What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance that is much like wax in appearance and texture and it is located in all the cells of the human body.
Good cholesterol is needed for the body to function properly and the body makes all the required cholesterol that it needs. It is used for making hormones, substances that help you digest food properly and for Vitamin D.
Cholesterol can also be found in many fatty foods and therefore some people suffer from a high risk condition known as high cholesterol.
Anatomy Of Cholesterol
- LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and is the “bad” type that causes heart disease.
- HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and is the “good” type.
Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can be quite serious and can lead to cardiovascular disease. One of the problems is that high blood cholesterol does not cause any symptoms by itself, which is why a lot of people are unaware of their condition. In order to detect high cholesterol a blood test is required that can be ordered by your doctor or nurse practitioner.
High Cholesterol Facts
According to the Centers For Disease Control:
- Those who have high cholesterol are 2 times more at risk for heart disease, which, is the leading cause of death in the United States.
- 71 million American adults, which, equates to 33.5% of the population have a high LDL count.
- Only 1 out of every 3 adults with high cholesterol manage to get it under control.
- Less than 50% of those with high LDL counts seek treatment or incorporate the necessary lifestyle changes required to lower their levels.
Best Ways to Prevent High Cholesterol
There are a lot of things that each person can do to lower and prevent high cholesterol. This article will review some of these methods, and what diet and lifestyle changes are necessary to prevent high cholesterol to begin with.
- If you are an obese or overweight person then losing excess weight is a great way to prevent and lower high blood cholesterol. Losing anywhere from 5-7% of your bodyweight is enough to see significant change for the better. The best way to lose weight is to focus on foods that are low in calories, such as, fruits and vegetables and also by increasing physical activity.
- Another way to prevent high cholesterol is to drink a little bit of red wine when having dinner. Wine helps to increase the levels of HDL cholesterol (the good type) and this in turn helps to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad type). When HDL cholesterol travels in the blood stream then it picks up LDL cholesterol and carries it to your liver where it is excreted from the body.
- Start eating oatmeal for breakfast. According to the Mayo Clinic, the high amount of soluble fiber in oatmeal reduces the amount of cholesterol the body is able to absorb. It is recommended that one consume 25-35 grams of soluble fiber daily to have a positive effect.
- If your goal is to prevent or stop high blood cholesterol (LDL) then saturated fat is not your friend, and so it consumption must be kept to a minimum. Many animal products, such as, red meat, cheese and whole milk are the main sources of saturated fats. It is recommended that saturated fats account for only 7% of your daily calorie intake. So, if you eat red meat regularly then you need to replace it with soy protein products, lean proteins, like chicken and turkey or broiled or baked fish. If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol then seek the advice of your physician as to your consumption of saturated fat products.
- Men who regularly drink green tea have a lower level of blood cholesterol than men who do not, according to the University Of Maryland Medical Center. It has been found that polyphenols in green tea might have the ability to block cholesterol from forming. It is best to enjoy green tea in pure form, without added sugar or artificial flavoring. Brew it at home and enjoy with mint leaves, lemon and lime juice.
- Regular exercise is another great way to prevent this high risk condition. Aerobics, jogging and walking are all effective workouts to increase the levels of good cholesterol and therefore reduce the bad. 30 minutes a day is enough to have a positive effect. If you are out of shape then you can begin with three 10 minute sessions daily and work your way up to a full 30 minutes.
The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends adults get a blood test for cholesterol through their doctor each and every five years. This is the only way to know whether you are affected or not and in this case knowledge is half the battle.
If you are diagnosed, then it is really important that you follow your doctor’s orders and the methods provided above to get it under control. Lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of having a heart attack that can lead to premature death, and the need for bypass surgery or angioplasty.
The above are some of the best ways to avoid a completely preventable condition and to ensure a healthy and long future. Also, the good news is that it is never too late to make a change and there are many ways to lower cholesterol levels. Certain lifestyle changes are all that is needed to see a positive change and often very quickly.