Cholesterol is an oil-based substance found in the blood. The body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol in the body exposes you to a higher risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Cholesterol is present in every cell of the body and has important natural functions when it comes to digesting foods, producing hormones, generating vitamin D, and contributing to the structure of cell walls.
There are varying causes and factors responsible for increased level of cholesterol in the blood. There are natural causes which include unhealthy consumption of saturated fats and trans fat. Saturated fats are found primarily in red meat, whole-fat dairy foods, butter, and ice cream; examples of foods which contain high Trans fat include fries, cakes, chicken skin, baked foods, fast foods etc.
Other causes of high cholesterol in the body are diabetes, liver or kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, pregnancy and other conditions that increase levels of female hormones, underactive thyroid gland, drugs that increase LDL cholesterol and decrease HDL cholesterol, such as progestins, anabolic steroids, and corticosteroids.
Sure, medications are cool, but there are tons of healthy and easy lifestyle changes which can help improve your cholesterol. Eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising regularly will keep you going just fine. From time to time, you should also have your heart checked, and in any case your cholesterol is above borderline, kindly see a doctor.
In adults, total cholesterol levels less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are considered healthy; between 200 and 239 mg/dL is borderline high; 240 mg/dL and above is considered high.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds. Omega-3 fatty acids don’t affect LDL cholesterol. But they have other heart-healthy benefits, including reducing blood pressure.
Increase your intake of soluble fibers. Soluble fibers such as oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream.
Other healthy foods include Legumes, avocados, nuts—which are very high in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are also rich in the plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat associated with heart health, garlic, vegetables, cocoa, soy foods, ginger, etc.
Increasing your intake of these foods will put you on the path to a balanced diet and keep your heart healthy.