Cholesterol Facts

The term Cholesterol can refer to either blood cholesterol found in blood or dietary cholesterol found in food. 

Blood cholesterol

Blood cholesterol is a fatty substance in our blood and is needed by our bodies to make cell membranes, vitamin D and various hormones.  There are two types of blood cholesterol and they are quite different. 

1.     Low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol)  – Bad Cholesterol

LDL cholesterol is a type of cholesterol that is known to cause the build-up of plaque in our arteries – and is often called bad cholesterol.  We know that having high blood cholesterol, especially the LDL type, is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.  

2.     High-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) – Good Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol helps carry LDL-cholesterol away from the artery walls, and is considered a good type of cholesterol. 

Dietary Cholesterol

This is the cholesterol in foods such as egg yolks, shrimp, squid, organ meats and fatty meats and poultry.  Dietary cholesterol is found only in foods that come from animals, never in vegetable products such as vegetable oil or margarine.

What affects blood cholesterol

Many people think that it’s the cholesterol in food that is to blame for high blood cholesterol.  Unfortunately the link is not that simple. About 80 per cent of the cholesterol in our body is made by our liver.  The other 20 per cent comes from the foods that we eat.  However, dietary cholesterol itself only has an effect in some people.  What increases blood cholesterol the most is the saturated fat and trans fat in our diets. 

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