What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol represents a substance found in our blood, necessary for building healthy cells. When high amounts of cholesterol are in our bloodstream, the risk of developing heart disease is increased. Moreover, fatty deposits are stored in the blood vessels, which eventually will make blood flow troublesome.
Unhealthy lifestyle choices or sedentarism can lead to the appearance of high levels in cholesterol, but there have been cases in which high cholesterol was inherited.
Regular exercise and a change in the lifestyle can diminish its levels, but keep in mind that high cholesterol has no symptoms and can only be determined through a blood test.
How is High Cholesterol Diagnosed?
As mentioned above, a simple blood test can determine cholesterol levels that consist of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Notice the fact that for accurate results, you might be asked not to eat for 10 to 12 hours before the cholesterol test, in order to make sure that all food is entirely digested and won’t have an impact on the results.
Causes of High Cholesterol
An important cause of high cholesterol is represented by an unhealthy diet. The number of saturated fats present in your diet can increase the risk of developing high blood cholesterol.
Lack of physical activity:
If the lack of physical activity is present, LDL cholesterol rates will rise, leading to an increased risk of blood clots.
Alcohol and smoking:
Alcohol and smoking are also considered leading causes of high cholesterol. Excessive amounts of alcohol alter the proper functionality of both liver and kidneys, which creates an imbalance, usually observed in increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
On the other hand, the chemicals in the cigarettes prevent HDL cholesterol from delivering fatty deposits to the liver causing atherosclerosis.
People that have diabetes:
Those that suffer from diabetes are more prone to experience high levels of cholesterol due to the high blood sugar present in the body. Both diabetes and high cholesterol lead to damage of the lining of the arteries.
Family history and gender:
Other high cholesterol risk factors include the gender, after the menopause a woman`s LDL cholesterol increases and the risk for heart disease is higher, along with age and family history.
The risk of developing high cholesterol is higher if a blood relative was affected by heart disease.
How to Lower Cholesterol
Diet and exercise:
Adopting healthy habits like having a balanced diet and exercising daily, will aid in the prevention of high cholesterol levels, along with lowering its rates.
Avoid saturated fat:
There are two general types of fat: saturated and unsaturated fats. Ingesting foods rich in saturated fats can increase cholesterol levels in the blood, which signifies it is best to avoid them.
Aliments rich in saturated fats that should be avoided are meat pies, sausages, butter, cream, hard cheese, cakes, biscuits or any other foods that contain coconut or palm oil.
Include unsaturated fat in your diet:
On the other hand, including in your diet foods that have unsaturated fats will help in lowering cholesterol levels. Such foods are oily fish, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, vegetable oils or rapeseed oils.
Specialists say it is best to cook your meals differently if you want to lower cholesterol. Hence, it is best to steam, poach, boil or grill foods, instead of roasting or frying them.
Eat food high in fibers:
The fibers present in these foods help in reducing the cholesterol in the blood due to the fact that can be easily digested and transformed in energy.
How to Prevent High Cholesterol
As mentioned above, a healthy lifestyle can save you a lot of trouble when it comes to high cholesterol levels.
- Regular exercise helps in preventing cholesterol and heart disease. It is best to opt for aerobic exercises or jogging, which will train your heart to pump blood correctly, along with getting rid of cholesterol deposits.
- Also, it is best to opt for a low-cholesterol diet to prevent high cholesterol levels, while reducing the amount of medication you ingest daily.
- Other ways of preventing cholesterol are represented by diminishing stress, fatigue or quitting smoking due to the fact that it causes an unnecessary toll on our body.