Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. It is essential for good health because it is a major building block for all the body’s hormones (especially sex hormones), bile acids and vitamin D.
The body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is naturally produced in the liver. The liver makes about 70% of the cholesterol the body needs daily.
However, some foods contain cholesterol.
Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in small packages called lipoproteins, which are made of fat (lipid) on the inside and proteins on the outside.
Two kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body. They are:
- Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL).
LDL is regarded as the ‘bad’ cholesterol. A high LDL level in the body leads to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries (the blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the other parts of your body).
HDL, referred to as the ‘good’ cholesterol drives excess cholesterol from the bloodstream to the liver for removal from the body.
High blood cholesterol is a condition in which there is too much cholesterol in the blood. This occurs as a result of too much small, dense LDL particles in the bloodstream.
High carbohydrate diet raises the level of small, dense LDL particles in the blood. The greater the level of LDL in your blood, the greater your chance of getting a coronary heart disease, as the small dense particles clog the arteries and limit the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. On the other hand, the higher the level of HDL in your blood, the lower your chance of getting a heart disease.
Now, the question is, what are those foods that contain LDL or HDL?
Foods that contain LDL (bad cholesterol) include;
-fries and fried chicken which are loaded with sodium, fat and cholesterol,
-egg yolk, -cheese -fast foods -cakes, pies and cookies,
-liver (chicken), -processed meat (bacon), -red meat.
Foods that lower cholesterol naturally include;
-oats, -rice, -nuts (e.g. walnuts), -salmon and fatty fish, -green tea,
-dark chocolate, -almonds, -beans, -whole barley, -avocado,
-garlic, -spinach, -margarine, -olive oil, -lycopene foods such as tomatoes, watermelons, etc.
Remember, moderation and attention to your daily nutritional habits would enhance a healthy body.