Cholesterol is a waxy fat which is present normally in the human body. It is synthesized by the liver from fat and extra carbohydrate. It is a precursor of steroid hormones, vitamin D and bile acids. Fat is insoluble in water, hence, it need carrier proteins for its absorption. Amongst these carrier proteins, the two main are LDL and HDL. LDL is the bad carrier as it carries excess of cholesterol whereas HDL causes lowering of cholesterol levels in the body.
Hypercholesterolemia is excessive cholesterol in blood.
According to national heart, lung and blood institute, cholesterol level should be:
• Normal value: <200mg/dl
• Borderline: 200 to 239mg/dl
• High: >240mg/dl
• GENETIC: Familial hypercholesterolemia is an autosomal dominant condition
• DIET: High amounts of saturated, Trans-mono- and poly D unsaturated fatty acids in diet e.g. red meat, dairy products, chocolates, fried food etc.
5 Natural Ways Of Decreasing It:
• Mechanism of action: Oat has soluble fibres which dissolves LDL and hence decreases cholesterol levels.
• Dishes: Steel cut oatmeal, cold oat cereal, oat bran
(Also seen in barley and prunes)
• Quantity: 1.5 cups per day gives 6 grams fibres (adding one fruit to it adds 4 grams to fibre intake)
• Other uses: Decreases weight, improves digestive system.
2. Almond and other nuts
• Mechanism of action: Has monounsaturated acids which increase HDL level and also stop oxidation of LDL.
• Dishes: Chop and keep in a jar and sprinkle 2 tablespoons a day on yogurt, cereals, vegetables, salads
• Quantity: 2 tablespoons per day for 5 days
• Other uses: Has vitamin e, magnesium, copper etc. Walnuts have omega-3-fatty acid as well
• Mechanism of action: Replaces unsaturated fatty acids with mono-saturated fatty acids hinging the process of cholesterol formation.
• Dishes: Soya beans, soya milk, tofu, soya flour
(Best form is soya beans)
• Quantity: 25 grams per day
• Other uses: High protein levels, good replacement of meat products
• Mechanism of action: Omega-3-fatty acid decreases LDL levels and increases HDL levels
• Dishes: Salmon, anchovies, sardines, herrings, rainbow trout, tuna, other cold water fishes (salmon has the highest level of omega-3-fatty acid)
• Quantity: 2 servings of fatty fish per week
• Other uses: Protective function especially protects heart, lowers weight, helpful in depressive disorders, good for eyes, good source of protein, improves memory
5. Plant products:
• Mechanism of action: These are full of antioxidants that prevent LDL from oxidising. Oxidised LDL disrupts the cell membrane and get accumulated there. It causes obesity and also releases toxins which cause further problems. Also high LDL levels mean high cholesterol formation
• Fruits: Blueberries, avocadoes, apple, grapes, grapefruit, fortified oranges
• Vegetables: Spinach, cabbage, carrots, onions, tomatoes, garlic
• Beans and lentils: Black beans, white beans, kidney beans etc.
• Quantity: 2 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of dal, and at least one fruit per day
Hypercholesterolemia increases risk of heart diseases, diabetes, blood vessel blockage, damage to liver and kidney. Hypercholesterolemia causes slow painful death. The good thing is cholesterol levels can easily be estimated in blood and also hypercholesterolemia can be controlled by simple methods. So, fight cholesterol not your life.