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Cholesterol The Good The Bad And The Ugly

Jan 8, 2008
Cholesterol but what is it? Well it's a soft, sort of waxy substance found within the fats in your body. Your body requires it because it's utilises it to produce cell membranes and even in producing some hormones, and other functions. But worringly a overly high level of cholesterol in the blood is a very significant risk indicator for coronary heart disease.

Fats including cholesterol do not dissolve in the blood. Which means that they have to be carried around the body by special chemical carriers called lipoproteins. There are a several of these lipoproteins within the body but the important ones on this case are known as high density lipoproteins also known as HDL and low density lipoproteins (LDL).

Low density protein or LDL as it is often known is the key carrier of cholesterol with the blood. But if as can happen the levels of LDL become too high it can build up as a plaque like substance blocking the arteries which provide blood to the heart and brain.

This condition is known as atherosclerosis. A clot that forms near this plaque can block the blood flow to part of the heart muscle and cause a heart attack. If a clot blocks the blood flow to part of the brain, a stroke results.

It is estimated that about a third of cholesterol is transported by HDL or High Density Lipoprotein, Scientist have show that this HDL cholesterol actually carries the fatty deposits away from the arteries back to the liver where they are removed from the body.

A number of experts now believe that HDL gets rid of excess LDL cholesterol. For this reason scientist refer to HDL cholesterol as 'good' or wanted cholestrol .There is in fact significant evidence to suggest that HDL reduces the risk of heart attacks.

People get cholesterol in two ways. The body mainly the liver produces varying amounts, usually about 1,000 milligrams a day.

Foods also can contain cholesterol. Foods from animals (e.g., egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, and seafood and whole-milk dairy products) contain it. Foods from plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds) don't contain cholesterol.

We do not need to consume cholesterol as our body produces all it needs to function normally. The highest levels of cholesterol are found in Saturated fats and the other fat often associated with fast food trans fats or trans fatty acids. Excess consumption of these unwanted fats can often lead to serious heart problems and even heart attacks.

There is around 217 milligrams of cholesterol in a typical American woman's daily diet and a significantly higher 337 mg for a male.

Some of the excess dietary cholesterol is removed from the body through the liver. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, limit your daily intake to less than 200 milligrams.

Still, everyone should remember that by keeping their dietary intake of saturated fats low, they can significantly lower their dietary cholesterol intake. Foods high in saturated fat generally contain substantial amounts of dietary cholesterol.

Those with seriously raised levels of cholesterol in their blood may need to reduce their levels further. As stated cholesterol is predominantly in food produced from animals so keep your intake of these type of products to around 6 ounces a day if you have raised cholesterol. Also when possible replace animal protein with vegetables such as beans or pulses.

WARNING: If you are unsure of your cholesterol level have it checked by your medical practitioner or you can buy a home test kit.
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