Cholesterol explained simply, why we need cholesterol
We will try to explain what cholesterol is, as simply as possible. Cholesterol is not that bad as it is made out to be. Most of us believed what was universally accepted for many years: that cholesterol is bad for us. But this is wrong, cholesterol is one of the most essential nutrient for our human body to function. Now new research and new health advisories all say that cholesterol is actually good. You need not avoid good food like eggs, milk and butter. Watch this video from CBN News. It tells us that new research points to the fact that cholesterol is good and helps us to live longer. See the video to be convinced that it is true.
Where is cholesterol found in the body?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s is in our blood circulating around the body. It is found in all cells of the body and is produced in our liver and intestines. Cholesterol in the right amount is essential for our health. Every single cell in our body uses Cholesterol to produce the cell membranes. Nearly half of the dry weight of our brain is fat, and a quarter of this is cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential to produce Vitamin D, sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen, bile acids, etc.E
How much does diet affect cholesterol levels
Our body produces its own cholesterol. Our liver and intestine makes Cholesterol by converting fats and carbohydrates. Even if we do not eat any fat, our own body can convert carbohydrates like sugar or starch from wheat, rice, etc. into fat. This fat then gets converted to cholesterol. So even if we are on a fat free diet and eating only carbohydrates like wheat or rice, our bodies can still make enough and more cholesterol. Thus scientists have now come to the conclusion that cholesterol from food is not what makes high cholesterol levels in our blood.
What is HDL and LDL Cholesterol
Since Cholesterol is a waxy solid, blood cannot carry it around our body as it is. So nature devised a way of wrapping the Cholesterol particles in a covering of proteins. The package of Cholesterol on the inside and coated with proteins is known as ‘Lipoproteins’. Two kinds of Lipoproteins carry the cholesterol through our body: Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL).
The package of Cholesterol with LDL is known as LDL cholesterol. The package of Cholesterol with HDL is known as HDL Cholesterol. So we have two different kinds of Cholesterol coatings, LDL and HDL, but the Cholesterol inside is the same. There is only one kind of Cholesterol that is packaged differently and called LDL and HDL Cholesterol.
Why LDL is bad and HDL is good
LDL or Low Density Lipoproteins carry cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. Our body extracts the required cholesterol from the LDL. When there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood, these particles deposits on the walls of the arteries or main blood vessels throughout the body. These deposits are called ‘plaque’ or Atherosclerosis, the build-up of cholesterol inside arteries.
Plaque deposits in arteries makes it thinner and reduces the flow of blood. It also increases the pressure required by the heart to pump the blood. Sometimes this coating of plaque breaks apart, and travel in to our heart and cause the heart artery to get blocked leading to a heart attack. The plaque can also travel up to the brain where it can block blood vessels in the brain causing a stroke. It is because of these problems which LDL cholesterol can cause that it is often called bad Cholesterol.
HDL or High Density Lipoproteins removes excess cholesterol from the artery walls and takes it back to the liver to break it down. HDL cholesterol cleans our blood vessels of Plaque and hence HDL cholesterol is known as good cholesterol.
Is there any symptoms of high Cholesterol
There is no way of telling if you have high cholesterol because there are no symptoms for high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a silent killer. Those with a history of high cholesterol running in their families, most likely will inherit high cholesterol. High blood sugar increases the chance of having high cholesterol. One sign that you may have high cholesterol is if you get pain in the calves of the leg when walking for some time. Plaque deposits in leg arteries due to high cholesterol, could be the cause of this problem.
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