What is cholesterol, where it comes from, what is bad and what is good about cholesterol. The word “cholesterol” can refer either to the cholesterol found in the body itself (blood cholesterol) or the cholesterol found in food (dietary cholesterol).
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is important for a healthy body because it is needed to give strength to the cells (or building blocks) in your body. It is a versatile compound that is vital to the function of the human body. It also plays an important role in the formation of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.
You get cholesterol in two ways, from your body itself and from what you have taken as your meals. Your liver makes about 80% cholesterol for your body and the rest about 20% comes from animal products that you eat, such as meats, eggs, and dairy products. Some foods contain saturated or trans-fat, which also cause your body to make cholesterol. The foods that raise your blood cholesterol the most are saturated fat and trans-fat in such foods as fatty meat and whole-fat dairy products, snack foods and ready-prepared foods. Foods that have high levels of dietary cholesterol include egg yolks, organ meats, shrimp, squid and fatty meats. Thats’ the reason why you have to know your food.
Dietary cholesterol only has an effect in some people. From a nutrition perspective, the best way for controlling blood cholesterol is to eat a healthy diet that is lower in fat, especially saturated and trans-fat.
Just like everything else; cholesterol levels differ greatly among individuals. In humans, cholesterol serves 5 main functions:
- Cholesterol is used by the body to manufacture steroids, or cortisone-like hormones, including the sex hormones. These hormones include testosterone, estrogen and cortisone. Combined, these hormones control a myriad of bodily functions.
- Cholesterol helps the liver produce bile acids. These acids are essential for digestion of fats and ridding the body of waste.
- Cholesterol acts as a cell to interconnect “lipid molecules”. A lipid molecule is needed to stabilize our cell membranes. Without cholesterol, our bodies ruins.
- Cholesterol is an important part of the myelin sheath which is a neuron consists of fat-containing cells that insulate the axon from electrical activity. It is to ensure our brain functions properly by aiding route of electrical impulses. Without it, our brain would be difficult to focus and might lose of memory.
- Finally, Cholesterol has lots of beneficial on the human body immune system.