When talking about cholesterol, reference is made to blood cholesterol, which is found in all the cells of the body. The body uses it to produce hormones, vitamin D and bile acids, which helps break down fats.
Cholesterol circulates in the bloodstream in the form of low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL). An excess of LDL can cause the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries in the form of plaque, which makes the heart work harder to circulate the blood. These plaques can break and cause blood clots that blocks blood going to the brain or heart. That is why LDL is known as bad cholesterol; while HDL, as a good cholesterol.
In general, having high cholesterol refers to having too much bad cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart disease; and unfortunately there are no symptoms that indicate you suffer from this pathology. However, cholesterol is necessary for some vital functions of the body.
At this time there are many myths regarding cholesterol; discover the main ones to avoid falling into mistakes and preserve your health.
6 Myths about cholesterol
1.Eat cholesterol increases cholesterol
It seems a reasonable assumption that is why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming up to 300 mg of cholesterol daily, with the idea ofavoiding an elevation of total cholesterol in the blood.
However, a recent study found that the consumption of cholesterol through food does not raise it alarmingly; in addition at this time it is not a public health goal to reduce the consumption of foods that contain it such as eggs and meat red
But, as prevention it is ideal to have a balanced diet and low in cholesterol, based on vegetables since it is very healthy.
2.Coffee raises cholesterol
Some recent studies have found that unfiltered coffee raised LDL cholesterol, but the good news is that filtered coffee, which is more common, does not seem to affect cholesterol.
Studies indicate that there is strong evidence that healthy adults can enjoy 3 to 5 cups of coffee per day or up to 400 milligrams per day of caffeine without worrying about increasing the risk of heart disease, cancer or premature death. There is even evidence that moderate coffee consumption actually reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and endometrial cancer.
3.Fatty foods have a lot of cholesterol
Not all fatty foods are high in cholesterol. In fact, cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin. This means that fatty vegetable foods like avocados, nuts and olive oil are naturally free of cholesterol.
In addition, such foods offer healthier eating patterns. In particular, nuts and olive oil, as they are key elements of the Mediterranean diet, very healthy for the heart.
4.Substitute saturated fats for carbohydrates lower cholesterol
Substituting saturated fats for carbohydrates causes LDL or bad cholesterol to decrease. However, it also increases triglycerides and lowers HDL or good cholesterol.
Said substitution can be especially harmful if the carbohydrates are derived from refined foods and sugars such as sodas, cookies and chips.
Therefore, for a good state of health and to improve cholesterol levels (both good and bad) it is advisable to add polyunsaturated fats constantly, instead of saturated ones.
5.Only older adults should have cholesterol tests
The National Standards for Health recommends that even healthy children be tested for their cholesterol levels. In this sense, it is suggested to do it at least once in the ages of 9 to 11 years, and again at 17 to 21 years.
For its part, an adult without risk factors should check their cholesterol level once every 4 to 6 years. However, it is a good idea to talk with the doctor if there are risk factors that require more supervision, for example, smoking, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and family history of premature heart disease.
6.Total cholesterol is the only number you need to know
The total cholesterol number is only a starting point, but it does not accurately determine your health status.
In general terms, total cholesterol beyond 200 milligrams per deciliter of blood is a warning signal. For this, it is necessary to review other complementary cholesterol parameters such as LDL, HDL and very low density lipoproteins (VLDL).
For example, a low risk of heart disease is associated with LDL below 100 milligrams per deciliter, also an HDL above 60 and triglycerides below 150 (ie, 30 milligrams per deciliter VLDL) are low risk factors. Therefore, making an analysis of each parameter will allow you to conclude how your risk factor for heart disease is.
In case of presenting alarming levels go to your doctor to start with treatment plan for the prevention of heart disease.