Cholesterol is a compound that is present in most body tissues. Cholesterol content in the bloodstream is regulated by the liver from the nutrients of various foods we consume and then absorbed from the small intestine and metabolized and stored in the liver. When the body needs cholesterol the liver releases it. But when excess of cholesterol is stored in the liver, it accumulates resulting in formation of plaque inside the walls of the arteries, causing them to narrow. It is to be noted that cholesterol, is essential for our health, as it is involved in digestion of foods, making hormones and vitamin D, protect our nerves, helps in production of progesterone, estrogens, and androgens and for the production of cell membranes. . But anything in excess is bad for your health, it is same with cholesterol.
Types of cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat carried into the bloodstream by two types of lipoproteins called HDL and LDL.
- High Density Lipoproteins(HDL) – is known as good cholesterol, HDL helps in transferring excess cholesterol from body tissues back to the liver, and then it is eliminated from the body through bile.
- Low Density Lipoproteins(LDL) – is also known as bad cholesterol because , it promotes build-up of fats in arteries, thereby narrowing the passages making it risky for developing heart diseases such as heart failure, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
An ideal total cholesterol level for adults who are free from heart disease is less than 200 mg/dL while an HDL cholesterol level of 60 mg/dL and above is good to prevent heart disease, while a anything less than 50 mg/dL for women or 40 mg/dL for men is considered risky for developing heart disease and LDL less than 130 is good and anything above is risky.
Maintaining cholesterol levels is vital – The main reason to develop high total or high LDL cholesterol levels is consuming huge amounts of animal foods that are high in saturated fats, LDL cholesterol increases your risk for blood clots, stroke and heart disease. So it is advisable to maintain your cholesterol levels with proper diet.
Here is the list of foods that help control cholesterol
- Barley – is a whole grain that is packed with numerous healthy benefits, especially lowers the risk of heart disease. Its ability to lower cholesterol with increased consumption makes it a healthy food that needs to be added to your diet if you are looking to help control your cholesterol levels.
- Omega -3s or omega 3 fatty acids – Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna are highly nutritious that are rich source of omega-3s and those who include fatty fish in their every day diet have controlled cholesterol levels. Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fats that are very essential for our body’s cells function, including this nutrient in your diet may, decrease triglyceride levels and blood pressure, and prevent fatal heart arrhythmia’s.
- Soy – include soy products in your daily diet, very powerful that helps control your cholesterol.
- Fruits – you can lower your cholesterol levels by including fruits such as- apples, grapes, strawberries, citrus fruits that are rich in soluble fiber called pectin, which is known to lower bad cholesterol or LDL.
Conclusion- Cholesterol can be easily managed with right kind of diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. All these can be easily included in your everyday diet.