Everyone has heard of it but what is cholesterol, this page has free information on good cholesterol foods and other nutrition advice. Cholesterol is an essential part of our bodies, it is in and around cells, and it helps produce hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen, It is also important for the fat soluble vitamins (A D E K) to be transported around the body. Most of the cholesterol in the body is made in the liver which is also affected by how much saturated fat you eat.
There are a few factors that can push up your blood cholesterol level such as lack of exercise, obesity and the amount of saturated fat you consume.
There are three main types of lipoproteinsCholesterol is carried in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins. A lipoprotein is a compound containing both lipid (fat) and protein. The three main types are:
- LDL (low density lipoprotein) – This is also known as bad cholesterol. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to cells. If too much is carried, and there is too much for the cells to use it creates a build up of LDL which can be very harmful as this can cause heart and artery disease.
- HDL (high density lipoprotein) –This is also known as good cholesterol. HDL does the opposite of LDL as HDL takes the cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver where it gets broken and got rid of in the form of waste.
- Triglycerides - Calories we consume but are not used immediately by our tissues are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells. When your body needs energy and there is no food as an energy source, triglycerides will be released from fat cells and used as energy - hormones control this process.
The amount of cholesterol in your blood is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood usually seen like this ‘mmol/l’. If you have a high blood cholesterol level it is normally over 5.0 mmol/l, but you also need to know your level of lipoproteins in your body and it’s the balance of these lipoproteins not just your overall cholesterol level.
List of low cholesterol foods:
- White and oily fish
- Tinned fish in oil
- Lean meat
- Skimmed milk
- Low cholesterol margarine and spreads
- Low fat yoghurt
- Cottage cheese
Foods that are cholesterol free are all vegetables:
So remember that we all need cholesterol for our cells in our bodies, but its the type of cholesterol we consume that is important. We need good cholesterol foods(HDL cholesterol not the bad LDL cholesterol).