Squid is part of the same family as oysters, scallops and octopus. Squid is often eaten deep fried. This is known as calamari. Unlike many other animal products, squid is low in saturated fat. Doctors usually do not advise saturated fat to people with high cholesterol. When squid is deep fried, total fat and saturated fat increase. This turns relatively healthy food into something with high cholesterol and unhealthy. However, if served grilled or steamed, squid can be quite healthy because of the low saturated fat level. Squid is a good source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Most of the health benefits of squid are a result of omega-3 fatty acids that maintain good heart health, pregnancy health, heathy skin, hair and nails and reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Squid is cheap and versatile, and its taste is enjoyed by many. It can be grilled, seared, boiled, braised and even eaten raw as sashimi.
100 grams of uncooked squid contain around 198 milligrams of cholesterol, 0.4 grams of total saturated fat and 16 grams of protein. The American Heart Association advises that total calories consumed from saturated fat per day should be less than 10 percent, especially if the aim is to lower “bad” cholesterol levels called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). This means a 2,000-calorie diet per day equals to 22 grams of saturated fat or less. Because squid is often consumed deep fried, the total fat content tends to be very high because of the oil used for frying. Some types of oil are already high in saturated or trans fats.
What are the effects of high cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like waxy substance that is found in the blood and cells. The body needs cholesterol to make the cell membranes, vitamin D, hormones and digestive fluids. It is vital for the normal functioning of the body, but high levels of cholesterol can be bad for the heart, blood vessels and pancreas. A simple blood test called a lipid profile or cholesterol screening can determine cholesterol levels.
Levels and ranges of cholesterol
Total cholesterol level:
- Less than 200 mg/dL is considered healthy.
- 200-239 mg/dL is borderline high cholesterol.
- 239 mg/dL or higher is high cholesterol.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (Bad cholesterol) level:
- Lesser than 100 mg/dL is optimal.
- 100-129 mg/dL is acceptable for people with no health problems.
- 130 mg/dL is considered high.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (Good cholesterol) level:
- 60 mg/dL or higher is optimal.
- Less than 40 mg/dL is a risk factor for heart disease.
Health risks of high cholesterol
High levels of cholesterol in the blood (hyperlipidemia) can have harmful effects on health. High cholesterol can cause buildup of cholesterol on the walls of the arteries. Over time, this buildup called plaque causes hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). This obstructs the blood flow through it, causing medical conditions such as
- Coronary heart disease: The main risk of high cholesterol is coronary heart disease. Atherosclerosis causes coronary arteries to become narrow, which slows the blood flow to the heart muscle. Reduced blood flow results in angina (chest pain) or heart attack if the blood vessel gets blocked completely. High cholesterol makes the blood viscous and makes a person prone to throwing up blood clots.
- Stroke: Stroke occurs when a blood vessel carrying blood to the brain is completely blocked.
- Peripheral vascular disease: High cholesterol has been linked to peripheral vascular disease. In this condition, fatty deposits build up along the artery walls affecting blood circulation in the arteries that lead to the legs and feet and the arteries of the kidney.
- Type 2 diabetes: People with diabetes have low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and sometimes high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that increase the risk of heart and artery diseases.
- Hypertension: When the arteries become narrowed with cholesterol plaque, the heart has to work harder to pump blood through them which results in high blood pressure.
- Pancreatitis: High levels of a type of fat called the “triglycerides” is damaging to the pancreas and may cause pancreatic swelling that may be life threatening.
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