Cholesterol is a lipid or fat which is produced in the liver and plays a vital role to ensure the normal body functioning. It resides in the external layer of the body cells. It is a steroid, which is waxy in nature and is transported across the blood plasma in all the animals. It is also synthesized in the plants and fungi but in minute quantity only.

Role of Cholesterol

  • Builds and forms  the outer layer known as membrane in cells.

  • Also, prevents the hydrocarbons present in the membrane from being crystallized.

  • Determines the permeability of the membrane, which molecular structures can be passed through it and the ones that are not allowed to move across.

  • Facilitates the secretion of hormones produced by adrenal glands such as aldosterone, corticosterone, cortisol and a few others.

  • Helps in the production of bile juices in liver

  • Converts the energy from sun into usable Vitamin D for the body

  • Plays an important role in digesting the non water soluble- fat based vitamins A, D, E and K.

  • Provides an insulating cover to the nerve fibers

Cholesterol along with fats and triglycerides, is transported in blood by the molecules called lipoproteins (combination of lipids and proteins). Their primary characteristic is their density according to which they are classified.

Types of Lipoprotein

  • LDL(Low Density Lipoprotein)- This classification of lipoprotein is also known as the 'bad cholesterol' . It transports the cholesterol from liver and directs it to the cells. If it is carried in excess, that can lead to harmful production of LDL. If the levels go extremely high, the chances of arterial ailments become high. On an average, human blood comprises 70% LDL.

  • HDL(High Density Lipoprotein)- The lipoprotein with high density. It is considered to be a good cholesterol which prevents the arterial diseases, as stated by the experts. It's role is reverse to that of LDL, it carries back the cholesterol from the cells to the liver where it gets either broken down or excreted as waste from the body.

  • Triglycerides -They are the chemical structures that hold most of the fat. It exists naturally in the body in the blood plasma, sustaining at a certain level, and is also present in the food. Along with cholestrol, the triglycerides form the blood fat or the plasma lipids. The body derives it from various energy sources such as carbohydrates and other forms of starch. The calories which are not instantly used by the body tissues , get converted into triglycerides and are stored in the fat cells. The release energy when body needs it. This process is controlled by the hormones secreted by glands.

Normal Cholesterol Levels

The minimum level of cholesterol to be maintained in blood plasma is 3.6 mmol/liter. The NHS, in united Kingdom, says that a reading over 6 mmol/liter is an indication of vulnerability to heart risk.

According to the doctors and nutrition experts, the desirable level of cholestrol should be 200 mg/dL or lesser. The range of 200-239 mg/dL is at the borderline for risk and above 240 mg/dL is a threat to the heart.

Harms of High Cholesterol Level to Your Body

There are potential threats to a healthy body with alarming level of cholesterol in blood. Some of them are

  • Atherosclerosis in which the blood arteries get thin and narrow

  • Higher coronary heart disease risk -inability of the arteries to carry oxygen to the blood

  • Heart attack

  • Angina

  • Stroke and mini-stroke

Say Hello to a Healthy Heart

To cut down the amount of bad cholesterol in food, it is also important to cook and prepare them the right way. Here are some tips, good to follow

  • Total fat consumption each day should be between 25 percent and 35 percent of your daily calorie intake.

  • Trans fat intake should make up less than 1 percent of your daily calorie intake.

  • Limit alcohol to only one drink per day or less for women, two drinks a day or less for men. Avoid salt in food. You can season it with fresh herbs, home made spices or lemon juice.

  • Don't deep fry. Use them shallow frying if necessary. Grilled, boiled or baked food is recommended strongly.

  • Use vegetable oils Instead of using unsaturated fatty oils, replace your cooking  medium by olive oil, granola oil or mustard oil

  • Pick fresh food items and avoid canned pr preserved vegetables or fruits, prepackaged ready to cook meals and other prepared foods. Preservative contain harmful artificial substances rich in sodium.

Included in Your Diet Plan For Raising Cholestrol Levels in Blood

  • Soy products. Soya milk, soya beans, tofu, roasted soy nuts.

  • Go for Nuts. Make sure to consume 1.5 ounces of nuts each day. It may include almonds, cashew nuts, pista, or peanuts.

  • Foods having plant sterols. The food items which are fortified, that is lower the cholesterol level in blood. Yoghourt, orange juice, margarine.

  • Include Roughage. They keep your system clean by helping in a smooth digestive process legumes, beans, barley, oats contain high amount of viscous fiber. Wheat bran produces great amount of insoluble fiber.

  • Eat a variety of lean protein foods. If you are a non vegetarian then it is better to go for fish and chicken which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and avoid red meet which is beef, lamb and pork which have a high content of sodium and fat. The omega 3 fatty acids are known to manage blood pressure, fight against atherosclerosis and alleviate the triglycerides level.

  • Do not starve: skipping your meals can lead to over feeding sometimes. It is necessary to keep you cravings in control, for that you must not skip a meal. Feed your body regularly. Short and frequent meals are suggested to regulate metabolism and help in keeping the blood sugar under control.

It is better to go for cholesterol management rather than relying on cholesterol lowering drugs and other medication. It is rightly quoted Prevention is better than cure.


0 #1 heart attack 2014-02-20 15:41
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