We generally think of cholesterol as detrimental, but our bodies require a proper quantity of it to function. Cholesterol serves as a building element for everything from cell membranes to hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol. It is necessary for the formation of Vitamin D, which is required to create and maintain strong bones. It is also an important component of bile, which helps us break down and digest fats from our diet.
However, the normal North American diet comprises far too many things that raise our cholesterol levels above what our systems can handle. Excess total cholesterol and LDL "bad" cholesterol adhere to the walls of our blood vessels, reducing the area for blood to move. This stops oxygen and nutrients from reaching the important organs. Most severely, it can block oxygen from reaching the heart or brain, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke.
High cholesterol is like construction on a busy highway, which narrows lanes and delays traffic. If the roadway is completely closed due to construction, we will never arrive at our goal, which has significant repercussions. This is what occurs when cholesterol narrows our blood arteries and prevents blood flow to vital organs: oxygen and nutrients do not reach their intended destination, resulting in organ and tissue damage.
A decrease in total cholesterol and LDL "bad" cholesterol levels, as well as an increase in HDL "good" cholesterol levels, directly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, so maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is critical.
Cholesterol-lowering foods: Eat a high-fiber diet that includes vegetables, fruits, fish, lean chicken, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and olive oil.
Avoid foods containing trans fats, which are hazardous to the body and do not occur naturally. They are prevalent in many packaged and fried meals and are the leading cause of increased bad cholesterol and decreased good cholesterol. Trans fats should be avoided totally in the diet.
Saturated fats are naturally occurring fats that, while beneficial at low levels, contribute to elevated cholesterol when consumed in large quantities. They can be found in foods such as red meat, dairy, coconut, avocado, and nuts. Limit saturated fats to 6% of your daily calories, which is around 13g for a regular 2000kcal diet. They should be made with coconuts, avocados, olive oil, and so on.
Sugars: According to studies, consuming more added sugar relates to greater total and LDL "bad" cholesterol levels, as well as an increased risk of heart disease. We should limit our sugar intake to no more than 25g each day. The best approach is to read nutrition labels and avoid sugary beverages and snacks.
Cholesterol-containing foods can be consumed in moderation. Eggs, for example, are a nutritious source of nutrients and protein, and it is recommended that we eat no more than 7 eggs each week to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. I. Broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts are the vegetables that have the greatest protein.
Maintain a healthy weight: Regular exercise and a balanced diet are essential for maintaining a healthy weight, which is directly linked to improved cholesterol levels.
Physical activities: Moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes per week is the best type of exercise for improving HDL "good" cholesterol and lowering total and LDL "bad" cholesterol levels.
Eliminate smoking: Smoking is a substantial risk factor for heart disease, and when paired with high cholesterol, it increases the risk much more than either risk factor alone. Lab testing: Your cholesterol levels should be examined as part of your annual lab work, with a baseline level established as early as the age of 18.
When cholesterol levels are optimal, our bodies can function normally. However, many diets include far too many things that raise our cholesterol levels over what our bodies can process. Excess cholesterol can accumulate in our blood vessels, preventing oxygen from reaching our organs and causing harm to our bodies.