Maintain a Healthy Cholesterol Level
In conjunction with World Heart Day at 29th September, let us understand more about our heart and keep it healthy. Do you know that every day your heart beat around 100,000 times to keep blood moving around the body? Every part of the body needs a supply of blood to get sufficient of oxygen and nutrients to maintain normal function.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally. Over 17.5 million people die from cardiovascular disease every year. Some of the modifiable risk factors of CVD include unhealthy blood lipid profile, unhealthy diet intake, physical inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, obesity and diabetes. Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing these modifiable behavioral risk factors.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. When talking about cholesterol, most of the people usually think it is a “bad” guy and try to avoid it. However, our body needs cholesterol to maintain body function. For examples, cholesterol helps to make hormones, build cells, and digestion. The only problem is when it becomes too much and accumulate in the body over the time; it will increase the risk of cholesterol oxidation and become plaque. Cholesterol comes from two sources. Human liver produces approximately 70% of the cholesterol used by the body, and the other 30% comes from the diet. We usually get the dietary cholesterol from meat, poultry and dairy products which are high in saturated and trans-fat.
There are several heart protection nutrients like red yeast rice, fish oil and coenzyme Q10 which found to be having a relationship with cholesterol.
The relationship between red yeast rice and cholesterol level
Red yeast rice is a traditional Chinese herb extracted from the fermentation of a yeast known as Monascus purpureus and the rice. The first use of red yeast rice was documented in 800 A.D., during the Tang Dynasty as a food and medical remedy. Later, it was found out that red yeast rice could help to lower blood lipid levels. The active component of red yeast rice is known as monacolin K which known to inhibit cholesterol synthesis process in the liver. It provides the similar effect like statin medication, but it is a more natural way to reduce cholesterol level compared to conventional statin medications. Hence, red yeast rice can be an alternative to those who are not ready or unable to take statin medication in managing their blood cholesterol level.
The relationship between fish oil and cholesterol level
Omega-3 fatty acid is an essential fatty acid, which cannot be produced by the body and must obtain from the diet. Fish oil contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In a clinical study, it was found that EPA and DHA can lower the risk of heart diseases, such as a heart attack, by 18%. Fish oil helps to reduce the synthesis of triglycerides, and increasing the very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol and chylomicron clearance from the body. This will help to reduce the LDL-cholesterol level in the body by carrying out them from the body. Besides, it also provides anti-inflammation function which further reduces the risk of CVDs.
The relationship between coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and cholesterol level
CoQ10 is a fat-soluble substance which can be produced naturally by the body. It is used by the body cells to generate energy and function as a powerful antioxidant. CoQ10 benefits the heart by making the heart’s muscle cells more efficient at producing and using energy. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to benefit for heart health by protecting the LDL cholesterol from oxidation. The reduced form of CoQ10 is much more efficient in inhibiting LDL oxidation than other antioxidants such as lycopene, β-carotene, or α-tocopherol. By preventing LDL cholesterol from oxidizing in the blood vessel, it can reduce the risk of arteriosclerotic and blood clot.
Take good care of your heart by eating sufficient of heart protection nutrients, exercising regularly and maintaining healthy lifestyle starting from this moment for a healthy heart.
- World Health Organization (WHO). 2017. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). [Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/ , 1 August 2017
- American Heart Association. 2017. About Cholesterol. [Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/About-Cholesterol_UCM_001220_Article.jsp#.WX_rioSGPIU , 1 August 2017
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- Weitz, D., Weintraub, H., Fisher, E., & Schwartzbard, A. Z. (2010). Fish oil for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Cardiology in review, 18(5), 258.
- Delgado-Lista, J., Perez-Martinez, P., Lopez-Miranda, J., & Perez-Jimenez, F. (2012). Long chain omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: a systematic review. British Journal of Nutrition, 107(S2), S201-S213.
- Stocker, R., Bowry, V. W., & Frei, B. (1991). Ubiquinol-10 protects human low density lipoprotein more efficiently against lipid peroxidation than does alpha-tocopherol. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 88(5), 1646-1650.