named from the Greek words meaning solid bile,
is a soft, waxy, substance that is found in everyone's
body, to varying degrees. We need cholesterol to
survive, as it's used to form cell membranes and
brain and nerve tissues. Cholesterol also helps
the body produce hormones needed for body regulation,
including processing food, and bile acids needed
for digestion. Your liver actually produces all
the cholesterol your body needs for these functions,
so you don't need to consume any extra through your
It used to be thought that eating dietary cholesterol
was a major factor in raising potentially harmful
LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, but in recent
years, studies have found that consuming dietary
cholesterol only has a small effect. Consuming large
amounts of bad fats (saturated and trans fats) has
been identified as the main culprit.
and bad cholesterol
You may have heard about "bad" vs. "good"
cholesterol. Here's a simple explanation. Having
high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol
in your blood is considered bad because it can
lead to a build up of plaque inside your arteries
which can block the flow of blood to vital organs.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is
considered good because it helps carry LDL cholesterol
from the blood to the liver where it can be naturally
eliminated. An easy way to remember the difference:
think "H" for healthy vs. "L"
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