Do you think you already know everything you need to know about cholesterol? Think again. Here are some cholesterol facts, which you might find very surprising.
Cholesterol is widely talked about today. Not only because of the exponentially increasing numbers of heart conditions, but because more and more people today are changing their ways to lead healthier lifestyles. Here are some cholesterol facts that might just make a big difference to your journey back to health.
1. Cholesterol is not entirely bad.
Not all cholesterol is bad for the health. In fact, the body needs sufficient amounts of cholesterol as it serves as a building block of certain hormones and enzymes (the sex hormones being one of them).
The body is capable of producing its own cholesterol in the liver, but at amounts not adequate to supply the body’s need. This explains why we need dietary sources of cholesterol.
However, most diets contain too much bad low density cholesterols (LDLs) – too much for the body to handle. High cholesterol levels in the blood stream can contribute to the build-up of plaque along arterial walls, which may lead to heart diseases.
2. Cholesterol levels that are too low can be bad for your health.
As explained previously, your body needs adequate amounts of cholesterol for proper functioning. Low total cholesterol (levels less than 160 milligram per deciliter) can lead to health problems, sometimes even including cancer.
3. Plant sources contain no cholesterol.
Cholesterol can only be found in animal sources, as cholesterol can be synthesized only in the liver. Plants are unable to produce cholesterol, so commercially available vegetable oils which claim “no cholesterol” is simply stating the obvious.
4. Cholesterol-free foods can still increase cholesterol levels.
If a food has no cholesterol that doesn’t mean there are no unhealthy Trans and saturated fats, which can raise your cholesterol levels. Fats are the main culprits of increasing dietary cholesterol. Make sure to read the labels and look at fat content as well.
5. Exercise raises good cholesterol levels.
This may not be entirely surprising for some, as we all know how exercise is important for good health. Good cholesterols are those that prevent the build-up of plaque and fat deposits onto the arterial walls. High levels of good HDL cholesterols are ideal. Exercise and physical activity can increase levels of good cholesterol and can thus help counter heart disease.
6. High cholesterol may be inevitable for some.
For some unfortunate patients, high cholesterol levels are partly caused by genetics. Familial hypercholesterolemia, the condition where total cholesterol levels are high despite a healthy lifestyle, is believed to affect 1 in every 500 people. Such conditions can be fatal, and many patients can die at a young age. This is one reason it is important to have your cholesterol tested at an early age.
7. High cholesterol can affect you in other ways.
High cholesterol will not only cause heart disease, but can cause other health problems as well. High cholesterol can be linked to increased risk of kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, erectile dysfunction, even Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.
By learning these cholesterol facts, you also realize that there is much to know about cholesterol. Gaining a greater understanding of cholesterol and how it affects the body is a big leap towards leading a healthier lifestyle.
Many people who are concerned about supporting the health of their veins and heart have turned to fish oil caplets as a daily health food supplement routine on the advice of their doctor or naturopath. Ask your health professional about how fish oil might be right for you.