How to maintain a healthy cholesterol level?

July 29, 2021 Health and Wellness

How to maintain a healthy cholesterol level?

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is made in the liver. It can also be found in some foods such as olive oil, whole grains, high fibre fruits and fatty fish. It has many important functions. For example, it helps keep the walls of your cells flexible and is needed to make several hormones.

However, like anything in the body, too much cholesterol or cholesterol in the wrong places can create problems. Like fat, cholesterol does not dissolve in water. Instead, its transport in the body depends on molecules called lipoproteins, which carry cholesterol, fat and fat-soluble vitamins in the blood.

There are two main types of cholesterol. The first is known as HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.

If you have too much cholesterol in your body it can combine with other substances and cause blockages of plaque. This plaque can stick to the artery walls and can lead to coronary artery diseases, where the arteries become narrow or blocked. This type of cholesterol is known as LDL which stands for low-density lipoprotein and is referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol.

What raises your cholesterol?

Cholesterol can be caused by an unhealthy lifestyle but it can also be genetic too. Even though you may be healthy, young, and slim you can still be affected. High cholesterol is very common but most people do not know they have it as it usually does not show symptoms.

Factors that can increase your risk of ‘bad’ cholesterol:

  • Eating too much-saturated fat
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Being physically inactive
  • Obesity
  • Age

How can you maintain a healthy level of cholesterol?

Reducing your high cholesterol is important to reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. You can lower your cholesterol through heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

To help prevent high cholesterol, you can:

  • Eat a low-salt diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Limit the number of animal fats and use good fats in moderation
  • Lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise on most days of the week for at least 30 minutes
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all
  • Manage stress

If the lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medication. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. Always seek medical advice by visiting your GP who will guide you on the best route for you.

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