Cholesterol is naturally produced by the liver. It is then transported by proteins via the bloodstream throughout the body. Cholesterol is an important constituent of the human body as it helps the cell membranes to grow, it also helps produce hormones, Vitamin D and bile juices to digest fat.
While Cholesterol is a necessary part of our body’s core functionality, it’s important to remember that if Cholesterol levels cross recommended limits, it can lead to serious health issues like Stroke, Heart attack etc.
Before we discuss the triggers that lead to high Cholesterol, it is important to know the types of fats that carry the substance. These are as follows:
- Saturated Fats – are found mostly in meats and dairy products. These produce more bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Unsaturated Fats – are found mostly in fish, plants, nuts, seeds, beans and vegetable oil. Some unsaturated fats help the liver to break down the saturated fats.
- Trans Fats – are usually found in fried, baked and packaged foods. These are unhealthy fats and cause the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) to go up and the level of good cholesterol (HDL) to go down.
There are five major factors that can cause high Cholesterol:
- Dietary choices – A significant amount of people nowadays depend on processed foods, canned foods etc for their nutritional requirements as they are tastier and easy to prepare for consumption. But processed or canned foods have many health implications. It is important to know the types of fats associated with the food one chooses. Consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E and Amino Acids is advisable. The cooking technique is also a contributory factor. Boiling, grilling, and using an air fryer are healthier options rather than deep frying one’s favourite foods
- Leading a sedentary lifestyle – When one is not active, the body loses its ability to convert fat into energy. Regular exercises like a brisk walk of 30 minutes, walking, running, cycling, or jumping rope are cardiovascular activities which help control Cholesterol levels.
- Obesity – People who are obese or overweight are likely to have higher cholesterol than the ones with a healthy weight. One should monitor their weight and make necessary changes in their diet and lifestyle. If you’re overweight, then cutting down to a healthier weight will help to reduce the chances of high cholesterol.
- Stress – If one doesn’t manage stress efficiently, they can end up becoming more prone to cardiovascular diseases and high cholesterol. Stress affects the process of removing lipids from your bloodstream. It also affects a person’s moods and makes way for unhealthy food habits to curb stress. One should take out time from a busy schedule, even if it is 10-15 minutes a day, for daily relaxation exercises and/or meditation. The self-awareness this promotes is sure to help one choose a healthy lifestyle.
- Excessive alcohol consumption – Taking alcohol in excess affects the functioning of the liver, heart and arteries. It results in the build-up of harmful fats in your arteries. If one is addicted to alcohol, then they should seek professional help.
Adapting to a healthy lifestyle at a young age is advisable as it helps prevent the incidence of high Cholesterol levels later. If the ailment runs in the family, the person is more likely to suffer from it and should pay attention to prevention. Regular checkups go a long way in avoiding and managing High Cholesterol as well.