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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Cholestrol - Good & Bad

Today among busy professionals, these two acronyms are well known. One is called BAD and the other is called GOOD cholesterol. In my last three years with clients, I have observed that fairly active individuals are also suffering from high total cholesterol. And this scares them, as our medical literature, internet and media has equated this with narrowing arteries, hence heart attack, strokes and so on.

Let me share some simple and powerful insight on this three letter acronym.

Cholesterol is an essential life sustaining chemical composition, produced by liver for healthy living. What we are afraid of is the dietary cholesterol, which enters our system through various food groups – dairy products, fish, poultry, meat etc. As density of protein reduces in cholesterol, it changes from High to Low Density Lipoprotein.

Liver has two important functions – first is the production of cholesterol and second is the regulation/elimination of cholesterol in blood stream. Dietary cholesterol is absorbed through small intestine into blood stream and then regulated/removed by LDL receptors in liver.

Liver capacity to regulate cholesterol is impacted by two important factors: first is the body weight, and second is the quantity intake of dietary cholesterol. Higher is the body weight (BMI>24), lower is the ability of liver to eliminate LDL from blood stream. If intake of dietary cholesterol is more than 50% of rate of cholesterol synthesis in our body, rate of clearance of cholesterol decreases drastically in liver.

It has been shown by research that decreasing dietary cholesterol intake quickly resumes the efficiency of liver in LDL management.

Reducing blood cholesterol through medication is like playing with the cement/sand ratio in construction of each and every membrane of our body cell. Unless you have a genetic predisposition to an alarmingly high cholesterol levels, use of such medications should be highly discouraged. Side effects are far greater than adopting simple lifestyle changes, which are sure to give good results.

Adopt & enjoy balanced diet of 50% whole grain based carbohydrates, 30% of assorted vegetables | seasonal fruits | beans | legumes | nuts and remaining from dairy, poultry and other meat groups.

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