Nutriglow

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy organic compound found in blood and in all animal tissues. It is a steroid and is essential to life. It is a primary component of cell membranes and a material from which the body makes bile acids, other steroid hormones and vitamin D. It is made in the liver and some other organs, in greater or lesser amounts depending on the amount recently consumed in the diet. It circulates in the blood in compounds called lipoproteins, since it is not water-soluble alone. Excess cholesterol in the blood forms deposits in arteries (arteriosclerosis), which can lead to coronary heart disease. Since the body makes cholesterol from fats, blood cholesterol cannot be reduced by limiting only the amount of cholesterol in the diet; the amount of fat, especially saturated fat, must also be reduced.

Foods that are particularly high in cholesterol include eggs, red meat, and organs such as liver and brain.

Total plasma cholesterol levels of less than 200 mg/100 ml are considered desirable. Values of 200/239 or greater than 239 mg per 100 ml are considered, respectively, borderline high or high risk values, indicating the potential for a heart attack. High levels of low-density lipoprotein in the plasma are associated with increased risk of atherosclerosis, ('hardening of the arteries'), which involves deposition of cholesterol and other lipids in the artery wall. Diets low in cholesterol and saturated fats often result in a reduction in total plasma and LDL cholesterol levels. Such changes in blood cholesterol levels are thought to be beneficial and to reduce the incidence of heart attacks.

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