Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in everyone’s bloodstream. However, when cholesterol is too high, it can form into deposits that stick to the walls of the body’s blood vessels thereby leading to blockages. Although these blockages can occur anywhere in the body, the most concerning ones are those occurring in arteries leading to the heart. If blood is cut off from the heart, one or more parts of this vital organ may die, leading to what is commonly known as a heart attack. To combat this, part of good heart health is having a cholesterol level drawn every few years to determine one’s risk for heart disease. There are two major types of cholesterol known as LDL, or bad cholesterol, and HDL, or healthy cholesterol.
Everyone should be aware of cholesterol in foods. Cholesterol comes from animals; therefore, fruits and vegetables do not contain any cholesterol. Animal meats, eggs, milk, and other dairy products all contain cholesterol. In fact, some of the highest levels of cholesterol are found in eggs and animal organ meats such as the liver. To reduce bad cholesterol scores, individuals should focus on low cholesterol diets. One of the best foods for lowering cholesterol is fiber such as that found in oats and whole grains. In addition, fish containing high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be great sources of healthy cholesterol, which can lower bad cholesterol. Although some people have a family history of increased cholesterol readings, it can still be prevented by a healthy diet as well as by exercising for a healthy weight.
Cholesterol is being increasingly talked about in medical and even social circles these days. Learning the basic principles presented here can help people understand what cholesterol is and where it is found. In addition, being able to pinpoint foods that are high in cholesterol as well as those that are not can help prevent a high cholesterol score in the first place.