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Cholesterol findings

Cholesterol is a fat (lipid), which is produced by the liver and is crucial for the normal functioning of the body. But excess of it can cause various heart-related ailments. So, here’s a lowdown on cholesterol.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 19, 2010 00:55 IST
Hindustan Times
cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat (lipid), which is produced by the liver and is crucial for the normal functioning of the body. But excess of it can cause various heart-related ailments. So, here’s a lowdown on cholesterol.

Facts
LDL or low density lipoproteins signify “bad” cholesterol while HDL or high density lipoproteins stand for good cholesterol.

Risk of heart disease will be lower if HDL accounts for more than 25 per cent of your total cholesterol.

Bad fats are saturated fats, found mainly in animal products such as red meat, butter, and full-fat cheese and trans-fat (fats that have been solidified by the process of hydrogenation) like ghee.

Monosaturated fats (is considered to be the healthiest type of general fat) are good and found in olive oil. Fish and other foods containing omega-3 fatty acids can also increase HDL levels.

HDL levels can be increased by doing aerobic exercises, quitting smoking, losing kilos, and taking a balanced diet.

Myths
If one is thin and young, you cannot have high cholesterol — this isn’t true as high cholesterol can be caused by genetic conditions like familial hyperlipidemia, too.

All cholesterol is bad for health — no, some cholesterol is needed for body functions.

Tips to lower cholesterol
Avoid eating white bread; opt for brown bread instead.
Switch to monounsaturated oils like almond, peanut, olive and canola oil.
Walnuts and almonds can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts help keep blood vessels healthy and elastic.
—Chetna Joshi bambroo

With inputs from Dr Anup Dhir, Apollo Hospitals