Two things come to my mind when the word Cholesterol is mentioned, trans-fat and cooking oil. Especially as most adverts of cooking oil now capitalise on that bit of information to sell their product.
After a routine medical examination at work, some colleagues and I got to discussing some of our test results, especially our cholesterol levels. It was scary how many of us were discovered to have, if not very high, borderline high cholesterol levels. After we talked about how this meant half the office was likely to drop dead suddenly from a heart attack, a lady who had been battling infertility for a while, mulled over whether this was also contributing to her infertility. You know that set off my TTC-gadar! Later that night, I found myself still thinking about it, and decided to conduct some research of my own. And I was quite surprised by what I discovered.
First of all, fats and cooking oil are not the sole culprits behind elevated cholesterol. Cholesterol accumulates from two major sources: one is the proper amount the liver generates which is what the body needs, and the other is from what we consume in foods that come from animals, including meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products.
High cholesterol is linked to heart attack and stroke, and low cholesterol has been shown to cause hormonal imbalances and decreased sex drive. But the fat-based substance is necessary for some of our bodies’ basic functions. Cholesterol helps build cell membranes; contributes to the rescue work of blood vessels; protects nerve fibres; and aids the production of vitamin D, bile acids and hormones that are essential for fertility. Did you read the last part? Aids the production of hormones that are essential for fertility! Interesting! These hormones essentially aid the maturation of eggs and sperm, and prepare the uterus for the embryo. Need I say more?
So, instead of giving cholesterol a bad name, I discovered that it could actually be an essential part of our diet that could probably determine how soon the bambino would come. But before you rush to your local grocery store to stock up on oily and fatty treats,Â you need to read a bit more.
Apparently, there is good, and there is bad, cholesterol. Usually, cholesterol combines with proteins in the blood stream to create high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles. LDL delivers cholesterol to body tissues, and is considered the bad cholesterol. But the LDL also helps to build muscles. On the other hand, the good cholesterol (HDL) delivers cholesterol to the adrenals and ovaries for hormone production and takes up excess cholesterol for processing and disposal in the liver. So, both types of cholesterol serve a purpose in the body.
Across board, there is no such thing as normal cholesterol level. What determines what is normal for every individual is their risk exposure to heart diseases. So, if there is a family history of heart failure or attack, then there is a need for the individual involved to be more careful with managing their cholesterol level.
There are many ways to maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Eating a balanced diet is one of them. Reducing the amount of saturated fats we crave such as, fatty beef, lamb, pork, chicken with skin, whole milk, cream, butter, cheese and ice cream (I think, that covers everything that our Weight Loss Group should be avoiding 😉 ) and increase your fiber ( apples, banana, spinach, potatoes) intake.
However, your attempt to cut out the bad cholesterol can lead to a decrease in the good cholesterol. To correct this, it is suggested that you do some exercise; walking, running or better still dancing for just 30 minutes per day.
Lastly, consuming about half of your daily calories in the morning could increase your fertility. This was the findings of a study on women suffering from PCOS, and they found that women who ate a big breakfast of protein (like Greek yogurt or eggs) and carbohydrates (oatmeal) experience drop in testosterone levels over period of time, unlike others, who ate most of their calories later in the day.
So, the next time you hear about cholesterol, donât think about it only as the bad guy, it could also be the good guy…provided you get most it from the good cholesterol.
And that’s it folks! I hope I’ve been able to educate you
Oluwakemi is a member of The Fertile Chick family, and she is a writer, dreamer and mother of two sets of twins. She is passionate about issues that concern women, and does not shy away from airing her views. And words are her weapon of choice! She is reachable on her handle @oluwakemine
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