Cholestenol-Understanding cholesterol, what is cholesterol?
Understanding cholesterol, what is cholesterol?

Understanding Cholesterol: What is Cholesterol?

Here’s the Important Information You Need to Know to Improve Your Understanding of Cholesterol, High Cholesterol and Why it is a Factor Your Risk of Heart Attack or Stroke.

What is Cholesterol?

Simply stated, cholesterol is a necessary fat that circulates in your blood. Since cholesterol is a building material for your body’s cells, the body requires it.

Understanding the Sources of Cholesterol

Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and the foods you eat. The cholesterol created in your body is made in the liver and the amount you produce is hereditary, meaning your genes determine how much your liver produces. Those with high cholesterol traits in their family need to pay particular attention to this factor.

Diet is the other source and certain foods you eat provide additional amounts of cholesterol. Cholesterol in your diet comes primarily from animal food sources such as meats, whole milk, cheese, butter, and eggs.

Why You Need Cholesterolcholesterol

Some cholesterol is important as long as it’s not too much. Cholesterol performs several important functions in the body. Perhaps the most important of these is its role in forming and maintaining the quality cell walls and structures.

Cholesterol is also required to make all the important hormones that help you cope with stress and determine the strength of your sex drive. Cholesterol is also essential for the conversion of vitamin D in your skin when you are outdoors and exposed to sunlight.

But How Much is Too Much?

While some cholesterol in your blood is essential to your health, too much can be harmful and perhaps dangerous. Over time, excess cholesterol can build up on the walls of your arteries.

This high cholesterol buildup forms as plaque, which narrows your arteries, increases your blood pressure and reduces blood flow to your heart. This restricted blood flow greatly increases your risk of a heart attack and the possibility of stroke.

Understanding Cholesterol Levels?

The average American man consumes about 360 milligrams of cholesterol a day; the average woman eats between 220 and 260 milligrams daily. Remember this is in addition to the cholesterol your liver naturally produces.

The respected American Heart Association guidelines suggest that you limit your daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. Obviously, if you already have high levels of cholesterol from natural production you should be careful and make good food choices so the cholesterol that comes from your diet stays within the healthy limits of 300mg as an average daily intake.

When you make poor food choices the normal level of cholesterol already present in your blood can be increased to unsafe levels from the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fats in those foods.

Why Your Diet Choices are Important

With today’s hurried lifestyles, many of us eat out frequently and choose fast food restaurants, pre-packaged foods and convenience foods. Unfortunately, these types of foods are usually very unhealthy because they are prepared using oils and fats, which can cause our cholesterol intake to increase far beyond the suggested limits. 

Even many basic foods such as red meat, poultry, fish, seafood, certain oils and most dairy products produce cholesterol.
Cholesterol from the food you eat is absorbed by your digestive tract. It then makes its way into your liver and can circulate through your body in your bloodstream and possibly build up in your artery walls.

When you add cholesterol from your diet to the hereditary cholesterol your body already makes, you can see why there is so much concern about cholesterol levels and the importance of understanding cholesterol and controlling your cholesterol levels.

We hope this provides you with valuable information about what is cholesterol and helps you to understand cholesterol and why it is so important to your health and longevity.