How to Lower Cholesterol Levels

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance essential for human life. It plays a role in forming the membrane of all body cells. There’s a lot of cholesterol in nerve tissues, where it converts into various hormones. Cholesterol is primarily produced in the human body, mainly in the liver. However, humans also consume cholesterol from food, often in large amounts. The primary source of this cholesterol is fatty animal products. If there are large amounts of these products in the diet, blood cholesterol levels increase, turning from a necessary friend to a lethal enemy.

What are Lipoproteins?
Not all blood cholesterol is equally dangerous: people sometimes talk about “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Chemically, cholesterol is the same, but it exists in the blood in different groups with other fatty and protein substances—these groups are called lipoproteins. Low-density lipoproteins transport cholesterol from the liver to peripheral tissues, contributing to its deposition in tissues. If these particles are too numerous or undergo constant breakdown, they start growing on the walls of blood vessels, leading to their narrowing. Thus, low-density lipoproteins can be labeled as “bad.”

Negative Impact of High Cholesterol Levels:

While cholesterol is essential for the body, its accumulation in artery walls can lead to the development of heart and blood vessel diseases like coronary heart disease and stroke. Although cholesterol is necessary for the body, its accumulation in the arteries can lead to the formation of fatty plaques (atherosclerosis), which can cause artery narrowing and impede blood flow.

Positive Impact of Lipoproteins:
It’s worth noting that there are types of lipoproteins called “high-density lipoproteins,” which work to remove excess cholesterol from artery walls, reducing the accumulation of fatty plaques and thus reducing the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases.

Contributing Factors to High Cholesterol and Heart Disease Risk:
In addition to high cholesterol levels, several factors increase the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases, including high blood pressure and smoking. These factors can interact with each other to increase the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases.

Why Is High Cholesterol Considered Dangerous?

High cholesterol is considered a serious factor contributing to the development of artery diseases and serious heart and blood vessel diseases. Individuals over the age of twenty should have a cholesterol level test, known as a lipid profile, to check it. If cholesterol levels are high, it is considered dangerous as a factor contributing to the development of atherosclerosis and serious heart and blood vessel diseases.

How Can Cholesterol Levels Be Reduced?
Cholesterol levels in the blood can be reduced by lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, and improving nutrition.

Tips for Reducing Fat Consumption:

  • Reduce consumption of animal fats such as fatty meats, eggs, processed products, cooking butter, fatty dairy products, fatty cheese, and fatty pastries.
  • Replace most animal fats with vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, olive oil, and corn oil.
  • Consume low-fat dairy products and moderate amounts of low-fat cheese (with fat content not exceeding 30%).
  • Consume lean meats and pastries prepared using vegetable oils or soft butter.
  • Increase fish consumption, especially fatty fish.

Dietary Aids:
Consume foods containing soluble fiber such as oats, apples, apricots, various fruits, and vegetables.
Consume legumes such as beans and peas.
Avoid frying and use boiling, steaming, and baking.
Use cooking utensils that do not require adding fats.

By choosing a healthy lifestyle and maintaining appropriate cholesterol levels, the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases can be significantly reduced. Awareness of contributing factors and taking appropriate preventive measures can help promote heart health.

If desired results are not achieved after 6-8 weeks of following the diet, doctors may suggest using medications to lower cholesterol levels, such as statins, which reduce cholesterol levels in the blood and decrease the risks of heart and blood vessel diseases.