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What is Cholesterol Exactly?

by linkroll

posted in Health and Fitness : Cholestrol

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There are a lot of misconceptions about cholesterol out there. The one thing that does seem to survive all the misinformation however is that cholesterol is bad for you. Like anything bad for you, you should learn all about it to better protect yourself. So what is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy substance in the body. Cholesterol is produced by the liver to do a number of things for human health.

Cholesterol is essential to produce vitamin D, build cell walls and create bile salts to aid the digestion of fat. So if it does all these things then why should we worry about an excess of cholesterol? Too much cholesterol, like anything, is bad for you. Learning exactly what cholesterol is will help you avoid consuming too much cholesterol.

The Good and the Bad

When asking the question what is cholesterol? You might be surprised that there actually is such a thing as good cholesterol. Animal products that we regularly consume such as meat and dairy have plenty of what is considered bad cholesterol. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits on the other hand have no cholesterol.

A hardening of the arteries can happen when there is too much bad cholesterol in your body. What happens is that bad cholesterol will cause a build up of plaque that will block the arteries and decrease blood flow. Good cholesterol on the other hand will carry excess cholesterol back to the liver to be expelled.

Causes

When you ask about what cholesterol is, the cause of high cholesterol will come to mind. There are a number of factors that will make a person more likely to have high levels of cholesterol. The older you get the more likely you are to develop high cholesterol.

Just like many other diseases, high cholesterol levels can be hereditary. If there is a history of high cholesterol in the family then you should be tested to see if you too have high cholesterol levels. The amount of physical activity that you do will also affect the levels of cholesterol in your body. Exercising will help to keep good cholesterol levels up.

When looking at what cholesterol is, investigating the causes and treatments will show a clear link between food and cholesterol levels. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, soluble fiber, beans and fish will help to keep your cholesterol levels low. Eating less meat, and whole fat dairy products is also key to keeping your cholesterol levels within a desirable range.

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