Cholesterol – How Bad Is It?

Cholesterol – the thing we all have been told to fear, but few know a lot about. Contrary to popular belief, not all cholesterol is bad and having low cholesterol foods can actually help your body. To learn more about this, scroll down and read clinical nutritionist Rafia Sajid’s article. 

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a wax-like fat substance which is found in all cells of your body. It is made in the liver and travels throughout the bloodstream. It is the key ingredient to make hormones, vitamin D and other substances which help in digestion.

Types Of Cholesterol

There are 2 main types of cholesterol:

LDL HDL
LDL is  a “low density lipoprotein”

It is also called Bad Cholesterol. 

As its name indicates, it should not be present in high amounts in your body, because it can build up inside your arteries and make them narrow; this can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. 

HDL is a “high density lipoprotein”.

It is also called Good Cholesterol.

It carries cholesterol from other parts of the body back to the liver and the liver removes that bad cholesterol from the body. 

In short,  HDL helps in removing bad cholesterol from the body.

Causes Of High Cholesterol

The most common cause for high cholesterol is an unhealthy lifestyle which includes:

  • Poor eating habits: Poor eating habits include eating more saturated fats and trans fats which are found in some meats,  dairy products, chocolates, baked products, processed and deep fried foods. All these foods can increase the risk of raised LDL.
  • Lack of physical activity: Not moving your body for a great length of time and not engaging in some kind of exercise can increase your LDL levels.
  • Smoking: Smoking lowers the amount of HDL – good cholesterol – in your body.

Risk Factors For High Cholesterol

  • Age
  • Heredity
  • Obesity

Symptoms Of High Cholesterol

Some of the symptoms of high cholesterol include:

  • Chest pain 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Numbness or cold fingers 
  • Nausea
  • Pain in neck, jaw, upper abdomen or back

If you or any of your family members experience the above mentioned symptoms, consult a health professional.

Diagnosis

You can get to know about your levels of cholesterol Through blood tests, which include a lipid profile.

Foods With Low Cholesterol To Add To Your Diet

  1. High fibre foods such as oats, legumes, beans, whole grains, seeds etc.
  2. Fruits and vegetables
  3. Nuts
  4. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as avocado, olive oil, sunflower, fish etc.

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