It has been believed since long that for a healthy heart, one needs to avoid high cholesterol food. In fact cholesterol has always been made the scapegoat for all heart related diseases. Health freaks have diligently reduced all cholesterol rich foods from their diet. There are others who have opted to take drugs that lowers cholesterol. Is it really the villain as portrayed?
Let us have a look at the myths surrounding cholesterol:
Myth: Cholesterol is not good
Cholesterol, an organic molecule, is must for several bodily processes. Human liver produces around three-quarters or even more of body's cholesterol. Most of the healthy foods are rich in this. In fact it regulates protein avenues that are involved in cell signaling as well as regulates other cellular processes.
It plays a major part within the cell membranes as it interacts with proteins inside the cells making it highly vital. Without enough amount of cholesterol the digestive system is also adversely affected.
The brain contains 25 percent of this compound. It is vital for the connection between neurons that allows to form memories, learn new things and most importantly allows to think.
Myth: Food intake causes high cholesterol
This is not true at all. Heredity or genetics is considered the biggest criterion for having cholesterol. Your liver should be strong enough to regulate it to a healthy level. You should never feel guilty about having nutritious cholesterol-rich foods until and unless prescribed otherwise by the physician. Studies have proved that only 20% comes from diet.
Myth: The level should be same for all
There is no hard and fast rule that these levels should be less or more than prescribed and it does not indicate about risk of having heart disease. It is the small and not the large LDL particles that are harmful. The small LDL particles go through the lining of arteries. Inflammation and damages happen due to oxidation.
HDL ratio: This ratio does play a role in identifying the risk factor of having heart disease. Divide that level by the total cholesterol and it should be ideally above 24%.
Triglyceride/HDL ratios: The HDL and triglycerides should be below 2%.
Myth: Children cannot suffer from high levels of Cholesterol
This is not true. If the liver is not able to remove excess cholesterol from the body then the child will suffer from high cholesterol levels. Lifestyle changes and low sugar intake will help to control or reduce the level. Exercise should be included and avoid consumption of processed foods to restore healthy levels.
Myth: Substitute Margarine for Butter
Butter is a highly nourishing and nutritious fat that has certain benefits for your health. Few studies have indicated that swapping margarine for butter is not what a healthy heart needs. Saturated fats are known to raise HDL cholesterol. It might increase LDL also. Margarine consists of synthetic trans fat that increases both small and dense LDL.
Cholesterol is an essential ingredient that is processed and recycled by liver. It is the precursor for estrogen and testosterone hormones. So before you shun various food items find out the cholesterol level in details like LDL or HDL percentages. Consult with the doctor before cutting down or including certain food items in your diet.