Facts About Cholesterol
In today’s society that can sometimes be overly conscious of health and wellness, there are myths and false information floating around regarding what is considered healthy and what isn’t. When it comes to nutrients, confusion as to what actually is good and bad for you can be manipulated and we’ve found that cholesterol is often subject to that misunderstanding. So what actually is cholesterol?
According to the American Heart Association, cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance that is made in the liver and body cells as well as found in certain foods such as animal products like meat and dairy products such as milk and eggs. Cholesterol travels through the blood and attaches to proteins to form what is known as a lipoprotein. It is often misunderstood that all cholesterol is bad. Your body actually needs a small amount of cholesterol in order for proper function. The body’s cell walls need cholesterol in order for hormone, bile acid and Vitamin D production. It is important to remember that too much cholesterol can lead to health problems such as heart disease, but that is only when a mass amount is present. A condition called Atherosclerosis can also occur which is the narrowing and hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup from too much cholesterol.
As mentioned earlier, there are different types of cholesterol which are categorized as lipoproteins.
· LDL : Low density lipoproteins are the bad cholesterol. The higher the LDL level in your body, the greater risk one runs of developing heart disease.
· VLDL: Very low density lipoproteins, similar to LDL but contains more levels of fat and not as much protein.
· Triglycerides: Another type of fat that is carried in the blood by VLDL. When the body recognizes an excess of calories, sugar or alcohol, the body converts it into triglycerides and then is stored in fat cells throughout the body.
· HDL: High density lipoprotein or good cholesterol is the opposite of LDL. HDL can actually help rid the body of bad cholesterol and the higher the number you have in your body the better.
There are a lot of factors that can affect the level of cholesterol you have in your body:
· Diet: Some foods can spike your cholesterol so it is recommended to stay away from and reduce your saturated fat intake
· Weight: Being overweight can increase cholesterol greatly. Losing weight can help lower LDL and total cholesterol levels and increase your HDL levels.
· Exercise: Regular exercise can lower LDL and raise HDL. It is recommended to be active for at least 30 minutes a day.
· Age & Gender: As we age, cholesterol numbers go up as well. In women, cholesterol levels have a lower total than most men before menopause but after menopause the total is higher.
· Diabetes: If someone has developed or was born with diabetes, their cholesterol levels can be compromised and raised if their diabetes is poorly controlled.
· Heredity: Genes partly determine your body’s natural level of cholesterol. High cholesterol can run in the family so it is important to take necessary steps to control it.
· Other Causes: It has been found that certain medications and existing medical conditions can cause high cholesterol. If you suspect your current medication is spiking your numbers, it is recommended to consult your physician.
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended number for the total cholesterol is below 200.
· < 200 desirable
· 200-239 borderline high
· 240 > High
The sure thing that is known about cholesterol is that you can take steps to control it. By eating foods with low cholesterol levels, not smoking, exercising and taking prescribed medication, you can be in control of your cholesterol.
By knowing the difference between good and bad cholesterol, you can take control of your health.
The Escali Cibo and portable Cesto nutritional tracking scales can provide you with the cholesterol information for your food so you can be aware of what exactly you’re going to put in your mouth.
Visit the American Heart Association cholesterol condition page HERE
Disclaimer: The Escali Blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. more