why do we need cholesterol in our body
What you need to know about cholesterol The word бБcholesterolБ is usually associated with heart disease, and often with, but is it all bad? бWhy do we need cholesterol? Cholesterol is only found in animals Б not plants. б It is a БlipidБ which means it is fat-related, and a
vital component of several cell functions to make new cell membranes and to make a range of steroid hormones. Animal foods which contain fat may also contain cholesterol. However, most of the cholesterol needed in our bodies is made by our own cells in a carefully regulated way. б Only a small amount of what we need comes from the cholesterol in the foods that we consumer. Did you know? б Dietary cholesterol is actually of little importance because we don t absorb most of it. б When our body contains too much cholesterol, it has mostly been made in our own livers, and the culprits are dietary saturated and trans-fats, rather than the cholesterol from our foods.
We measure cholesterol in the blood, where there are 3 different types: very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). These lipoproteins б (a combination of fat and protein) carry cholesterol through our bloodstream to where it is needed. б When there is excess cholesterol, б LDL and VLDL carry cholesterol into blood vessels where they can stick to the walls of your arteries, forming plaques/deposits which can block your arteries. In time this prevents blood flowing through them normally, hence heart attack or stroke. б HDL carries cholesterol out of the body tissues back to the liver, so is sometimes known as Б good Б cholesterol. б Higher levels of HDL cholesterol reduce the risk of heart disease but higher levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk. Whether you ve just been diagnosed with high cholesterol or just want to learn more about cholesterol, this site can help you.
You ve already taken the most important first step. By coming here, you ve shown you care about your cholesterol and health. Now, just remember three things: Check. Change. Control. Let s start with what cholesterol is and what it does. Cholesterol is a waxy substance. It s not bad : your body needs it to build cells. But too much can be a problem. Cholesterol comes from two sources. Your body (specifically your liver) makes all the cholesterol you need. The rest you get from foods from animals. For example, meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products contain cholesterol (called dietary cholesterol). More importantly, these foods are high in saturated and trans fat. That s a problem because these fats cause your liver to make more cholesterol than it otherwise would.
For some people, this added production means they go from a normal cholesterol level to one that s unhealthy. Some tropical oils, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil, also can trigger your liver to make more cholesterol. These oils are often found in baked goods. Why cholesterol matters Cholesterol circulates in the blood, and as blood cholesterol levels rise, so does the risk to your health. That s why it s important to have your cholesterol tested so you can know your levels. There are actually two types of cholesterol: bad and good. LDL cholesterol is the bad kind. HDL is the good kind. Too much of the bad kind or not enough of the good kind increases the chances that cholesterol will start to slowly build up in the inner walls of arteries that feed the heart and brain. We talk more about these two kinds of cholesterol here:.
For now, think of LDL cholesterol as being like a family member who carries stuff all through the house and drops it along the way. (If you recognize or live with this person, sorry! ) HDL cholesterol is like someone who picks up the dropped stuff and puts it away. This (good! ) person helps keep the house from becoming impassable. Together with other substances, cholesterol can form a thick, hard deposit that can narrow the arteries and make them less flexible. This condition is known as. If a clot forms and blocks a narrowed artery, a heart attack or stroke can result. High cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for, and. If you have other risk factors such as, or, this risk increases even more. The more risk factors you have and the more severe they are, the more your overall risk rises. This content was last reviewed April 2017.
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