This substance is a type of lipid or, as it’s most commonly known, a fat. May people know that it can be harmful to their health. However, it’s actually essential in the formation of cell membranes. Everything you should know about cholesterol is in this article.
Overall, this membrane helps regulate the entry and exit of substances into the cell. It’s a selectively permeable barrier that can block or increase a particular activity.
Basically, this substance keeps your cells working. In more technical terms, it’s a sterol. Sterols are steroids with 27 to 29 carbon atoms.
In this article, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know about cholesterol.
Where Can You Find it?
We can find it in vertebrate animals and humans in the following areas:
- Body tissues
- Blood plasma
- Gallbladder stones
75% of the body’s cholesterol comes from your liver. The remaining 25% comes from the food you eat.
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Food Intake and Cholesterol
When food reaches your stomach, you break it down into different elements. At this time, you absorb the nutrients and they enter your bloodstream. These nutrients circulate in the form of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids.
The nutrients merge when they reach the liver. This results in high and low-density lipoproteins that distribute cholesterol to different parts of the body.
Really high cholesterol levels can cause major health problems. This usually happens due to excessive consumption of foods rich in saturated fats such as fried foods, canned foods, red meat, sausages, and dairy products, among others.
The Big Confusion
No matter what, you have to know how to distinguish between the two types of lipoproteins: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). This way, you can determine if your cholesterol is harming your health or not.
- HDLs are responsible for collecting and returning excess cholesterol to the liver. Therefore, these lipoproteins are good for the body.
- Meanwhile, LDL tend to build up and cause blockages in the arteries, among other problems.
In conclusion, the lipoproteins complement each other. However, it’s best to have higher HDL than LDL levels. The reason is very simple: this will keep your heart healthy.
HDL levels should be 40 mg/dL or higher. On the other hand, LDL values should be between 70 and 130 mg/dL.
High Cholesterol and Your Diet
To prevent LDL or bad cholesterol levels from skyrocketing, you should follow a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and plant sterols.
It’s best to eat foods of high nutritional value. For example:
And, of course, you should cut out saturated fats from your diet. You can find saturated fats in potato chips, processed foods (such as bacon, sausage, and ham) and fast foods. On the other hand, the consumption of dairy products isn’t recommended.
If you have high cholesterol, you should adopt healthy lifestyle habits to regulate it and you should be under regular medical supervision.
Want to know more? Read: 5 Foods that Fight and Eliminate Saturated Fat
Cholesterol and Exercise
In addition, doctors recommend exercising at least 30 minutes a day. Doing this has a lot of health benefits, meaning exercising is totally worth your while.
To burn calories and fat and maintain a healthy weight, doctors recommended going for a cardiovascular and aerobic exercise routine.
They also recommended people go up and down stairs as often as possible and avoid sedentary lifestyles.
Developing a workout plan with the help of a healthcare professional will impact your health and well-being positively. It’s a matter of maintaining HDL or good cholesterol and getting rid of bad or LDL cholesterol.
You should complement your exercise routine with an appropriate eating plan. When in doubt, you can speak with a nutritionist who’s an expert in this field.