Understanding Your Cholesterol Level

Before you chomp down on that second helping of quarter pounder burger with extra cheese, think about the setbacks it could do to your health, specifically your blood cholesterol level. Increased cholesterol level is the main culprit for several cardiovascular diseases (CVD), but what really is it?

Cholesterol is a soft waxy substance that is a member of a group of lipids. It is primarily manufactured in the liver. It is not much of a villain for it has important functions in our body. Our cells utilize them for the formation and maintenance of its structures and are also very crucial in the synthesis of several hormones, particularly the sex hormones. It also needed in producing bile, which is important in the processing of fats. So when then does cholesterol sabotage our health?

The Good Fat Gone Bad
Low density lipoprotein or LDL, which is referred to as the bad cholesterol is usually the carrier of this lipid. It delivers them from the liver to the different tissues in the body. When LDL levels shoots up, they plague the artery walls and this can lead to a stroke. Luckily, our body has scavengers that suck out excess lipids from the cells and send it back to the liver for disposal. Say hello to the good cholesterol or the high density lipoprotein (HDL).

Triglycerides also known as saturated fats, which are mostly derived from animal produce also play a big role in increasing your health bill. A combination of an elevated triglyceride and high cholesterol puts you up as a number one candidate for heart attack.

So what does my burger with extra cheese got to do with it?
Although the body utilizes most of the cholesterol in the liver, ingesting foods high in cholesterol and saturated fats (triglycerides) makes one more predisposed to CVD.

Foods that gain the popularity for increased numbers are egg yolk, dairy products, animal produce, shrimps and shellfishes, processed meats, deep fried items and anything from the fast food. But your sweet tooth could put you at risk too, as excess sugar is also a main player in the elevation of triglycerides.

I know the bad stuff now, so what’s next?
As the old adage says, prevention is always better than cure, and always comes with a less hefty price tag than your maintenance medication. If left unmanaged, a conundrum of diseases would definitely follow suit. So how does it goes?

• If you must have pork or beef, limit intake to twice a week. Choose leaner cuts.

• Trim excess fat off the pork and beef. Remove skin off the chicken.

• Lessen intake of fried food. Choose healthier options of cooking such as baked, steamed, roasted, soup type dishes.

• Switch to low-fat or nonfat milk

• Limit intake of egg yolks to twice a week.

• Use butters and margarine sparingly. Enjoy the natural flavor of steamed vegetables and not the ones bathed in butter.

• Tame your sweet tooth and go easy on cakes, cookies, donuts and pastries

Increasing your intake of HDL is also recommended. Soluble fiber from fruits such as apples, soy, oats increase it significantly.

So ditch that ice cream for dessert and have an apple instead.

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