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Get to Know About Cholesterol  

By: Freddi S Hendrarto
Nutritionist of Andrawina Co.


Well, it’s very common in our life that we hear our relatives or family had stroke attack or heart attack. Well I don’t want to say that these issues are ordinary ones, but they still common cases that need our attention. Mainly those cases are caused by high cholesterol level in blood.

What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy fat like substance. It means that cholesterol belong to fat or lipid group. Our body is made up from lipid subtances, it means that cholesterol also presents in our body tissues. But cholesterols only exist in animal tissues, not in plant tissues. It means that all plant-product are free of cholesterols (including cooking oil or margarine made from plant oil).

Mainly cholesterols present in our cells membran structure and body-cells structure (such as brain cells, nervous cells, skin cells, liver cells, heart cells and our intestine cells). Cholesterols also play vital roles in hormonal system, where the sex-hormones are made up from cholesterols. So, it’s an obvious that cholesterol aren’t always deal with diseases. But they also support our body function.

Why Should I be Concerned About Cholesterols?

Cholesterols are made in our liver. Body produces cholesterols from food we eat such as meat and dairy products. If we eat a lot of them, then our body will produces cholesterol beyond its requirement. This excess of cholesterol will be distribute to our body tissues via blood cell and LDL. If there are so many excess of cholesterol in your liver, soon the arteries will be fulfilled with LDL cholesterol. In Some point, these cholesterol would then precipitated in arteries and create clog that would block arteries.

These clogs would cause blood vessels narrowing or Arteriosclerosis. If this clog happen to be so big, then it will totally block the artery and blood will stop flowing into body tissues. If the arteriosclesrosis is happen to be at brain arteries then this would caused Stroke. And if it is in heart arteries it would cause heart attack or CHDs.

Well these disease are well known for their fatality. So, it’s already an answer why we should begin to consider cholesterol as our top-list health issues.

I heard that CHDs are multiple factor disease not by cholesterol only?

Yes. It’s true. The CHDs are caused by many factors, such as:

·High LDL Level

·Low HDL Level

·Smoking

·High Blood Pressure

·Lack of Exercise

·Diabets

·Obesity

·Age

· Sex

· Family History of CHDs

As you can see, those factor are associated with each other. People with obesity, tend to have high blood pressure, low exercise activity, high LDL level, low HDL level and had potency for developing diabets. High level of cholesterol could develop in increase of blood pressure. People with obesity usually eat a lot of high cholesterol food and tend to develop high cholesterol level in their blood. They’re deal with cholesterol. So it’s not an excuse anymore for us.

Well, I heard that not all cholesterols is bad. Is it True?

There are many kind of cholesterols. Mostly people divided them into 2 type. The Good Cholesterols or the HDL and the bad cholesterols or the LDL.

  • HDL Cholesterols or High Density Lipoproteins

The HDL known as good cholesterols because they “pick-up” cholesterol in our blood into liver, where they will be recycle. So the HDL would decrease the cholesterol level in our blood. High HDL level is associated with low risk of CHDs and other degenerative diseases.

  • LDL Cholesterols or Low Density Lipoproteins

Contrary with HDL, the LDL carry and distribute cholesterol from liver to our blood artery and body tissues. High LDL level means that more cholesterols present in our blood and would increase the risk for CHDs and other degenerative diseases.

Beside the HDL and LDL, there are also Triglyceride (TC). Triglyceride is also fat substances that has same “bad effect” like LDL if present in upper limit level. All excess of calories, sugar and alcohol from food will be transformed into triglyceride and stored as fat in your body cells. The high Triglyceride level in your blood indicate the increase of CHDs risk.

So, choose for HDL and lower your LDL and TC.

How do I Know I Have High Cholesterol?

You should take routine medical check up in order to get the exact LDL and HDL level in your blood. The lab will also check your Total Cholesterol (LDL+HDL) and the Triglyceride level. Then from your medical check up results, check this following items:

  1. Total Cholesterol
    • Normal <200>
    • Borderline High 200-239 mg/dL
    • HIGH >240 mg/dL
  2. Triglyceride
    • Normal <150>
    • Borderline High 150-199 mg/dL
    • HIGH 200-499 mg/dL
    • VERY HIGH >500 mg/dL
  1. LDL Cholesterol
    • Normal <100>
    • Borderline High 100-129 mg/dL
    • Optimum 130-159 mg/dL
    • HIGH 160-189 mg/dL
    • VERY HIGH >190 mg/dL
  1. HDL Cholesterol
    • Normal >60 mg/dL
    • Low (High Risk) <40>

Here are some foods with their cholesterol level:

Eggs ( 1 nos) 211,5 mg

Cream cheese (50g) 55 mg

Cheddar cheese (1 slice) 29,4 mg

Butter (1 spoon) 30,5 mg

Lamb Meat (50gr) 33 mg

T-Bone Steak (50gr) 30 mg

Fried Chicken (50gr) 44,5 mg

Kidney, beef (50gr) 358 mg

Liver, beef (50gr) 190.5 mg

Chocolate Ice Cream (1/2 cup) 22,4 mg

Sponge cake (50 gr) 8,0 mg

Mixed Vegetables Raw(50gr) 0 mg

Fresh Fruit Salad (50gr) 0 mg

Quaker Oats (1/2 cup) 0 mg

Fried Tempeh (1 slice) 0 mg

Olive & corn oil (5 gr) 0 mg

Soya (30 gr) 0 mg

As you can see, foods from plant origin has zero cholesterol level and all food from animal origin will have cholesterols content. By products such as liver, kidney and brain have higher choleterol level compare with meat. So you should avoid these by products if you had high cholesterol level. Besides that, you shouldn’t eat meats, dairy products and seafoods too often.

Naturally, our body doesn’t need cholesterols from foods. Our liver could produce enough cholesterols in order to meet its requirement. Saturated fat from foods will be changed into cholesterol by our liver. Although a diet high in saturated fat is the main cause of high blood cholesterol levels, eating foods high in cholesterol can also raise blood cholesterol levels. And usually the effect is twice as bad, because foods high in cholesterol are usually ALSO high in saturated fat.

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