Cholesterol is a fatty substance necessary for our body’s proper functioning. It is a crucial component of mammalian cell membrane structure and is an essential building block for bile acid, vitamin D, and steroid hormones.
When proteins and cholesterol combine, they create lipoproteins, of which the two main types are HDL and LDL. HDL, or high-density lipoproteins, are often referred to as “good cholesterol” as they transport cholesterol from cells to the liver, where it can either be broken down or eliminated from the body as waste.
Usually, the body should have more HDL than LDL. On the other hand, LDL, or low-density lipoproteins, are also known as “bad cholesterol” as it accumulates in the walls of blood vessels and can increase the risk of developing health issues, including heart attacks and strokes. Despite this, cholesterol is not always harmful.
Your body requires it to safeguard the nerves and produce healthy cells and hormones. However, if present in excess, it might build up in the artery walls and result in arterial disease. A blood test can precisely detect the levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol.
High Cholesterol: An Overview
An excessive amount of lipids (fats) in the blood is a symptom of high cholesterol. It also gets referred to as hyperlipidemia or hypercholesterolemia.
In the right amounts, lipids are necessary for your body to function. When you have too many lipids, your body cannot utilise them. The extra lipids get deposited on the artery walls as a buildup called plaque, which narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow through them.
Atherosclerosis is the process by which cholesterol plaques develop. It’s also called “hardening of the arteries.” If a plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form.
Untreated high cholesterol levels might result in death. A blood lipid panel test is the only technique to determine how much lipid is in the body. Age, gender, and a history of heart disease are a few variables that determine whether someone has high cholesterol.
Elevated cholesterol levels increase the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, and stroke. High total cholesterol significantly contributes to chronic diseases in both developed and developing countries as a potential cause of ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke.
According to WHO data, 39% of people globally (37% of men and 40% of women) had high total cholesterol in 2008. Around the world, one-third of occurrences of ischemic heart disease is caused by high cholesterol. In addition, elevated cholesterol can be a factor in 2.6 million deaths annually.
Factors Affecting LDL Cholesterol Level
Your blood cholesterol level will shoot up if you eat foods high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Saturated fat and trans fat are found in large quantities in fatty meats, baked goods, full-fat dairy products, processed foods, and fast food. These two forms of fat will cause an increase in LDL cholesterol.
According to research, smoking causes LDL cholesterol levels to rise. Your HDL cholesterol decreases when you smoke. A healthy level of HDL cholesterol is necessary to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol from the arteries; a lower level of HDL might lead to a higher level of LDL.
Gender and Age
The overall cholesterol levels of women are lower before menopause. After menopause, LDL levels in women, on the other hand, frequently increase. Moreover, cholesterol levels typically increase as we get older.
Lack of Exercise
Lack of exercise or a sedentary lifestyle can cause weight gain, which boosts the body’s LDL cholesterol levels. Obesity and excess weight increase LDL levels, lower HDL levels and elevate total cholesterol.
The production of cholesterol in your body is greatly influenced by genetics. So a family history of elevated cholesterol may put you in danger.
What Foods Cause High Cholesterol?
Fried foods, such as deep-fried cheese sticks, and meats, are rich in cholesterol and should be avoided whenever possible. It is because they have a high-calorie content and may include trans fats, which can raise your chance of developing heart disease and have other adverse health effects.
Furthermore, various studies suggest that eating a lot of fried food has been associated with a higher risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Fast food consumption is significantly associated with the development of many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Furthermore, fast food eaters typically have higher cholesterol levels, more abdominal fat, higher levels of inflammation, and poorer blood sugar control.
Conversely, lower body weight, less body fat, and decreases in heart disease risk factors, including high LDL (bad) cholesterol, are all linked to consuming fewer processed foods and more home-cooked meals.
The saturated fat content in butter, full-fat yoghurt, whole milk, and cheese is high. Therefore, choose part-skim cheese for cooking, such as Swiss or mozzarella, and keep your weekly cheese intake to no more than 84 grams.
For calcium, consume skim (non-fat), 1%, or 2% milk. Look for yoghurt options that are low- or no-fat. For example, you can substitute butter with avocado or extra virgin olive oil.
Ground beef, ribs, pork chops, beef roast, and steak frequently contain significant levels of saturated fat and cholesterol. Therefore, focus on lower-fat animal protein sources, including baked skinless or 90% lean ground poultry, as well as lean cuts of meat.
In general, you should avoid processed meat due to its low nutritional value and high salt content. Fatty beef or pork pieces are typically used to make bacon, sausage, and hot dogs.
If you can consume processed meat, pick sausage or deli meat made from lean turkey or chicken that has undergone little processing.
Baked Goods and Desserts
High blood triglyceride levels could develop, a risky blood lipid that increases the chance of coronary heart disease. Instead, make your desserts at home using recipes that don’t require a lot of butter or shortening.
It allows you to modify recipes to use healthier alternatives. For example, use olive oil/ avocado oil rather than vegetable oil. Additionally, you can use applesauce instead of butter when baking or have baked fruit as a dessert.
The HealthifyMe Note
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell of the body. Although it is essential for healthy bodily function, an excessive amount of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol can cause artery plaque to develop. As a result, it may eventually result in heart disease, stroke, and other issues. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your cholesterol levels in check. The foods that cause high cholesterol include fried foods, processed or ready-to-eat foods, unhealthy desserts, baked products, full-fat dairy, processed meat, and red meat. In addition, it would help if you also altered your way of life, such as by eating a nutritious diet and exercising frequently.
Discuss Your Nutrition with the HealthifyMe
You can improve metabolic health and maintain healthy cholesterol levels with the features provided by HealthifyMe. HealthifyPro’s approach to a healthy metabolism includes features like Continuous Glucose Monitoring, real-time feedback from professional coaches and many more that may be helpful.
A lipid profile is a test to determine the number of lipids in your blood. Triglycerides and cholesterol are two examples of the lipids class of fat. The test results can show that you have a higher risk of getting heart disease. However, knowing your cholesterol level will help you create an optimal health strategy. Choosing what best suits you is the primary concern. However, here is what you can do.
HealthifyMe offers various services that help you comprehend the food options concerning your cholesterol level and other health difficulties. Customised trainers, nutrition plans, and convenient food and activity trackers for your phone are all included in these plans.
The HealthifyMe app is a complete health management tool that has tools for monitoring weight reduction, water intake, exercise, and food intake. Additionally, the app provides both men and women with equipment-free at-home training videos, making it simpler to get in shape and lose weight.
The software also calculates highly individualised diet programs from renowned nutritionists and trainers that consider your current cholesterol level, target weight, predicted BMI, calorie limit, and dietary preferences.
Modifying your lifestyle is the first step to decreasing your blood cholesterol. To prevent several serious issues, it’s essential to lower high cholesterol levels. It’s important to consult your doctor or other medical specialists since they can recommend drugs that can help.
In addition, you can manage your illness with the assistance of the experienced nutritionists on the HealthifyMe team, who will also help you design a diet that is ideal for you.