesterol levels when a diet is high in fat and trans fats. Having an increased amount of LDL cholesterol, caused by trans and saturated fats, increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
A report from Harvard Health has identified foods that actively decrease cholesterol levels:
Oats, barley and whole grains, beans, eggplant and okra, nuts, vegetable oil (canola, sunflower), fruits (mainly apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus), soy and soy-based foods, foods rich in fiber (no animal-based foods have fiber.)
Reducing the intake of fat in the diet helps to manage cholesterol levels.
Limit foods that contain:
Saturated fat: This occurs in meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, deep-fried, and processed foods.
Trans fats: These occur in some fried and processed foods.
Excess weight can also lead to higher blood LDL levels.
Other conditions that can lead to high cholesterol include diabetes (another lifestyle disease), liver or kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, and steroids.
If your diet is high in fiber and you eat mainly fresh fruit and plants, plant sterols will lower your cholesterol. Physical activity will also make you maintain or lose weight. Exercising for an hour a day raises the heart rate, helps with keeping a healthy weight, and reduces LDL cholesterol levels while increasing HDL cholesterol levels.
Researchers at the department of preventive medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, and published in Journal for the American Medical Association, examined data from six study groups of more than 29,000 people followed for 17½ years. At the start, participants filled in questionnaires detailing the foods they ate. Over the follow-up period, a total of 5,400 cardiovascular events occurred, including 1,302 fatal and nonfatal strokes, 1,897 incidents of fatal and nonfatal heart failure and 113 other heart-disease deaths. An additional 6,132 participants died of other causes.
When they analyzed the data, the researchers found an association between egg consumption as reported at the start of the study and participants’ risk of developing cardiovascular disease. As their egg consumption rose, so did their risk. An egg has 155 calories and 11gms total fat. Each egg has 186 milligrams of cholesterol, which is 124% of what you should be eating per day and sodium 124 mg—more cholesterol than a fast-food double cheeseburger.
Three or more eggs a week was associated with a 3.2 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 4.4 percent higher risk of early death. Each additional half an egg consumed per day was associated with a 6-8% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and higher risk of early death due to any cause.