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Is Cholesterol The Silent Killer?

Aug 17, 2007
Contrary to popular belief, the liver creates most cholesterol and only a small percentage is acquired through food. However, the more saturated fat a person eats, the more cholesterol his or her body makes.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that forms a part of each cell in your body. A persons body needs cholesterol for daily functions, such as making hormones, producing healthy cell walls and making vitamin D. It also produces bile acids that help in digestion.

Although this waxy substance helps your body in a number of ways, excess production of cholesterol can also be risky to your body and to your heart. When this happens, the extra cholesterol spills out and circulates into your bloodstream. Be aware that excessive levels of cholesterol in a persons blood can causes clogging of blood vessels, while elevating the risk of stroke and heart disease.

Food Based Cholesterol

Cholesterol comes from animal-based foods like dairy products, eggs and meat. The two types of cholesterol are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is the bad cholesterol that usually cause the clogging of blood vessels, while HDL is the good cholesterol that is responsible for clearing LDL out of your bloodstream, reducing the risks of heart disease.

The Connection Between Fat and Cholesterol

Saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the three types of fats found in food. Each type of dietary fat affects a persons blood cholesterol in different ways.

Saturated fats are those found in lamb, pork, beef and other red meat products. Excessive saturated fats in the body can be dangerous to your health because the more saturated fats you eat, the more cholesterol your body produces, which eventually will end up in your bloodstream. Consuming too much saturated fat in the diet is the main cause of excess cholesterol levels in the blood.

Monounsaturated fats are those found in plant oils, such as canola, peanut and olive. Polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acid, can help to slow down blood clot formation and fight heart disease. They are found in fishes and plant oils, such as soybean, corn, safflower and sunflower.

Eating any fat will contribute to weight gain, but in lowering blood cholesterol, substituting saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will help get rid of newly formed cholesterol in the body. For this reason, people with elevated levels of blood cholesterol need to improve their eating habits to ensure that the right kind of fat enters their bodies.

Bad Cholesterol Can Cause Death Later In Life

In our junk food society we are on the brink of complete disaster because of unhealthy eating. More children today are considered obese and this is a direct result of the eating habits taught to them at an early age. Bad cholesterol rates are rising among the youth of today. We are even seeing cases of coronary heart disease in people in their early 30's. This must be because the foods we are eating today have high levels of LDL cholesterol and saturated fat.

There are two things you should do to prevent the build up of bad cholesterol in your body: Change your diet, and exercise daily.

So what types of food are good for lowering cholesterol levels in the blood? Foods high in antioxidants and fiber are the types of foods you should be looking for. These include fruit and vegetables, whole grains and similar things. Stay away from foods that are considered fatty. Remember to eat mono- and polyunsaturated fats if you eat fat at all. Most fast food restaurants cook their meals using an alarming amount of oil. Yes I know, it does taste great, but so do bananas, grapes and pears. Maybe next time you having a craving for a nice juicy hamburger, why not go down to the local farmer's market instead and pick out a new exotic fruit that you have never tried before. You might be surprised!

To find out if you have a excessive level of bad cholesterol in your blood, you should make an appointment with your doctor to be tested. It only takes a couple of minutes and you never know, it might save your life!

As a nation, if we are ever going to get out of our fast food, sugar loving mindset, we need to start with our children. Some schools today who are putting in place new healthier menus in their cafeterias. Is there more that could be done though? Children learn from watching adults, so starting to develop good eating habits will be good for you and your children.

Perhaps the ideal place to start is with the parents and guardians who need to set the example for their kids. There are any number of families out there who practically live off French fries and hamburgers. If those families could reduce the number of times they visit a fast food restaurant by one time in a week, then we will go a long way to reduce the rapidly escalating rate of bad cholesterol in the people of our country.
About the Author
Steve Dolan is one of many who has high cholesterol. If you want to find out how to manage it click Cholesterol and Heart Disease and for a healthier you try Health and Vitality
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