Cholesterol can be defined as a fatty substance, which is made within the cells in the human body. The hepatic cells make about a quarter of the total cholesterol. It is a vital substance needed for the normal body functioning. Cholesterol is carried by the proteins in the blood. Proteins and lipid together are known as lipoproteins. There are two forms of lipoproteins called as LDL, which is harmful and HDL, good cholesterol. A certain amount of cholesterol is normally present in the blood, which is required to keep you healthy. However, excessive amount of cholesterol levels can affect your health, as it can give rise to serious health conditions. A built-up of cholesterol in the artery wall can restrict the blood flow to the heart and may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, mini-stroke etc. There are some natural remedies available to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Causes of High Cholesterol
There are many factors responsible for increasing the blood cholesterol levels. Consumption of foods with higher amount of saturated fat is one of the significant causes. Smoking is yet another important cause of increased cholesterol levels. A chemical called acrolein found in cigarettes prevents HDL transporting fatty deposits to the liver, which may cause atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries). People with diabetes or high blood pressure may have higher levels of cholesterol. People with family history of heart disease or stroke are at the increased risk of high cholesterol. An inherited condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) may also cause high cholesterol. Being overweight and inactive lifestyle is also another risk factor for high cholesterol levels.
Treating High Cholesterol
The treatment for high cholesterol aims at lowering the LDL levels to minimize the risk of developing heart diseases. There are different types of medications available to lower the blood cholesterol levels. The most commonly prescribed drugs are statins, aspirin, niacin and ezetimibe.
Home Remedies to Lower Cholesterol
The very first step you should take to lower the cholesterol level is to improve your lifestyle. Certain lifestyle changes along with a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise can work great.
Diet may play an important role in maintaining the normal cholesterol level. Cut down the foods high in saturated and trans fat such as meat, meat products or full-fat dairy products like butter, cheese, cream etc. your diet should be rich in high-fiber foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Oatmeal and oat bran can help reduce LDL or bad cholesterol. The foods like pears, apple, kidney beans, barley and prunes are known to contain soluble fiber, which can minimize the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. The foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines, as well as flax seeds or canola oil are known to reduce blood pressure and minimize the risk of developing blood clots. Almonds, walnuts and other nuts are also known to decrease blood cholesterol levels, as these nuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
In addition to balanced diet, it is necessary to follow heart-healthy lifestyle changes. It includes weight management, physical activity and quitting unhealthy habits. Being overweight may be one of the contributing factors for high cholesterol levels. Losing weight can help to lower LDL. You need to adopt active lifestyle. Regular exercising can improve the cholesterol levels. Daily work out for 30-60 minutes can help great. Exercises like brisk walking, jogging and swimming are found to be helpful. Besides, you need to stay away from unhealthy habits like smoking and alcoholism.
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