by Jay Chatterjee & Roshmi Raychaudhuri
Everyone has heard of cholesterol!
It's a kind of bogeyman for adults, especially
for those of us who enjoy cheese, deep fried foods, and everything
smothered in butter or mayo!
We all know it as the symptom that sets
off alarm bells.... the indicator that points directly to cardiovascular
diseases, including heart disease and stroke! If you're over
40 your doctor has probably told you to have your cholesterol
levels checked every year and to keep track of your LDL and
But what is it exactly?
Simply put, Cholesterol is one of the
fats carried in the bloodstream. The term "cholesterol" usually
alludes to "total cholesterol" (VLDL + LDL + HDL). "LDL" stands
for Low Density Lipoprotein- cholesterol and "HDL" means High
Density Lipoprotein- cholesterol. VLDL is "VERY-LDL", and Chylomicrons
are lipoproteins that are present shortly after a meal but normally
disappear in about 2 hours.
HDL is known as "good" cholesterol since
high levels of HDL reduce risk of coronary heart disease. How,
it does so still remains a bit of a mystery. But research suggests
that HDL takes excess cholesterol to the liver for excretion
in the bile.
LDL or Low Density Lipoprotein is the
health-damaging, "bad" cholesterol. When LDL oxidizes and burrows
into the walls of already damaged arteries, it clogs those arteries
"Triglycerides" is another type of fat
carried by the blood stream. These are compounds used by the
body to move fatty acids (formed when fats or oils are consumed)
through the blood. Fatty acids may be used by the body for energy
or stored (as fat) for later use. Triglycerides are known to
be bad for damaged arteries as well, and is another component
measured in a cholesterol or lipid test.
A soft, waxy substance, Cholesterol is
manufactured in the liver and is needed for normal body functions.
It is the substance around which our steroid hormones, including
estrogen and testosterone, are formed. And, it is essential
for normal functioning of bile acids and vitamin D, which helps
the body absorb bone-building calcium. Cholesterol is also required
for cell-building and is present in all parts of the body including
the nervous system, skin, muscle, liver, intestines, and heart.
So we do need it!
But excessive quantities are dangerous,
so it's important to CONTROL it. How can we do that?
If we know the extent of our vulnerability,
we know how best to protect ourselves! An annual Cholesterol
test is recommended for EVERY person (but especially so for
the over 40's), in order to evaluate the risk of heart disease.
Remember, that heart disease is the #1 killer! And that it has
been found in twenty year-olds, as well as in athletes in peak
What cholesterol scores should you have?
Ideally, total cholesterol should be 200
or less. But this does not give one the full picture. You want
to know how much of that is HDL, and how much LDL. The American
Diabetes Association's new guidelines call for LDL of 100 or
less. You should try to keep your HDL minimum in the 40 to 50
The MOST important point to remember:
High HDL means good news for your cardiovascular system. High
LDL means you're at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
Okay, so you know your Cholesterol levels!
And, suppose that they are much higher than they should be.....now
There are no short-cuts. You have to make
certain life-style changes. Would you be willing to do so in
order to gain the following benefits?
- reduce your risk of developing atherosclerosis
- cut your chances of developing heart
disease and stroke
- reduce your risk of health complications
from long-term hypertension or blood vessel damage
- enhance your blood circulation
- achieve healthy sexual functioning
But let's get one thing clear. This is
not a short-term project! Managing cholesterol is a lifelong
endeavour, and you must prepare yourself mentally to make permanent
adjustments in life style. Medication may be required so you
need to discuss this with your doctor.
And a regulated-fat, high-fiber diet,
stress-reduction, enough sleep and exercise are always necessary,
regardless of what medication you take.
I have outlined the various 'management'
Step 1: Cut out fried foods, red meat,
dairy products, and saturated fats from your diet. Treat foods
containing hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated, oils as
the enemy. These include margarine, pastries, packaged cookies,
crackers, potato chips. Take the trouble to read the labels
of packaged foods; they reveal a lot!
Step 2: Once you've reduced the bad fats
in your foods, increase the good foods that can help with cholesterol
management. Eating 20 to 35 grams of fiber every day can actually
help lower cholesterol.
More good foods with a cholesterol-lowering
- lentils and dried beans
- fish with Omega-3 oils such as salmon,
sardines, and mackerel
- flaxseed oil
- olive oil
- soy foods
- Terminalia arjuna tree bark has a
long history as a cardiac tonic and for hypercholesterolemia.
Step 3: Practice relaxation and stress-reduction
techniques. Fatigue, anger, and distress can raise your body's
adrenaline levels, causing cholesterol to rise.
Step 4: Ensure adequate sleep: everyone
needs at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. Fatigue can increase
the adrenalin levels in your body, which causes cholesterol
levels to rise. If you're not getting enough restful sleep,
you may be increasing your cholesterol level.
Step 5: Exercise regularly to clean cholesterol
out of the arteries. Lack of physical activity can greatly affect
your cholesterol levels. With exercise, you raise your metabolism
and burn calories, so you lose fat. Another bonus, exercise,
while lowering total cholesterol, increases the good HDL cholesterol
(which helps prevent plaque from forming on the walls of the
Step 6: Discuss possible mainstream medications
with your doctor (statins have proved effective in many cases).
We also believe that garlic helps clear out plaque. Terminalia
Arjuna is another cholesterol reducing herb from India, that
has really proved itself.
Take these steps and you will control
the bogey-man! It's quite simple really! Cholesterol management
is about living healthy.
Chatterjee, a Chartered Accountant and ex-Corporate Banker,
lives in Canada.
Roshmi Raychaudhuri is a business-woman residing in India. They
have shared a longstanding and keen interest in the effects
of natural therapies. On a trip to the Himalayan foothills,
they came across an ancient anti-aging and body rejuvenation
system based on stimulation of the hormonal glands. They have
put this information on their website for the world to share.
If this subject interests you please visit
to their FREE Anti-aging & Health Course at:
Copyright © Jay Chatterjee
& Roshmi Raychaudhuri. All rights reserved. Permission
is granted to print/publish the above article provided that
it is printed in its entirety, including the resource box giving
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