Amongst all the nutritional information we have, Cholesterol is the most understood one. It is always only been associated with heart diseases, artery blockages, etc. Confusion lies in its function and types. Cholesterol is essential for our body as it carries out many important functions. It is found in every cell of the body as it is synthesized in the body. Cholesterol from the food sources is an additional source, thus one need to limit these food sources.
Importance of Cholesterol:
It has got several functions in the body:
- Building muscles
- Synthesis of Vitamin D
- Protect from infections
- Maintain energy and fertility
- Absorption of fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, K
- Keeps cell membrane intact
However, excess amount of cholesterol does have an adverse effect on body, especially your Heart.
Excess intake of from foods sources leads to accumulation of cholesterol in the bloodstream further leading to plaque formation, which clogs the arteries (atherosclerosis). As cholesterol cannot get dissolved in the blood, it has few special carriers for its transportation known as lipoproteins. They are VHDL Very high density lipoproteins, LDL low density lipoproteins, HDL High density lipoproteins, and VLDL very low density lipoproteins.
- LDL i.e. low density lipoprotein (Bad) should be low because it deposits in arteries blocking it. Thus it is known as the bad cholesterol.
- HDL i.e. high density lipoprotein (Good) should be on a higher side as its function is to clean the cholesterol and other fat from the arteries and carry to the liver. Thus it is termed as the good cholesterol.
Cholesterol from food sources should be limited and one must definitely be aware about food sources giving good and the bad cholesterol. The cholesterol levels in the diet should not exceed 300mg/ day.
Most of the animal sources are rich in cholesterol. Thus, the non-vegetarian lovers need to be extra careful while making a healthy choice.
List of Cholesterol rich foods:
- Egg yolk
- Egg whole
- Milk ( whole)
- Milk (condensed)
- Chicken with skin
- Chicken without skin
- Organ meats like liver, brain, and kidney.
Foods rich in proteins, fiber are low in cholesterol. Fibers help to reduce cholesterol from your blood. Thus including fiber rich foods like fruits, whole grains, salads, vegetables, etc helps. Making a wise and healthy choice may help you to keep your heart healthy and fit.
All the Best!