photo credit: neilfein
This is a guest post by Tess Mathews.
There is a lot of hype about the threat of cholesterol. Yes, the presence of excess lipid is a threat in more ways than one but, that is only half truth. There are several steps that one can take to prevent high cholesterol. Before taking the prescribed steps, one should know what cholesterol exactly is, and to what extent it is harmful? Let us find out.
Cholesterol is basically a waxy, soft lipid which is found in our body. It is carried by blood to all parts of our body. As far as the presence of cholesterol in our body is concerned, it is produced by the liver and enters our system through food products such as fish, sea food, meat, and poultry. It helps the body enjoy good health but too much of it may lead to complications. It is not soluble in water, so it should bind itself to special proteins which are which are known as lipoproteins.
Good Cholesterol Bad Cholesterol
When the lipids bind themselves to these proteins, they give rise to two kinds of proteins: High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) and Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL). HDL is known as the good cholesterol and it helps to maintain the health of the heart. It also prevents the narrowing of the arteries. On the other hand, LDL is the bad cholesterol. Excess of this can accumulate itself on the walls of the arteries.
There are some pointers that one can follow to prevent high cholesterol. Surprisingly, it requires more than just a dietary change. They are listed below:
- One needs to know the source of high cholesterol. Animal fat can be replaced by vegetable oils such as sunflower, olive and so on and fresh fruits. Do not consume red meat or dairy products as they are rich in cholesterol.
- One needs to reduce his/her stress level. With rising stress level, the body releases adrenalin which leads to increase in the cholesterol levels in blood.
- One must exercise regularly. Three times a week, for 30 minutes at a stretch is enough to bring down high cholesterol.
- Do not fall behind in getting your blood levels in cholesterol checked. Those tests can be an eye-opener. Early detection leads to proper prevention. Prevention is always better than cure.
- Smoking should be stopped pronto. People usually believe smoking only affects the lungs but it is more dangerous than that. It can get the cholesterol level sky-high.
- Ignorance is not bliss. Do research on the different kinds of fats present such as partially hydrogenated fats, unsaturated fats and saturated fats.
- Do not depend on your neighborhood doctor. There are two kinds of cholesterol tests that can help one gauge the levels, by themselves.