What Causes High Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat that is necessary for performing several metabolic functions, cellular building, and hormone production. They have an essential role in the body. But sometimes the cholesterol levels may increase to such an extent that they can cause damage to your health. It gets produced in the liver and carried into the bloodstream.

Three Main Types Of Cholesterol In The Body

There are three main types of cholesterol in the body. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides. LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol because it is responsible for damaging the heart whereas HDL is termed “good” cholesterol. As it reduces the levels of LDL and eliminates the risk of heart damage and stroke.

You can prevent LDL from rising by changing your lifestyle and implementing some positive changes. But for doing so, you need to know the causes of high cholesterol which are as follows:

  • Being overweight

Obesity and overweight increase an individual’s risk of high cholesterol. Those with a body mass index (BMI) of around 30 or above are at a greater risk of developing cholesterol-related complications. Being overweight can affect the body’s ability to produce and regulate the levels of cholesterol levels. This can lead to the reduction in HDL cholesterol with an increase in LDL cholesterol along with triglycerides.  

Low levels of HDL, in combination with high levels of LDL and triglycerides, can potentiate the risk of heart damage, stroke, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disorders, and heart attack. The rise in LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream leads to the accumulation of plaque in the walls of the blood vessels, which grows thick over time. At some point, the plaque buildup blocks the vascular passage completely. Thereby preventing the flow of blood through it. This increases the pressure on the heart which can lead to its damage.

  • Consuming an unhealthy diet

You are what you eat, so, making necessary changes to your diet can prevent your risk of high cholesterol. You need to immediately give up several foods that can have a detrimental impact on your health. Foods you should avoid are listed below:

  • Baked foods

Cakes, pastries, biscuits, etc. are all baked foods that are rich in saturated fats or trans fats. Your liver uses saturated fats to produce cholesterol in the body. Limiting the intake of baked foods will help you in managing your cholesterol levels.

In case you are buying packaged baked products, then it is necessary to check the ingredient list. It may contain “partially hydrogenated oil” which is nothing but saturated fat, which can raise your bad cholesterol.  

  • Fried foods

You must stop consuming fried foods, as they absorb too much oil which gets transferred to your body and increases your cholesterol levels.

  • Processed meat

Such foods are made of fatty cuts of meat. Which can speed up plaque formation in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and heart diseases.

  • Dairy products

Whole-fat dairy goods can provide your body with essential nutrients. But they can contribute to heart damage due to an increase in cholesterol, so, go for low-fat dairy food options.

Foods you must consume:

  • Fruits – Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, apples, strawberries, grapes, etc. These fruits have soluble fibers, which lowers LDL cholesterol levels.
  • Whole grains – Include millets, barley, brown rice, whole wheat, and oats in your diet to lower LDL levels.
  • Nuts – Nuts contain good monosaturated fats. You should eat more of almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans, macadamia, and walnuts. They help in reducing LDL cholesterol.
  • Beans – Including kidney beans, lentils, and black-eyed peas will help manage cholesterol.
  • Soy product

Lack of movement

Avoiding exercise and physical activity can lead to high cholesterol. When you exercise regularly, your body produces HDL cholesterol. Which lowers the LDL cholesterol levels by taking it again to the liver to get it eliminated from the body. HDL helps your body to get rid of excess LDL which can clog the blood vessels and block the flow of blood.

Regular physical activity keeps the cholesterol problem at bay. You should perform aerobic exercises regularly, which can include walking, brisk walking, jogging, running, swimming, or cycling. You can exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. Exercise will prove beneficial for your health.  

Excessive smoking

The cholesterol plaque gets accumulated in the passages of the blood vessels. An increase in LDL levels leads to plaque formation. Smoking influences the problem by making the LDL stickier and easily stick to the vascular walls. This leads to the clogging of the arteries.

The blood flow cannot happen through the clogged arteries, which is why the heart has to work extra hard to push blood through the clogged arteries. Therefore, if you wish to prevent any health damage due to high cholesterol levels, then you must give up your smoking habits.  

Chronic stress  

In general, Stress releases several hormones known as cortisol in your body which affects cholesterol levels. It can lead to a surge in LDL levels in your blood which increases your risk of developing heart disease, or stroke. Atherosclerosis is a disease that is a result of high cholesterol. It can cause the hardening of the blood vessels due to plaque buildup.  

You must learn to manage your stress. Do some meditation, yoga, and physical exercises regularly. Which will help you to forget about your worries and enjoy the present moment. Moreover, This will bring down stress levels and help in managing cholesterol. 

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