According to popular notions, cholesterol in the body is synonymous with heart ailments and conditions. However, that is not the case in the true sense of the term. On the contrary, the presence of cholesterol in the body is normal, at the correct value, and even beneficial.
Cholesterol is present in every body cell and helps in digestion, synthesising vitamin D and producing hormones. The human body can produce cholesterol but also absorb it from food.
Using the smart scale from HealthifyPRO 2.0, measuring the percentage of what constitutes your body mass becomes possible. As the leading cause of high cholesterol is obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle, the smart scale makes it easier for highly qualified trainers and nutritionists from HealthifyPRO 2.0 to customise a fitness and diet plan based on your needs. As a result, it can help you get your cholesterol levels under control and lead a healthy life.
There are two types of cholesterol, HDL or high-density lipoproteins and LDL or low-density lipoproteins.
When cholesterol concentration is higher than normal, it is a cause of concern. There are multiple ways to balance cholesterol levels and consuming fish is one such method. Regular consumption of fish is linked to reduced occurrence of heart diseases and depression.
This article discusses cholesterol and how eating fish can help balance high cholesterol levels. For vegetarians, HealthifyPRO 2.0 has certified nutritionists that can provide the best plant-based alternatives to fish.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance found in the body. It is oily in nature and does not mix with the blood. Instead, it is found in the body in lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are water-soluble protein that combines with fats to help transport them using the bloodstream.
There are two types of lipoproteins.
- LDL or low-density lipoprotein, which is commonly called “bad cholesterol.”
- and HDL or high-density lipoprotein, commonly called “good cholesterol.”
- A cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL (milligram per decilitre) is the ideal reading for a healthy adult.
- A reading between 200-239 mg/dL is considered borderline high, and a reading above 240 mg/dL is considered high.
- Ideally, LDL levels should be less than 100 mg/dL, and HDL levels must be 60 mg/dL or higher.
- It is considered high cholesterol when LDL increases to 160 mg/dL.
Health problems caused by high cholesterol
High cholesterol levels lead to plaque deposits around the arteries, narrowing the lumen (the opening of blood vessels) and raising blood pressure, thereby leading to health problems like hypertension.
There could also be a chance of the plaque rupturing and leading to the formation of blood clots. A large enough blood clot can completely stop the flow of blood.
If the blockage is in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, it can cause chest pain or a heart attack. In addition, the accumulation of plaque in other blood vessels can lead to problems such as CAD (Coronary Artery Disease, carotid, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
Causes of High Cholesterol
The intake of different types of fats, its quality and quantity all together influences cholesterol levels. The surest way to manage these levels is by reducing the intake of saturated fats, and transfats in the diet. Based on the type of fat, it is always best to categorise food products to get a clear picture of what to avoid.
- Cholesterol-containing foods are derived from animals and include meat and cheese.
- Saturated fats are in baked food, chocolates, dairy and deep-fried food
- Trans fats occur in fried and processed foods.
Excess weight or obesity leads to higher LDL levels in the blood. Another factor that can contribute to higher cholesterol levels in the blood is genetics. People who inherit high cholesterol have incredibly high levels of LDL.
Conditions like diabetes, liver issues, PCOS, pregnancy, underactive thyroid gland and certain drugs may also increase cholesterol levels.
Eating fish to manage cholesterol levels
Fish do not have saturated fats, making them easily soluble for people with high cholesterol. The omega-3 found in oily fish help break down cholesterol and prevent plaque deposition along the lining of the arteries.
The AHA recommends that people with high cholesterol include 8 ounces (226 grams) of seafood and fish in a non-fried form. They state that consuming 1 serving per week of fish like salmon is the healthiest. The wild-caught fish are considered more nutritious than other fish.
Fish is also loaded with protein and can aid in the weight loss journey. The best fish to eat are lean fish like salmon and mackerel. Alternatives to the expensive foreign fish are Rohu, Surmai, Katla and Hilsa.
The nutritional value of these fish is as follows:
Amount per serving
- Calories- 166
- Total fat- 6.72g
- Cholesterol- 51mg
- Total Carbohydrate- 0g
- Protein- 24.52g
Amount Per Serving
- Calories- 95
- Total fat- 5.31g
- Cholesterol- 36mg
- Total Carbohydrate- 0g
- Protein- 10.95g
Amount per serving
- Calories: 97
- Protein (gm): 17
- Carbohydrates (gm): 4
- Fat (gm): 1
Amount Per Serving
- Calories- 199
- Total fat- 8.9g
- Total Carbohydrate- 3.6g
- Protein- 25.3g
Amount per serving
- Calories: 111
- Fat: 2 g
- Carbs: 3 g
- Protein: 19 g
Amount per serving
- Calories- 1088
- Fat- 19.4g
- Carbohydrate- 0g
- Protein- 21.8g
Fish is also rich in vitamins D, B12 and B6. These vitamins are essential for heart health and prevent abnormal heart rhythms. In addition, omega 3 in the fish helps prevent blood clots in vessels and helps reduce high blood pressure. It also lowers the risk of brain damage and dementia.
What fish to avoid?
Seafoods are no doubt very good for high cholesterol, but one must be aware that certain seafoods like oysters, lobsters, crabs and shrimps may cause high cholesterol if consumed regularly or in higher amounts than recommended.
Another seafood to avoid is squid. One serving of squid gives much higher cholesterol than the recommended daily cholesterol intake.
Squid is the most harmful seafood for people with high cholesterol levels. A single serving provides 169% (509 grams) of cholesterol levels higher than the daily recommended value. Therefore, it raises LDL levels significantly. As a result, it increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and lipid levels in the blood.
Vegetarian Alternatives to Fish
Some alternative foods for vegetarians can include foods like apples and pears. Oatmeal is also said to be very beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels. Due to the high fibre content found in oatmeal, it helps in reducing cholesterol levels.
You can also try beans and legumes as other foods. These foods raise HDL and lower LDL levels, making them suitable for managing cholesterol. However, vegetarian diets also put you at risk of iron deficiency, which you can from specific beans like white beans and kidney beans.
Vegetarian diets also lack vitamin B12, for which NIH recommends consuming supplements.
HealthifyPRO 2.0 offers unlimited consultations with in-house nutritionists who can help create a user diet plan, customising based on allergies and other concerns like diabetes or hypertension.
The diet plans are customised to facilitate the lifestyle without causing significant interference and use an easy-to-implement approach to remedy health conditions like high cholesterol.
The HealthifyMe Note
High levels of cholesterol are a cause of concern for everyone. It requires medical intervention to diagnose and work on managing it. It is important to regularly check your blood parameters for high cholesterol after the age of 20 to avoid any complications. Consumption of foods high in trans fat and saturated fats combined with a sedentary lifestyle leads to high cholesterol levels. This can be managed by mindful eating and regular exercise under the supervision of qualified experts.
Consuming fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids helps break down the plaque deposits formed in the blood vessels thereby, lowers the cholesterol levels and improves heart health. Add at least 1 serving of fish per week as a part of a heart-healthy diet that can help reduce the risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrest and the most common type of stroke (ischemic).
Owing to the majority’s current lifestyle patterns, high cholesterol levels have become extremely common. In addition, almost all packaged foods are full of trans and saturated fats that raise LDL levels. It leads to potential blockage of blood vessels or even cardiac arrest. Therefore, it is always best to consult doctors and nutritionists when changing diets.
The specialists can factor in your current nutrition levels and advise changes that will not cause problems like potential overconsumption or underconsumption of essential vitamins and minerals.
Fish consumption can help significantly control and manage these cholesterol levels as fish is rich in protein and omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for high cholesterol as it helps clean out the plaque from arteries and improve heart health. However, it is essential to note that fish also contain cholesterol and must be consumed based on the recommendations and advice of nutritionists regarding the frequency and portion size.
HealthifyPRO 2.0 offers consultations with highly qualified nutritionists and fitness coaches who will make these plans and help bring few changes to the lifestyle.
They work in tandem with you to avoid or remedy health complications caused or influenced by diet and lifestyle, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. It also offers metabolic panel testing periodically to help gauge the proper nutrition and change your body’s needs.
HealthifyPRO 2.0 controls such conditions naturally through diet and exercise without dependence on heavy medication, bringing an overall enriching experience to the user.