Cholesterol is a raging topic and almost everyone seems to have an opinion about it. But unlike the enemy it is made out to be, a top nutritionist in India can tell you that cholesterol actually plays an essential role in our health and is vital for critical body processes. And it is also true that when your blood tests show high levels of cholesterol in your body, it becomes a cause for concern. Nevertheless, there are certain myths surrounding this situation as well. Here are a few of them debunked for you.
All Kinds of Cholesterol are the Same-
Although all the cholesterol you consume is the same and can be chemically identified to that made by the liver, the difference lies in what cholesterol does to your body. Cholesterol is just a single component of a greater compound that moves around in your blood. Other components that make up this compound are special proteins also known as ‘lipoproteins’ and fats. This is further classified into two categories: HDL that is High Density Lipoprotein (good cholesterol) which does away with some of the plaque in the arteries and moves cholesterol back to the liver. LDL, the second category that is Low Density Lipoprotein, is known as bad cholesterol. It builds up in arteries and carries cholesterol from the liver.
If Hdl (Good Cholesterol) is High Enough, It Balances Bad Cholesterol-
It has been found that low ‘good cholesterol’ is a major risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. However whether or not increasing good cholesterol can decrease your risk of a heart attack or stroke is still unclear. Incorporate healthy lifestyle choices in everyday living. This includes focusing on a heart healthy diet and staying away from smoking. All said and done, having a higher level of HDL does not benefit to a great extent if other risk factors are also present.
Eating Cholesterol Enhances Bad Cholesterol-
Your liver makes most of the cholesterol present in your body so what you eat does not directly affect your cholesterol levels. This is why cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver because that is where this substance is generated from. However, you need to know that what you eat still has an impact on how much cholesterol is produced by your liver. After you consume a cholesterol-rich meal, your liver does not have to make as much to make up for it.
The Lower your Cholesterol the Better-
Anything in extreme is bad. The same goes for matters related to your body and wellness as well. A balance almost always needs to be maintained. Low cholesterol isn’t good for you. In fact, individuals, who have low levels of cholesterol, come with a higher risk of death occurring due to non-heart-related problems. This includes certain kinds of cancers and other conditions. While a high level of LDL in the blood enhances the risk of plaque formation inside the arteries and enhances the chances of a heart attack, it does not mean that having a low LDL level decreases your risk of having one. Merely looking at the amount of cholesterol is not enough; you need to take into account the type and size of the LDL particle too.
It is Your Diet that Causes Cholesterol-
Since you now know that it is your liver that produces cholesterol, what you actually consume has little effect on the cholesterol levels in your body. Having said that, it is your genes that decide the amount of cholesterol produced and whether your liver can manage that amount of cholesterol or not. Some people have genetic familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition where cholesterol levels are higher than normal levels and there is resistance to lowering cholesterol even with exercise and proper nutrition.
Cholesterol is one of the most condemned, hard to decipher and controversial components in our bodies as well as diets. Hopefully, these have helped debunk a few myths and thrown light onto cholesterol, one of the most misunderstood substances in our body.