Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that forms in your liver. It plays a vital role in keeping your cells healthy and flexible. Cholesterol is also present in some of the foods we eat, most commonly: animal fats.
High cholesterol can increase the chances of heart attack or stroke. It is, thus, important to understand whether these risks can be avoided by drinking water.
W1210ater plays a significant role in keeping our body healthy. Among many health benefits, water can also impact on lowering your cholesterol levels.
Let’s find out how!
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Effects of High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a silent killer. Unless you have a blood test itself, you won’t feel its effects until it’s too late. Also, it is important to understand that not all cholesterol is bad for you. Your body requires a certain level of cholesterol to function effectively. It not only helps in food digestion but also plays a vital role in the production of some hormones.
Before we get to understanding the effects of high cholesterol, we will need to first understand cholesterol itself. There are two types of cholesterol in your body: Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL). Both of these, in moderation, is very important for maintaining proper body function. Lipoproteins carry cholesterol, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins to various body parts.
In excess, LDLs can cause your arteries to clog up. High HDLs, on the other hand, are essential in transporting good cholesterol throughout your body. The reason water is so important is that this transportation simply cannot happen without water. These HDLs use water to deliver cholesterol, not just to the necessary body parts but also back to the liver to be removed.
How much Cholesterol is Healthy?
The recommended level of cholesterol depends on age.
Cholesterol Level for Adults
For an adult, the total cholesterol level should be under 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). A value that is between 200 to 239 mg/dL should be concerning as it is a borderline high value. A level above 240 mg/dL should be considered as a high cholesterol value.
For LDL levels, they should be under 100 mg/dL. A value between 100 to 129 mg/dL should still raise no alarms unless the person is prone to any heart diseases. Similarly, a value between 130 to 159 mg/dL falls at borderline high, whereas a value between 160 to 189 mg/dL is considered to be high. Anything above that is very high and dangerous for your health.
For HDL levels, the desired level should be over 60 mg/dL or more. A value between 41 to 59 mg/dL is considered to be borderline low, whereas anything under 40 mg/dL should be regarded as alarming.
Cholesterol Level for Children
For children, the total cholesterol level should be under 170 mg/dL. A value between 170 to 199 mg/dL is considered to be borderline high, whereas anything over 200 mg/dL is too high.
The LDL levels should be strictly kept under 110 mg/dL. Any value over 130 mg/dL should be considered to be too high, while a value between 110 to 129 mg/dL should be considered borderline high.
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How Does Water Affect Cholesterol?
Cholesterol increases the level of acidity in your body. Drinking water will help dilute this acidity. Similarly, there are many minerals in your water supply that can help heal your acidity quicker. These minerals include calcium and magnesium, which are required by your cells to function properly.
With age, there is an increased risk of heart attacks. This happens as your artery walls thicken as a result of high cholesterol. This condition is also known as arteriosclerosis. The blood flow can, thus, become slowed down and even constricted completely. By drinking more water, you can reduce the thickness of your blood. This thinning will allow for effective pumping throughout. Furthermore, it will enable your circulation, metabolism to function smoothly and reduce any health risks.
How to Improve your Cholesterol?
Drinking water can be highly beneficial in maintaining your cholesterol levels. However, in order to stay healthy, there are a couple of things you can do.
Improve your Diet
Since some amount of cholesterol is contributed by what we eat, we will need to moderate our diet to maintain it accordingly. First of all, you should reduce the saturated fats that you intake. These fats are primarily found in red meat or full-fat dairy products. Secondly, you can eliminate trans fats from your diet. Trans fats are usually found in margarine or store-bought cookies, cakes, and crackers.
As you reduce these fats from your diets, you should also ensure that you ingest healthy fats. These can include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, walnuts, flaxseeds, and so on. Similarly, it would help if you increase your intake of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps your body reduce the absorption of cholesterol.
Lastly, whey protein can also be an excellent addition to lowering your LDL levels as well as your total cholesterol. This protein can be found primarily in dairy products.
Exercise is the best way to keep yourself healthy. This is because when you exercise the level of HDL or the good cholesterol, in your body increases. It is always recommended to get at least 30 mins of exercise for a minimum of five days a week. This exercise can be walking, running, riding a bike, or picking up a sport.
Avoid Smoking and Drinking
Smoking and drinking can be injurious to health. In fact, the impact is such that within just 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your blood pressure and heart rate will begin to improve. Within a year of giving up smoking, your likelihood of getting heart disease is reduced nearly by half that of a smoker.
High alcohol usage can make you more susceptible to high blood pressure, heart failure, or strokes. The moderate use of alcohol might be linked with increasing HDL levels. However, this claim has not been substantiated with enough research.
Watch your Weight
Obesity can be a significant contributor to high cholesterol. This is why you need to assess your food intake. Even small bad habits tend to add up. Try to get ahead of your cravings by replacing your junk food with healthier snack alternatives. Similarly, try to incorporate more physical activity throughout your day. This can be something as small as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, but it will build better habits.
Cholesterol is actually essential for our regular body function. However, high cholesterol has been linked to many heart diseases. Drinking water can help reduce some of its effects. However, for people with very high cholesterol, this might not be enough. There will need to be some changes in your lifestyle choices. These changes can be in your diet or physical activity to make sure you can keep your heart healthy.