The growing instances of heart attacks, especially among youth, have brought the kind of food we consume into sharp focus. We are, as it’s said, what we eat. The health-conscious screen every morsel they consume.
Science has been conducting extensive studies on high cholesterol from unhealthy cholesterol-loaded food.
Essentially, cholesterol is a fatty substance that occurs naturally in the body. The problem occurs when high levels of LDL cholesterol accumulate fatty deposits in the arteries, thereby limiting or stopping the supply of blood to the heart and brain.
As a Harvard study points out, the total blood cholesterol level is determined by the LDL and HDL values as well as the level of triglycerides.
So, what’s the key to good cholesterol management?
The Harvard Health Report says that doctors should decide what numbers we should strive for.
The ideal cholesterol LDL level, the report highlights, is less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). If someone has coronary artery disease or peripheral arterial disease, this should be the goal.
The report adds, “However, if you do not have cardiovascular disease and no risk factors for it, an LDL cholesterol level of 100 – 130 mg/dL may be acceptable.
Your level of HDL cholesterol also matters. People with levels below 40 mg/dL are more likely to develop atherosclerosis, heart disease and stroke.
In general, a triglyceride level of under 150 mg/dL is a good goal.”
The report cautions that most people with high cholesterol don’t exhibit symptoms until cholesterol-related atherosclerosis narrows the arteries, which results in pain in the heart.
A part of the special health report reads: “About 1 out of every 500 people has an inherited disorder called familial hypercholesterolemia, which can cause extremely high cholesterol levels (above 300 milligrams per deciliter). People with this disorder can develop nodules filled with cholesterol (xanthomas) over various tendons, especially the Achilles tendons of the lower leg. Cholesterol deposits also can occur on the eyelids, where they are called xanthelasmas.”
The report offers time-honoured remedies like plant food, using olive oil as principal fat, opting for low-fat cheese, having fish as an integral part of diet a couple of times we week, and keeping a check on processed food.
Finally, a caveat we often ignore: consume alcohol in moderation.