Good and Bad Cholesterol…

May 31, 2011 at 6:45 am Leave a comment

Most of us know the term ‘cholesterol’ only as something that is bad for health. A few of us know that cholesterol may be of 2 types- good or bad. But what most of us do not now is that cholesterol is essential for various important processes in the body.

Did you know that every cell membrane in our body contains cholesterol? Cholesterol is also needed by the body to synthetise our steroid hormones.  When we are in a stressful situation our bodies respond either fright or flight.  Cortisol, which is also called our stress hormone is a ateroid hormone needed for this response. Cholesterol is also required to synthetise our sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.Cholesterol is also used to synthesize bile salts that help in digesting the fats in our diet.

It is only when the levels of cholesterol rise considerably above the normal healthy range do we start having problems. What makes our cholesterol levels rise? The most important cause is a genetic predisposition or a familial tendency to have high cholesterol levels. Other disorders like obesity and diabetes coupled with a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet contibute to high cholesterol levels. The interesting fact is that almost all the cholesterol needed by our body is synthetised within our body, it is the excess cholesterol taken in our diet which proves harmful.

High cholesterol levels circulating in the blood can get deposited in the blood vessels causing atherosclerosis, increased risk of suffering from a heart attack and stroke.

The crucial question here lies “How can I come to know if my cholesterol level is high?” It’s simple, high cholesterol rarely gives rise to any symptoms. It can be detected by doing a simple blood test called Lipid profile. The good cholesterol is the HDL cholesterol. The other cholesterols when high comprise the ‘bad’ cholesterol.

We all love eating junk and fast food. Food that is easy to cook and difficult to digest. Fried items, sugary stuff and starchy loafs are any day a bad deal for health than a bowl of salad or a clear soup. Eating too much ‘saturated’ and ‘trans’ fat is usually the culprit. Saturated fats are present in pork, meat, bacon, lard, tallow, coconut & palm oil, butter, cream and other whole dairy products. Trans fats are present in processed food, misrowave popcorn, potato chips, cookies, cakes etc. Eat nuts like almonds and walnuts, use olive or canola oil for cooking. These increase your good cholesterol- HDL levels. You can control your cholesterol levels simply by eating right and exercising regularly.

When you see a bowl of sweets or a platter of fried chicken, you forget all of that health issue and gulp on to it. Its time you do not give your eyes the privilege of looking that something that tempts the eyes and troubles the health. Take an action now…..

Thanks & Regards

Vijay Dalwani


Entry filed under: Wellness.

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