Cholesterol in the body
Cholesterol is needed in the body for the proper functioning of nerves and hormonal balance. It is important to keep a check on fat consumption for healthy cholesterol levels. A high cholesterol diet, inactive lifestyle and smoking increase the bad cholesterol levels in the body, which gives rise to many serious health issues.
Which are the High Cholesterol Foods?
It is important to be aware of the foods that are highly nutritious but contribute to high cholesterol when consumed in excess. Some of the most common food items which are high in cholesterol are:
Eggs, fried chicken, crabs, shrimps, cheese, butter, mutton, bacon, sausages, and full-fat dairy products.
The cholesterol levels in your body also tend to rise when you have too much trans fat. Processed and packed snacks are high in trans-fat. Therefore, you should have cookies, cake, pastries, etc in a moderate amount. The high amount of trans fat in the body increases the chances of heart diseases.
Side effects of high cholesterol on your health
Sudden chest pains and irregular heart rate
These are among the first appearing symptoms of high cholesterol levels in the body. These signs are usually accompanied by nausea and dizziness. These side effects of high cholesterol are often mistaken for a gastric attack. It is important to reach out to a doctor to confirm the root cause.
Coronary Heart Disease
Heart-related disorders are the most commonly seen side effects of a high cholesterol diet. In coronary heart disease, the blood flow through the arteries gets affected. It happens due to the buildup of plaque in the interior wall of the arteries. The excess cholesterol in the body turns into plaque that deposits on the arterial walls. Clogging of arteries (atherosclerosis) due to cholesterol results in reduced blood flow to different body parts. In some cases, the disintegration of plaque in an artery results in a blood clot. The blood clot can obstruct the blood flow so much that it can be threatening to life. Thus, coronary heart disease is a serious side effect of a high cholesterol diet.
Symptoms associated with risky coronary heart disease are:
- Facing difficulty in breathing
- Frequent headache
- Acute chest pain
- Swelling of limbs
All these are the major symptoms of the critical heart condition of Atherosclerosis. It is advised to immediately get in touch with a specialist doctor in case you face the above-mentioned symptoms.
Strokes are a very common side effect of high cholesterol levels in the body. The brain does not receive enough blood because of the plaque build-up in the arteries. If the clot completely obstructs the blood flow to the brain, it results in a stroke. The person feels numbness in the limbs and a severe headache. Falling unconscious for some time is also observed in the cases of stroke. This condition can turn life-threatening if left unattended. It is certainly a dangerous side-effect of a high cholesterol diet. Consult a specialist doctor to prevent its recurrence.
Bad Cholesterol and Diabetes
In diabetes, a healthy balance between high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) is disturbed in the body. People with diabetes have more chances of retaining bad cholesterol in the body. The bad cholesterol adheres to their arteries and damages their walls. It makes diabetic people more prone to serious heart diseases.
High Blood Pressure
When plaque and cholesterol deposits on the arterial walls, the heart exerts extra pressure to pump the blood through them. All these deposits along with the calcium particles harden the walls of arteries. This results in high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension is a serious health concern that needs immediate medical attention. Consult a doctor and take preventive measures before the condition worsens. If the problem of high blood pressure persists for a long time, cut down on foods that are high in cholesterol.
Gallstones form when the excess of bile in the gallbladder crystallizes. These are yet another serious side effect of excessive consumption of high cholesterol foods. Usually, gallstones cause an unforeseen pain in the right abdomen along with nausea or vomiting. When a symptom of gallstones surfaces or recurs, reach out for medical help. In severe cases, cholesterol gallstones can cause inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) or the bile duct (cholangitis). The only way to prevent this side-effect is to keep a check on cholesterol in your diet. You must avoid having junk food that contains lots of cheese and butter. A high intake of cheese and butter can shoot up the level of cholesterol in your body.
Damage to nerve cells
Cholesterol is necessary for the proper functioning of the brain cells (neurons). But, excess of cholesterol can result in the damage of the nerve cells. This in effect, can lead to damage in the major parts of the brain.
You should not leave the above-mentioned side effects of high cholesterol untreated. It is wise to maintain a proactive approach to avoid these side-effects from arising. Let’s take a quick glance at the healthy habits to keep the risks of high cholesterol at bay. (Also Read: What is the Diet to Cure Gallbladder Stones? )
Smoking aggravates the bad cholesterol levels and lowers good cholesterol in the body. Therefore, cholesterol keeps building upon the arteries and obstructs the blood flow. Smoking also majorly affects the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, leading to other health risks like heart attacks.
These exercises are also known as cardio as they boost the heart’s pumping capacity. Brisk walking, jogging, cycling, running, squats, lunges, etc are the best cardiovascular exercises. Make these activities an integral part of your lifestyle and beat high cholesterol levels.
Keep diabetes under check
Go for regular check-ups of diabetes and adapt to all the dietary and lifestyle changes that lower the cholesterol levels. This will keep the LDL levels under control and prevent the aforementioned side effects of high cholesterol from occurring or getting worse.
Healthy body weight
It is important to maintain a healthy weight to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. High cholesterol diet can lead to obesity which further lowers the level of good cholesterol. Obese people are at higher risks of heart diseases as bad cholesterol keeps depositing in the arteries. Therefore, shed off those extra kilos and it will balance the level of cholesterol in your body.
Choose healthy dietary options over high cholesterol foods. Eat lots of dietary fibers, pulses, and nuts than binge upon unhealthy snacks.
Green leafy vegetables- Spinach, kale, cabbage, watercress, collard greens, beet greens
Whole grains- Barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats
Fruits rich in water content- Berries, pear, peaches, apple, melon, cantaloupe, grapes and oranges.
Healthy eating habits will bring about a significant change in the level of cholesterol in your body.
Stick to all these healthy practices to keep the cholesterol problems away from your life.
Also Read: Ghee healthy for the body- Myth or fact?