Cholesterol: Part 2

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How was the week that went by? 

First of all, a big thank you everyone, for the overwhelming response to my last post on cholesterol-Part 1. Yes, cholesterol and irregular lipid profiles have become so common these days that sometimes I wonder if what we eat is what our kids eat too, what are we doing to the next generation…and the next!

Anyways, let’s move away from that scary thought and see how we can try and start some preventive work or repair work or…at least some maintenance, if nothing else.

In my last Friday’s post, we have already seen what cholesterol is, why we actually need it and how it moves around our body with our blood and do some things for critical for our survival…and when irregular, create a lot of damage on the other hand. We also saw the normal parameters for cholesterol levels in blood and what could cause these elevated cholesterol levels.

If you missed it, you can read it here

Today, let us see what can be done for these elevated cholesterol levels. Before we begin, let me put a disclaimer here. Many a times, an irregular lipid profile is accompanied by a host of other health complications. Many a times, it could be a plain dietary issue and sometimes it is caused by other underlying factors.

Whatever we decide to do, we have to make sure it does not contradict any other conditions or medications that we have/take.

Having said that, now we know that the liver makes cholesterol and lipoproteins both. Lipoproteins hold this cholesterol and transport it to the rest of the body through blood. These lipoproteins can be divided into two broad categories:

  1. LDL – Low Density Lipoprotein – termed often as bad cholesterol because it carries the cholesterol to our arteries and gets deposited there, resulting in atherosclerosis (aka plaque formation) i.e. narrowing of arteries
  2. HDL – High Density Lipoprotein – often termed as good cholesterol as it cleans the blood of LDL cholesterol by taking it back to liver

Knowing this, the repair process needs to be a multi-pronged approach. This approach needs to have dietary changes as well as lifestyle changes. You want change, you make change.  Long-term substantial changes!

Lifestyle Changes:

  • Weight loss if one is overweight – losing even a few kgs help tremendously in keeping the cholesterol levels in control
  • Regular physical activity – the primary reason I keep talking about the importance of some form of regular exercise is because it is very important for good health. Not only it enhances the effect of a good diet (and vice versa) but goes hand-in-hand. One can choose the activity as per their preferences but doing it with consistency is crucial, not just for lowering cholesterol levels but for a host of other benefits
  • Quitting smoking – in all forms
  • Quitting or severely reducing the alcohol consumption

Dietary Changes:

  • Choose the saturated fats carefully. Not all saturated fats are created equals and saturated fats come from all kind of sources – good and bad. The non-vegetarians here need to be even more careful because the saturated fats coming from red meats could be quite high on saturated fats
  • Avoiding trans fats and this entails avoiding all junk foods especially which have partially hydrogenated vegetable oils mentioned on the packaging
  • Re-evaluate daily fibre intake. Having a diet with lot of veggies and some fruits should take care of this. Again, we can choose as per our preference and the availability
  • Re-evaluate the omega-3 consumption. Most of us do require some helpful Omega-3 in our daily diet. One can choose the options as per one’s preferences and availability
  • More dietary changes might be made carefully, keep the person’s medical requirements and contradictions

If the levels are quite elevated, the doctor might put the person on medication. However, making dietary and lifestyle changes would still be required. And should be made regardless. These might help in keeping the dosages low or even go completely off them, in some time.

Hope today’s post help you in some way. Do share with people who you think might benefit from it. To join me on Instagram (I have exited Facebook and Twitter now), here is the link:

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace