Cholesterol - The Bad and The Good!

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.

With high cholesterol, you can develop fatty deposits in your blood vessels. Eventually, these deposits grow, making it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries. Sometimes, those deposits can break suddenly and form a clot that causes a heart attack or stroke.

High cholesterol can be inherited, but it’s often the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, which make it preventable and treatable. A healthy diet, regular exercise and sometimes medication can help reduce high cholesterol.

What is Good Cholesterol

Good cholesterol refers to a type of cholesterol that benefits the heart by transporting bad cholesterol from the blood into the liver. It is also called HDL. Since the particle density is high in good cholesterol, is called high-density.

The cholesterol molecule is surrounded by a rim of lipoproteins to form the HDL molecule. Lipoproteins are the helper molecules, which aid the transportation of the cholesterol particle in the blood. The structure of a lipoprotein molecule is shown in figure 1.

Good cholesterol are the scavengers of LDL and removes LDL from the bloodstream. It transports LDL into the liver where the LDL is reused and recycled. Thereby, good cholesterol maintains the inner walls of the blood vessels. This reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, which leads to cardiovascular diseases. 

The good cholesterol levels should be 60 mg/dL or above. The higher level of good cholesterol is good for the health.

Figure 1: Lipoprotein
T – Triglycerol, C – Cholesterol, phospholipids (green

Figure 2: Bad and Good Cholesterol

What is Bad Cholesterol

Bad cholesterol refers to a type of cholesterol that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also called LDL. LDL is an important marker of the development of the cardiovascular disease. It forms clogged arteries, leading to atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis leads to the cardiovascular disease. The plaques in the walls of the blood vessels are removed by HLD. The role of the bad and good cholesterol is shown in figure 2.

High cholesterol symptoms

In most cases, high cholesterol is a “silent” problem. It typically doesn’t cause any symptoms. Many people don’t even realize they have high cholesterol until they develop serious complications, such as a heart attack or stroke.

That’s why routine cholesterol screening is important. If you’re age 20 years or older, ask your doctor if you should have routine cholesterol screening.

Causes of high cholesterol

Eating too many foods that are high in cholesterol, saturated fats, and trans fats may increase your risk of developing high cholesterol. Other lifestyle factors can also contribute to high cholesterol. These factors include inactivity and smoking.

Other health conditions, such as diabetes and hypothyroidism, may also increase your risk of developing high cholesterol and related complications.

Natural Ways to decrease Cholesterol

Monounsaturated Fats

Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of lipoproteins, which contributes to clogged arteries. Studies found that replacing polyunsaturated fats with monounsaturated fats in the diet reduced the oxidation of fats and cholesterol.

Some are also good sources of polyunsaturated fat:  Olives, olive oil Canola oil, Tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts and cashews and Avocados.

Polyunsaturated Fats, Especially Omega-3s

Polyunsaturated fats have multiple double bonds that make them behave differently in the body than saturated fats.

Omega-3 fatty acids are an especially heart-healthy type of polyunsaturated fat. They’re found in seafood and fish oil supplements.

Eat soluble fibre

Soluble fiber is a group of different compounds in plants that dissolve in water and that humans can’t digest.

However, the beneficial bacteria that live in your intestines can digest soluble fiber. In fact, they require it for their own nutrition. These good bacteria, also called probiotics, reduce both harmful kinds of lipoproteins, LDL and VLDL

Exercise

Exercise is a win-win for heart health. Not only does it improve physical fitness and help combat obesity, but it also reduces harmful LDL and increases beneficial HDL

How can Chaya benefit?

The leaves of Chaya had appreciable quantity of Saponins. Saponins’ natural tendency to ward off microbes makes them an effective therapy for fungal and yeast infections. Saponin serves as natural antibiotics, which help the body to fight infections and microbial actions. Its presence makes Chaya a potential antibiotics drug. Saponins has a significant antihyperlipidemic effect.

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