What is Nutrition– Definition, Facts, Nutrition Calculator and Awareness
Before taking up the controversial topic “Cholesterol”, You must know the correct definition of Nutrition! Nutrition is the process of providing food i.e., macronutrients & micronutrients necessary for life and health in optimal quantities essential for
- preservation of lean body mass
- synthesis of new tissues
- maintenance of optimal fluid and electrolyte balance
- optimization of skeletal structure
- maximization of oxygen transport and its usage
- and regulation of all metabolic processes.
The above-mentioned factors will always remain same whether its general population or any athlete indulged in sports.
People nowadays are keen to know about Nutritional Facts. Hence I will say that Nutrition awareness is increasing day by day and it has improved a lot. People are also referring many books on it. Many people utilize a tool known as Nutrition Calculator. It organizes their meal for all day so that they can stay healthy and fit. But we can’t avoid that they still lack in knowledge when it comes to eating different varieties of food. Like in macronutrients and micronutrients.
So, today I will choose a topic infamously popular among people known as “Cholesterol”. This word might scare you and you may try to avoid it in your diet. First, let’s understand what actually cholesterol is along with its types.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that provides structure to all the cells in your body. Your body consists of trillions of cells . The question arises if it is present in the outermost layer of the cell i.e., cell membrane then how can it be bad for health! In fact, due to its deficiency, your cells cannot function. This in turn leads to various diseases and disorders.
Cholesterol is of utmost importance to maintain the cell permeability. By cell permeability, I mean the exchange of nutrients, gases, waste products etc. These important functions take place due to fluidity property of cell membrane handled by cholesterol.
Cholesterol isn’t entirely bad for you. In fact, your body uses it to make a few essential hormones, for example:1. a) Stress and Sex hormones crucial for dealing in stressful situations, reproduction and sexual development.
b) Aldosterone which balances the Sodium levels in your body and manages Blood pressure.
2. You must have this knowledge that cholesterol also helps in the production of bile juice in liver. It assists in critical functions such as digesting the fat, disposal of wastes etc.
3. Cholesterol makes up the Myelin sheath, a sheath that forms around nerves like those in the brain and spinal cord. This myelin sheath allows electrical impulses or messages to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells. So, your body’s responses depend upon the functioning of nerve fibers.
4. It helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (Vit A, D, E, K). This shows that the absorption of such vitamins takes place in the presence of Cholesterol.
5. Vitamin D3 synthesis under your skin happens due to presence of cholesterol. Vitamin D3 helps in calcium absorption to strengthen your bones.
This clearly indicates that Cholesterol is quite essential. But People still think that eating fat will make them fat. And it will raise their cholesterol levels leading to heart attack. But there are many other factors which are the real cause of it. Have you ever read about Glycated LDL? Do some research on it so that your hands can reach the main culprit.
You must give it a thought that besides having so many crucial functions, why it is bad!
Foods high or low in Cholesterol
Read it very attentively!
- Cholesterol in your body comes from two main sources: your liver and your diet.
- Liver in your body produces about 80 percent of the cholesterol in your blood. Now that’s where my point lies. How can I consider it bad when my own organ, Liver is busy producing it for various cells’ functioning!
- Now, the other 20 percent of it in your body depends upon the food you eat. That means humans consume a very small ratio of cholesterol through diet. Plants do not have liver so they cannot produce it. Advertisements that claims cholesterol free oils don’t justify. These oils derives from plants exclusively. And it’s obvious that there is negligible connection between plants and cholesterol! Yes, Animal derived products do contain it as they have liver but in a very negligible amount such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese.
- Remember whenever you will consume more cholesterol, your liver compensates by reducing its own production of it and removing the excess. Isn’t that interesting?
Hypercholesterolemia or raised cholesterol
The raised levels of cholesterol in your body is not taking place due to consuming fat containing products. But high level of insulin in your body or insulin resistant state of your body’s cells are the main reasons. We must know the exact reason for such occurrences.
Everyone in today’s era wants to know the following questions’ answers:
1) How to lower cholesterol Levels?
2) Should you adopt a low cholesterol diet?
3) Should you start taking its medicines?
4) Should you avoid food high in cholesterol and start eating food that lowers it ?
5) What are normal cholesterol levels?
Let me try to clear such doubts!
Three different types of cholesterol in our body are:
Among the above given types, HDL and LDL are popularly known as Good and Bad cholesterol respectively.
Good and Bad cholesterol
First, we must know if the term “good cholesterol” for HDL and “bad cholesterol” for LDL is justifiable as per their functions in our body. HDL and LDL act as Taxis which carry cholesterol and they are also called lipoproteins. The word “Lipoprotein” means fats and proteins which HDL and LDL are made up of and we can differentiate them in their densities. For instance, VLDL has another name i.e., Very Low-Density Lipoprotein, HDL is known as high density lipoprotein and LDL stands for low density lipoprotein. Each name will give a clear indication that the density of protein and fat is different in all three types of cholesterol. They have some designated work to do. But in this article, I will be focussing more on HDL and LDL as both has to transport cholesterol from one place to another.
LDL carries cholesterol from liver to your whole body’s cells so that these cells can perform various functions such as synthesizing Vit D3, conducting faster neurotransmission or impulses, bile production in liver, production of hormones etc. HDL brings the left over or extra cholesterol from your body cells back to the liver. Just because LDL is transporting cholesterol to the whole body, it is considered bad and HDL is transporting the left cholesterol back to the liver so it is addressed as good cholesterol by common man. If a taxi takes you to your office and another taxi drops you home, will you consider any of the taxis good or bad?
We know that our liver is producing cholesterol as per our body’s requirement. If the demand is more, liver will produce it more and if the demand is less then it will produce less of it. Neither its production nor its transport is under our control! So, when we talk about the normal level of cholesterol i.e., HDL and LDL within our body then you must remember that the transportation of LDL is not at all a problem. The issue actually lies with HDL level as it collects the extra cholesterol from the body’s cells to take it back to the liver. It will become a matter of concern if HDL level drops. Our aim is to increase HDL taxis as much as we can as it acts as a cleanser of inner lining of blood vessels by collecting the extra cholesterol from there.
Its level can be increased by having Saturated fats as high fat diet provides raw material to make HDL.
As per the researches, HDL production responds to regular exercise and reducing alcohol consumption.
I am attaching a table below for your reference which might help you in keeping a track of your cholesterol levels such as normal, high or low cholesterol levels.
Many people with respect to lowering their cholesterol level, start eating salads. Because salad binds with cholesterol and excrete it out of your body leading to the malabsorption of cholesterol. Let me tell you that it is of utmost importance as it has many functions which I discussed earlier. We should not overlook its importance. It will take time for people to understand the concept.
Many people in order to decrease their cholesterol level, start taking statins which is a medication. Now what are statins? Statins help in lowering the cholesterol and also known as blood thinners. The major side effect of statin is loss of energy in body because it interferes with the Co enzyme Q10 production in mitochondria which is a powerful antioxidant and responsible for the production of maximum energy. So, it’s not a good idea to consume statins. We cannot stop anyone from doing this but a doctor can. As I said earlier it will take some time for all these facts to unfold and to be realized.
Do write me a mail if you want me to explain VLDL and more about HDL and LDL cholesterol. You can also suggest any trending topic related to nutrition where my knowledge can be of a help to you.