Cholesterol and its consequences

What is cholesterol? When is it good and when is it bad? What are the consequences of high cholesterol? And what can you do about it? These questions will be answered below.

Definition of cholesterol

Cholesterol is a combination of Greek words, namely chole meaning bile and stereos meaning solid. The substance got its name because gallstones consist largely of cholesterol. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that we need in our body to serve as a building block for cell membranes, vitamin D and bile.
Cholesterol is made by the body itself in the liver, adrenal glands, testes and intestines. Only a small portion is absorbed directly from food. Cholesterol falls under the lipids (fats).

Good and bad cholesterol

Lipids are transported in the blood/water by means of lipoproteins, these lipoproteins are classified according to density. With a low density they are called low density lipoproteins (LDL) and with a high density they are called high density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL transports cholesterol to all parts of the body, where cells use it. This is also called bad cholesterol. The excess cholesterol is converted into bile salt in the liver by HDL. Bile salts are necessary for fat digestion. From there, part leaves the body with the feces and another part is reabsorbed. HDL is called good cholesterol because it removes cholesterol from the body and uses it again in the liver.
Gallstones can form when your bile becomes oversaturated with cholesterol. The cholesterol then drops. Gallstones are 80% common in Western countries.

Heart and vascular disease

Cholesterol is indispensable for our body. An excess of cholesterol will accumulate on the inside of blood vessel walls. The consequence of this can be: silting (narrowing), which can ultimately lead to cardiovascular disease. Examples of cardiovascular disease are: a heart attack, a stroke or claudication (narrowing of arteries to the legs). In addition to LDL and HDL, the level of triglycerides in the blood is also important. Triglycerides means fat. If this fat content is too high, it also means a higher risk of cardiovascular problems. Triglycerides, like LDL cholesterol, attach to the walls of blood vessels. During adhesion, a yellow paste of fats (including cholesterol), lime deposits and blood residues is formed. This leads to a condition called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Other problems

Oxygen deficiency : due to the narrowing caused by cholesterol, too little oxygen reaches the blood vessels. Such a narrowing is especially serious in the coronary arteries, because these veins must supply the heart with oxygen. One or more blockages in the coronary arteries may cause pain in the heart area. This is called angina pectoris/heart cramps/chest pain.
Myocardial infarction : if the oxygen deficiency increases rapidly in a short period of time, this may be a sign of a myocardial infarction. Solutions to this are: angioplasty (widening of veins, with a balloon) or bypass surgery (diversion of oxygen). A heart attack occurs when the coronary artery suddenly becomes blocked. The piece of heart tissue that is not reached by oxygen dies very quickly. Medical help is therefore needed quickly.
Blood clot : This same kind of situation can occur in the area of the brain. A blood clot can get stuck in a narrowed vein and block it. This is called a Tia if the blockage is only short-lived. However, if it lasts for a longer period of time, it is called a cerebral infarction. Which can result in part of the brain dying.
Erection problems : 70% of men with an erection problem have high cholesterol. If this is the case after examination, cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) can be started.

What can you do about it?

  • healthy living: lots of vegetables, fruit and fish, little saturated fat, don’t smoke, exercise and try to avoid obesity.
  • functional foods: foods to which substances that are good for health have been added. For example, plant sterols, these substances inhibit the absorption of cholesterol.
  • Get enough antioxidants and vitamin B
  • Increase the consumption of oily fish (herring, sardines, tuna, salmon), olive oil and coconut oil (active against cancer and cardiovascular disease).
  • Choosing light products instead of regular: however, this is not enough.
  • Low in carbohydrates: soft drinks, ready-made items, packets and bags)
  • Few trans fats, this is found in: frying fat, coffee milk powder, cookies, pastries, pizzas, snacks, chips.
  • Use few linoleic acid-enriched products: butter
  • Few sugars

Capturing LDL

Lowering cholesterol

Inhibition of production

Raising cholesterol

avocado, nut oil, olive oil, olives, pumpkin oil, pumpkin seeds, sesame paste,
sesame seeds, shi take

cayenne pepper, grapefruit, nut oil, olive oil, olives, sambal, sesame paste, sesame seeds, orange peel, chili pepper, fruit and vegetables garlic, onions, soy beans, tarme sprouts, cocoa (chocolate with 70% or more cocoa)

artichoke, avocado, fenugreek, ginger, pumpkin oil, pumpkin seeds

stress, mental exertion, smoking, alcohol, coffee, the pill