Is cholesterol really bad for us? Should we not eat oil, butter and ghee at all? What it is, why we need it and what are the normal levels. Let us understand it all in detail.
Cholesterol is a fat made by the liver and is present in food that we eat. It is not bad for us until and unless it is present in the right amount. Cholesterol helps in digestion of foods, production of hormones and vitamin D.
There are Two Types of Cholesterol
- LDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol): LDL transports cholesterol through the body.
- HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol): HDL sends extra LDL back to the liver from where it is passed out of the body.
The problem starts when the amount of LDL is more and HDL is less. This is called high cholesterol. When cholesterol levels are high in blood it starts collecting and sticking in blood vessels. This reduces the flow of blood, increases blood pressure and can also cause a blockage. A blockage can lead to several diseases like heart attack, heart stroke, kidney disease, etc.
Risk Factors of High Cholesterol
Diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, family history, no physical activity and intake of fried and fatty food increases the risk to have high cholesterol levels.
Causes of High Cholesterol
- Poor Eating Habits: Fried food, sugary food, refined and processed food are rich in fat and trans-fat which increased cholesterol levels in our body
- Smoking: Smoking reduces the amount of HDL which in turn results in high cholesterol levels
- Obesity: High calorie and high fat diet increases weight and belly fat to rise in triglycerides and LDL levels.
- No Physical Activity: Less or no exercise reduces the amount of HDL and increases cholesterol
- Diabetes: High sugar levels damages blood vessels over the time, reduces HDL and increases LDL
Levels and Normal Range of High Cholesterol
|Stages||LDL Cholesterol||HDL Cholesterol||Total Cholesterol|
|Normal||100-129 mg/dl||Less than 40||Below 200|
|High||160-190mg/dl||More than 60||More than 240|
|Very High||More than 190mg/dl|
Symptoms of High Cholesterol
Higher levels of cholesterol usually do not have any symptoms. Regular blood tests and routine checkup can help to detect levels.
Home Remedies for High Cholesterol
- Garlic (Lehsun): It has allicin and antioxidant properties that reduces cholesterol and blood pressure
Chew 1 clove of garlic or swallow 1 garlic clove, chopped with a glass of warm water
- Basil tea (Tulsi): Tulsi leaves are rich in antioxidants and reduce inflammation.
Boil 5-6 fresh basil leaves in 1 cup of water for 2-3 minutes and drink at least 2 times in a day
- Flax seeds (Alsi): Flax seeds are the best source of omega fatty acids that increases HDL. Roast flax seeds and grind it into fine powder. Add 1 tbsp of flax seeds powder on fruits or salads and have it daily.
- Psyllium husk (Isabgol): Psyllium husk is a source of fibre and helps in reducing cholesterol. Fibre absorbs extra fat, cholesterol and passes out of the body. Take 1 tbsp of isabhgol with a glass of warm water at bedtime. Do not forget to drink a lot of water with it
Best Treatment for High Cholesterol
At Zyla, we help you with personalised management for high cholesterol through a unique Triple Combination Therapy (TCT) approach of Medical nutrition therapy, Naturo therapy and Allopathic therapy
- A detailed customized health plan with healthy snack options instead of fried and packaged foods.
- Guidance about proper portion size of food to avoid overeating
- A list of recipes with healthy cooking methods
- Easy to do customised exercise plan keeping in mind the age and diagnosis of an individual
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Cholesterol?
- Cholesterol is a fat made by the liver and is present in food that we eat. It helps in digestion of foods, production of hormones and vitamin D. It is important for our body, but higher levels of cholesterol can lead to health problems like high blood pressure and heart problems.
- How to Control Cholesterol?
- Increase intake of fibre rich foods, add fruits, salads and legumes in your meals
- Avoid refined oils completely instead, use kachi ghani oil
- Have omega rich food like almonds, walnuts, cashews, flax seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and fish
- Stop smoking
- Exercise for 30 minutes everyday
- Avoid packaged and processed foods
- How to Increase HDL Cholesterol?
- Have omega fatty acid rich food. Have almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in your mid meals
- Brisk walk or exercise for 30 minutes everyday
- Stop smoking and alcohol
- Have 2-3 fruits everyday
- How to Reduce LDL Cholesterol?
- Avoid fried, packaged and processed foods
- Stop smoking completely
- Avoid mutton
- Increase intake of fruits, salads, oats, barley, bajra, vegetables, nuts and seeds
- Exercise at least for 150 minutes in a week
- What is HDL Cholesterol?
- HDL is a good cholesterol that helps in reducing high cholesterol levels. It sends extra LDL back to the liver from where it is passed out of the body.
- What Food Should you Avoid in High Cholesterol?
- Fried and packaged food
- Refined food like maida, cornflour, refined oil
- Which Oil Should be used to Reduce Cholesterol?
- Use kachi ghani oil like mustard, groundnut and sesame oil or ghee for cooking food. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants unlike refined oils. Do not use extra virgin olive oil, flax seeds oil, almond oil, etc as they become harmful for us when cooked at high temperatures.
- Is Ghee Good for High Cholesterol?
- Ghee does not raise our cholesterol levels if used in the proper amount. It is definitely a better option over refined oil as it is rich in Vit A, E and D, omega 3, can be cooked at high temperatures, improves heart health and relieves constipation. Using 1 tsp of ghee for 1 person in a meal is just perfect.
Dr Rebecca Shweta Gladwin
MD (Medicine), PG (Diabetology), PG Diploma (Endocrinology)
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