Cholesterol is one of the important and essential bio-molecules in the body.
But it has become a scary thing for those with obesity and heart disease.
So here are a few cholesterol facts to consider for safety and health.
Due to the current lifestyle of intense stress, low physical workouts, and food habits, this essential molecule turns out to be harmful and self-destructive to the body.
It is a fatty material and insoluble in water; hence it gets easily accumulates inside the tissues causing damage.
It is the cause of some life-threatening disorders like Heart stroke, hardening of blood vessels, myocardial infarction (MI), angina pectoris, altered blood pressure, etc.
So doctors & health experts advice avoiding oily foods and also habituating some regular physical workout programs as a means to check cholesterol levels for healthier and longer life.
Cholesterol Facts & its Role in the Body:
1. Cholesterol is used up in the formation of cell membranes of the cells and tissues in the body.
2. It is the molecule from which steroid hormones like progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen are formed.
3. Under the influence of sunlight, it breaks up to form vitamin-D.
4. It also forms bile salts which help in the easy absorption of fat from food in the intestine.
Cholesterol range or cholesterol levels: The normal cholesterol in the blood ranges from 150 to 240 mg/ deciliter of blood. But when the levels of cholesterol rise above this range, it is considered to be harmful.
When we consume high amounts of fats, cholesterol formation is enhanced.
On the other hand, when we take up heavy physical work, the body burns out excess fat and thereby cholesterol formation is lowered.
So avoiding physical work raises the chances of cholesterol formation.
How to control cholesterol: Cholesterol synthesis is a normal phenomenon of the body and unless your cholesterol levels are high and require medical attention, cholesterol can be controlled normally by
1. Sensible diet (Cholesterol control diet): Our diet aims to produce mainly three things, viz. carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Fats can be synthesized from excess carbohydrates and even proteins. And fat levels enhance cholesterol formation. So the simple trick is to avoid highly fatty and oily foods as much as possible in your diet.
- Consumption of fibrous foods like fruits, and vegetables help in clearing the gut and thereby undigested fats.
- Fasting on a regular basis, like once a month or biweekly. This may sound strange, but fasting helps the body clean up.
2. Physical work: Our present lifestyle of office jobs, busyness, etc., are reasons for very little physical effort. Less physical effort leads to
- Low burning of calories, which leads to fat and cholesterol synthesis.
- A decrease in blood-mediated transport of metabolites and bio-molecules leads to their accumulation in different parts of the body. Hence atherosclerosis, a phenomenon of hardening of blood vessels, is due to the accumulation of cholesterol and other fatty material on the walls.
- Stress is one factor that disturbs normal body physiology and metabolism, leading to the accumulation of waste, including cholesterol.
- Inactivity of digestive tract or gut: This is seen in people with a sedentary lifestyle. Gut mobility helps in the excretion of undigested fats and bile salts, which lowers cholesterol. Gut motility is low with less physical activity, as evidenced by constipation in these people.
Physical workout programs: Since all of the above causes are related to less physical work, we need to take up some physical workout programs regularly. This can be indoor exercise like yoga, pranyam (breathing exercise) or outdoors like swimming, aerobics. Intense respiration, blood movement and muscle activity helps burn excess fat and there by limit cholesterol synthesis and accumulation.
Cholesterol in body: Cholesterol is biosynthesised in Liver or taken from food directly. From there it is supplied to all cells and tissues by binding to LDL proteins (low density lipoproteins) through blood flow. Unused cholesterol is bound back by HDL (High density lipoproteins) proteins and returned to liver for excretion or latter use.
High-density lipoprotein functions as a shuttle that moves cholesterol throughout the body. HDL binds and esterifies cholesterol released from the peripheral tissues and then transfers cholesteryl esters to the liver or to tissues that use.
On diagnosis of blood sample both LDL and HDL levels are compared and their ratio are used to decide the risk factor as below
Bad cholesterol: When LDL levels are higher, then it is termed as bad cholesterol. This excess cholesterol present in the form of the LDL. The LDL levels above 160mg/DL are termed as risk factor.
Good cholesterol: High levels of HDL are termed as good cholesterol as it is not available for accumulation in the tissues. The ratio of cholesterol for a healthy person i.e. the LDL/HDL ratio is 3:5. HDL levels should be above 40 mg/dL.