Most people speak a lot about cholesterol but barely understand cholester
ol’s role in the body.
Cholesterol is a substance, waxy in nature, naturally found in the blood
and mostly produced in the liver.
Your body uses cholesterol to build and maintain cell membranes, and for the synthesis of hormones, Vitamin D and bile acids.
Firstly, you should know that your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, and yet you, and we, continue to ingest cholesterol through our diets. Cholesterol is essential for good health, but elevated levels can have detrimental effects.
If you eat a lot of foods that contain cholesterol such as dairy, fatty meats and other processed foods, the level of cholesterol in your blood will be elevated. This cholesterol combines with other substances in the blood to sometimes form plaque in our blood arteries.
When the plaque in the walls of your arteries build up, it makes the arteries narrower, and sometimes blocks them, which now becomes a risk factor for heart disease.
Effects of Cholesterol, the Good & the Bad!
Cholesterol is not bad for the body, too much of Cholesterol is VERY bad for our bodies. How can such an important substance be bad for the body if the body needs it to maintain life? Well! Cholesterol itself is not harmful to the body, but its transportation is the ‘fangs that spoilt the teeth of the dog’.
You’re confused, right? I know, let me explain. Just like fats, cholesterol cannot mix or dissolve in water! And the blood that transports all foods and nutrients is composed of mostly water, so therefore, there is a need for carrier substance just like a boat that will float in the bloodstream and help transport all the cholesterol to every part of the body.
Are you still there? Okay, these carriers are ” lipoproteins”, and they are of two types, the ‘Bad guys’ and the ‘good guys’ A.K.A (“bad cholesterol” & “good cholesterol”).
The ‘Good guys’ help to fight the ‘Bad guys’ by removing them from the bloodstream & body and we get the ‘Good guys’ when we eat fish fats, seafood oils, avocado and olive oil etc in the right proportion. Too much is also not good for you! You can actually get these fats from whole food plants as well, like nuts and some seeds, these plant-based fats and oils are your best option.
On the other hand, we get the ‘Bad guys’ when we eat too much of animal fats & oil, saturated fats in butter, fatty milk, cheese and all sorts of street junky foods.
These ‘Bad guys’ can accumulate in the blood, obstructing the blood flow to organs and that can cause a heart attack, stroke, hypertension and sudden death.
A lifestyle that lacks regular exercise encourages the build-up of the “bad cholesterol” (‘bad guys’).
To maintain general body wellbeing, we must reduce the overall fats & oils intake that we get from processed foods and meats.
If you’re craving too much, consume the food in the right proportion. Even the fish oil and seafood must be consumed in reasonable amounts.
Remember that plant based whole foods like ground-nuts, avocado, spinach and sukuma wiki have Omega-3 fatty acids. They’re delicious and produce the “good cholesterol” that helps to maintain sound health of the body.