Cholesterol is a fatty substance produced mainly by the liver and intestines. The need to normalize cholesterol naturally is undoubtedly the best option to improve the quality of life.

Cholesterol is a constituent of cell membranes, and it is used by the body to produce bile acids and steroid hormones such as testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, and cortisol.

Exposing the skin to direct sunlight converts cholesterol into vitamin D, which is necessary for bone development. In addition to being produced by some organs, cholesterol can also come from foods of animal origin such as meat, fish and dairy. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in compounds called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins ( LDL or “bad” cholesterol) release cholesterol into the body, while high-density lipoproteins (HDL or “good” cholesterol) keep cholesterol in the bloodstream. Hyperlipidemia is an elevation of lipids in the blood. These lipids are esters of cholesterol, cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides.

What Causes High Bad Cholesterol?

Excess cholesterol gradually builds up on the walls of the arteries causing atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries.” The cholesterol plaques narrow the arteries and reduce the flow of blood that can reach the heart. Chest pain (angina pectoris) usually occurs during exercise, when the heart muscle needs more oxygen in the blood than can be delivered by the narrowed coronary arteries. A heart attack occurs when the cholesterol plaque breaks down and mixes with the blood to form a clot that completely blocks blood flow to the heart muscles.

How can cholesterol be normalized with lifestyle changes?

The National Cholesterol Education Program created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute  says that reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet helps lower your blood cholesterol level . The program advocates for therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) consisting of:

– Diet. A cholesterol-normalizing diet should contain less than 7% of calories from saturated fat and less than 200 mg of dietary cholesterol per day. The diet recommends only enough calories to maintain an adequate weight and prevent weight gain. Also, the amount of soluble fiber should be increased, and food products containing plant stanols or sterols should be included in the diet.

– Weight management. Losing weight can help normalize LDL cholesterol and is especially important for people with a large waist circumference, that is, men with a waist greater than 40 inches (101 cm), and women with a waist greater than 35 inches (89 cm).

– Physical activity. Thirty minutes of daily exercise is recommended for everyone, as it can help raise HDL and normalize LDL cholesterol.

Cholesterol normalizing lifestyle summary

– Do not smoke and you can normalize cholesterol. Smoking increases total cholesterol, lowers HDL, and increases other risk factors for heart disease. Click here to learn how to quit smoking. You can find more information about what happens to your body if you stop smoking right now

– Eliminate all foods with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.
See:  What are trans fatty acid

– Limit the consumption of saturated fat. Trim fats from meats among others.

– Reduce the consumption of meat products and replace them with vegetables, especially legumes such as beans and chickpeas.
See:  10 Reasons to Include Salads in Your Meals

– Reduce the consumption of carbohydrates , such as bread, cakes, sweets, rice and pasta.
See: 9 Tips for Developing a Healthy Diet

– Add some polyunsaturated fat to your diet in the form of sunflower seeds, walnuts, grapeseed oil, and flaxseed oil.
See Diet with Seeds

– Add soluble fiber to your diet by consuming oat bran, oats, beans, peas, citrus fruits, strawberries and mangoes.

– Maintain a normal weight , with a BMI in the range of 18.5 to 24.9.

– Exercise regularly .

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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