Cholesterol is a fat-soluble molecule transported in the blood and although the body can manufacture cholesterol in the liver, it can also be obtained in the diet. Although the body requires cholesterol to function naturally such as in the production of hormones, absorption of vitamin D, formation of cell membranes and other body functions, it can however become a problem if the body has too much of a certain cholesterol. (Also see Resveratrol and heart disease)
On this page we have a look at cholesterol and how the natural compound called resveratrol can help reduce cholesterol.
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Cholesterol is present in two forms LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL (high density lipoprotein) It is the LDL which is the "bad cholesterol" which can lead to many health problems, while the "good" HDL helps to keep the bad LDL under control.
The reason why LDL is bad, is that it oxidizes and forms plague (a build-up) on your blood vessels which leads to the narrowing of the blood vessels, and which will lead to heart disease, stroke and blood circulatory problems.
The norm for blood cholesterol count is about 5.5 mmol per liter, although a lower figure should be aimed for.
One culprit of high LDL blood counts can be contributed to the intake of saturated fats in the diet such as animal fat and trans fats. It is also present in eggs as well as full fat dairy products (especially milk and cheese) and palm as well as coconut oil.
Trans fats are actually unsaturated fats (which are fine), but due to its chemical structure have the same effect as saturated fat and can be found in hydrogenated (a chemical reaction where hydrogen is added to a compound) and partly hydrogenated vegetable fats and is therefore often found pies, biscuits and other processed foods.
Food containing cholesterol can also add to blood cholesterol levels but it is the saturated and trans fats in the diet most responsible for raising blood cholesterol levels.
When combating high blood cholesterol levels it would therefore be wise to limit your intake of animal fat and rather look at consuming polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats such as margarine spreads and oils such as soybean or safflower and to make the bulk of your diet consist of vegetables, beans, fruits, whole grains, nuts, fish and lean meats, while opting for low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt.
You should however not cut out all dairy products as you do need the calcium but rather opt for the low-fat options.
There is even a bigger range of lipoproteins found within blood - chylomicrons, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL), intermediate density lipoprotein (IDL), low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL) but for all intents and purposes we normally only look at the LDL and HDL profile found in the blood to determine our health status.
Abnormally high cholesterol levels also called hypercholesterolemia which really refers to high concentrations of LDL and low concentrations of HDL are closely related to strongly associated with cardiovascular disease which does not only affect the blood vessel system, but can also impact on the lymphatic system.
This then causes atheroma commonly called plague from developing in the arteries which leads to what is known as atherosclerosis.
This plaque is made up of oxidized LDL particles and it is interesting to see that a plant derived compound Resveratrol (also found in red wine and the skin of red grapes) has been shown to reduce oxidized LDL and by natural conclusion, will help to lower cholesterol levels. REFERENCES
As mentioned above clinical studies have shown that resveratrol helps to reduce the oxidation of LDL - but other studies showed that it lowered the level of LDL levels in the blood as such. REFERENCES
High levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream have been linked to atherosclerosis therefore an increase of the risk of heart disease and stroke. It is therefore ideal if you can reduce the triglycerides in the blood which is effectively done naturally, once again with resveratrol. REFERENCES
Platelet aggregation (the stickiness of the blood platelets) plays an important role in arterial thrombosis as well as heart disease, stroke as well as arterial disease.
So although platelet aggregation has no direct bearing on cholesterol, we have included it on this page, since it does influence proper blood flow.
Another plus point of resveratrol is that it helps to decrease platelet aggregation of the blood in simple terms it helps to make the blood less sticky and is therefore beneficial to help prevent heart problems and thrombosis. A lot of doctors prescribe to their patients to take aspirin every day, as aspirin also helps with decreasing platelet aggregation. REFERENCES