No, don’t run away, it’s not that bad. Just like with Carbohydrates, Cholesterol is not the evil demon substance that it is sometimes made out to be. According to a lot of magazines and diets, putting cholesterol in your body is like stabbing yourself in the heart with a deep-fried chocolate bar, but not only is it not that bad, it can actually be good for you.
So what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is carried in your blood. It acts like a skin around every cell in your body, so without it, we’d just be this sort of… ooze…
Most of the dry weight in your brain is actually made up of cholesterol, so if you’re someone with a fairly large cranium and your friends call you “fat-head”, they’re right in several ways.
You also need cholesterol for some hormones, but too much in the blood can build up in your arteries and lead to heart disease or a stroke, so it’s a good idea to keep it under control.
Do I need cholesterol in my diet?
Most of the cholesterol in your body is actually made by your liver, so you don’t need to eat much at all. The rest can come from your diet, but it’s easy to get too much of it.
Without a little bit of cholesterol in your system, you can’t produce Oestrogen or Testosterone, as well as several other hormones that you need to be healthy, so getting a little bit of it is important, but a lot can be harmful to you.
Why is cholesterol important?
Cholesterol is a very useful raw material, and your body will use it to make hormones, repair certain organs or make cells in your body. If there’s too much though, it’ll float around your arteries and find a home on the wall and stick to it. It then invites a whole lot of fat to hang around too, which can clog up your arteries. This is really bad, because it can lead to high blood pressure, poor circulation, and even a stroke.
Is cholesterol dangerous?
Cholesterol is still something you should eat sparingly, but the daily egg with breakfast shouldn’t do you any harm at all (in moderation), and will likely give you a lot of healthy nutrients. If you’re eating lean meat and dairy as part of a regular diet, odds are you’re already getting plenty of cholesterol. You don’t need to go looking for more.
What foods are high in cholesterol?
There are some foods that might have a high amount of cholesterol, but they also have other important nutrients. some of those foods are:
- Egg yolk
Then there are some foods with high cholesterol that seem to be doing their best to kill you, such as:
- Anything deep fried
- Processed meat
- Liver (including pate and foie gras)
- Fast food
- Anything highly processed
Liver does have a lot of iron and other nutrients, but it is where an animal will store cholesterol, so it’s packed with the stuff.
What if I have high cholesterol?
If you’re someone whose genetics make it more likely to have high blood cholesterol levels, it does mean it will be harder for you to control it, but it’s not
If you keep as little saturated fat as possible in your diet, and eat food that is high in fibre or omega-3, or you can look for fat burners
and weight loss supplements
. This is because too much cholesterol in your bloodstream can cause blockages in your arteries. This can mean a stroke or a heart attack.
Naturally, you want to avoid that, so don’t eat too much cholesterol.
What if I don’t eat enough?
Cholesterol is in a lot of food, such as eggs, meat, dairy. so the chances are you’re getting enough. Even vegans can get some with nuts and oils, so you shouldn’t need to worry about low cholesterol levels, but if you’re somehow not getting the cholesterol that you need, you may develop a hormone imbalance and have trouble healing.
In that case, speak to a Doctor, and they’ll tell you how much cholesterol you should be getting. I’d love to hear about it too, if for no other reason that I want to actually know the Doctor who had a proper, medical prescription written out for a cupcake.
So, Cholesterol isn’t the devil’s own poison, it part of a having a good general health
, but it still needs to be kept to a sensible level. You need some of it, but more is definitely not better.