Cholesterol is an important component of the body, a lipid (fat), that is mainly produced by the liver. It can also be found in cells (externally) and some specific categories of food such as, dairy, meat etc. The body requires cholesterol in the formation of Vitamin D, certain hormones and building cellular walls hence, making it vital for normal body function.
The liver produces about 1,000 milligrams of cholesterol a day, and you probably consume about 150 to 250 milligrams in the foods you eat. (Mary L. Gavin, 2009)
Cholesterol levels among US adults today are generally higher than in all other industrial nations. During the 1990s there was some concern about cholesterol levels in American children. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), nearly 1 in every 10 children/adolescents in the USA has elevated total cholesterol levels; and this was after concentrations had dropped over a 20-year period. (Nordqvist, 2009)
TYPES OF CHOLESTROL
Cholesterol cannot travel alone intro our blood stream hence, they are carried by molecules called lipoproteins. The major types of lipoproteins are:
LDL (low density lipoprotein)
Often referred as bad cholesterol High density of LDL can cause arterial and heart diseases.
HDL (high density lipoprotein)
Opposite to LDL, HDL is referred to as good cholesterol. It helps in the removal of cholesterol from cells and carries it back to the liver where it is broken down or excreted from the body.
NORMAL CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
The amount of cholesterol in human blood can vary from 3.6 mmol/liter to 7.8 mmol/liter. The National Health Service (NHS), UK, says that any reading over 6 mmol/liter is high, and will significantly raise the risk of arterial disease. The UK Department of Health recommends a target cholesterol level of under 5 mmol/liter. Unfortunately, two-thirds of all UK adults have a total cholesterol level of at least five (average men 5.5, average women 5.6). (Nordqvist, 2009)
WHAT CAUSES HIGH CHOLESTROL
Some of the major factors of high cholesterol are:
CERTAIN TYPES OF FOODS
Most foods contain cholesterol such as, meat, dairy, poultry etc. though, these foods do not tamper with the cholesterol levels in a profound manner. However, foods that are high in saturated fat greatly affect the cholesterol levels in our blood stream. These foods include junk food, cheese, cream etc.
Weight is one of the major reasons behind high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol). People who have a moderate weight are less likely to develop high cholesterol levels.
People who are regular consumers of cigarettes and alcohol are prone to develop high levels of LDL cholesterol when compared from people who practice abstinence.
EFFECTS OF HIGH CHOLESTROL LEVELS
High cholesterol can cause the arteries to narrow down hence, limiting the blood flow. This abnormality of the arteries that transport oxygen and blood to the heart can result in a clot or a stroke.
High cholesterol levels can lead to a disease called, atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of blood vessels). When excess fat is deposited inside the blood vessels, they become less flexible causing the development of high blood pressure.
Other effects include, Hyperlipidemia, Angina, muscular pains.
WHAT CAN AGARWOOD TEA DO TO HELP
Agarwood tea contains polyphenols which decrease the absorption of cholesterol within the intestinal structure of the human body since polyphenols also have the capacity of reducing inflammation and formation of free radicals within the human body. Polyphenols also help in the excretion of cholesterol from the body by reducing the levels of bad LDL cholesterol.