Are you fond of eating strawberries? Then you may be glad at this recent finding. A new study has found out that eating strawberries may lower your blood cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is defined as a waxy or fatty substance present in the body which is being produced by the liver. Though scorned at because of its potential harmful effects, it is actually an important substance in the body. It works to protect our cells by being a component of the outer layer of cells. It is present and transported through the blood and is the main fat or sterol substance synthesized by animals, though it can also be found in fungi and plants. High cholesterol problems are one of the increasing diseases in the world today.
Cholesterol, as said previously, is an important substance in the body. It can build and maintain cell membranes while determining which molecules can pass into the cell and which cannot. It is also needed in the production of sex hormones such as estrogens and androgens. It can also be used to produce other hormones such as cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone and others. It also aids in the production of bile. Cholesterol also converts sunshine to Vitamin D which can have cardiovascular benefits and numerous other functions. It can also help in the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. It also helps in the insulation of nerve fibers.
Cholesterol is transported by the body by molecules which are known as lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are complex compounds that contain fat and protein. There are three types of lipoproteins: low density lipoprotein or LDL, high density lipoproteins or HDL and triglycerides. Low density lipoproteins are also termed as bad cholesterol because they are responsible for carrying too much cholesterol from the liver to cells. They offer a greater risk for arterial disease. On the other hand, high density lipoprotein or HDL is a type of cholesterol which can prevent arterial disease by facilitating excretion of cholesterol in the body through the liver. Triglycerides is a type of cholesterol that is widely present in the body and which is taken from carbohydrates from food. This is the type of fat that is released from fat cells and used as energy.
Normal cholesterol levels range between 3.6 mmol/liter to 7.8 mmol/liter. A cholesterol level of over 6 mmol/liter raises the risk for arterial disease. High cholesterol levels can bring about atherosclerosis or narrowing of the arteries, heart attacks caused by clots in the blood vessel of the heart, abnormalities in the blood vessels, chest pain or angina, and stroke or transient ischemic attack.
Several signs and symptoms of high cholesterol levels include chest pain due to narrowed arteries of the heart, leg pain during exercise, blood clots, ruptured blood vessels, ruptured plaques, and xanthomas or thick yellow patches in the skin and eyes. High cholesterol levels are usually due to poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, excess body weight, smoking, and stress. It can also be caused by treatable medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, kidney diseases, liver diseases and a underactive thyroid gland. Early menopause, genes, being male, older age, and ethnicity can also place you at risk for diabetes.
Cholesterol and Strawberries
Recent news has it that consuming strawberries everyday for a month can lower cholesterol levels. In this study done by researchers from UniversitÃ Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM, Italy) and the Universities of Salamanca, Granada and Seville (Spain) studied a team of volunteers who ate half a kilo of strawberries a day for a month to see whether it altered their blood parameters in any way. The results showed that the total amount of cholesterol, the levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL or bad cholesterol) and the quantity of triglycerides fell to 8.78%, 13.72% and 20.8% respectively. HDL remained unchanged. The researchers also commented that in other studies, strawberries also protected against ultraviolet radiation, reduced alcohol damage on the gastric mucosa, improved red blood cells and improved antioxidant capacity of body tissues.
To know more about cholesterol, you can check out our other articles on this site.