Cholesterol is a nutrient with very bad press and, to a certain extent, with good reason, because blood cholesterol levels above certain concentrations can be dangerous to health, especially for people who are suffering from some form of cardiovascular disease. The two basic tips to prevent the onset of diseases that affect the cardiovascular system are: lead a healthy lifestyle and follow a balanced diet.
How many types of cholesterol are there?
Cholesterol is a substance with a very wax-like texture that, together with triglycerides and phospholipids, forms the family of lipids. It is an essential nutrient for all the cells of our organism and plays an especially important role in the formation of brain cells, nerve cells, and some hormones. Although certain foods may contribute a small amount of cholesterol, most of the blood circulating in our bloodstream is made in the liver.
Excess blood cholesterol, known as hypercholesterolemia, is one of the most important risk factors in the development of coronary heart disease that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
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There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
LDL cholesterol often referred to as bad cholesterol, is responsible for distributing fat throughout the body. It is a large, spongy, sticky molecule. When LDL levels exceed normal concentrations, damage to the walls of the arteries occurs. The area where the wall of the artery has been damaged is where a build-up of excess circulating cholesterol builds up causing a narrowing of the lumen of the artery. This situation gives rise to two important problems, on the one hand, the accumulation of cholesterol reduces the capacity of dilatation of the artery and its tolerance to the changes of pressure, reason why in a concrete moment of stress, this one can be broken as a consequence of Hypertension, on the other hand,
HDL cholesterol or “good” cholesterol is responsible for collecting excess cholesterol that circulates through the arteries and returns it to the liver where it is eliminated. Raising the concentration of HDL in the blood through diet and a healthy lifestyle can eliminate excess fat and prevent the onset of diseases that affect the cardiovascular system.
Some foods like eggs, liver, kidney and shrimp are especially rich in cholesterol, which is a nutrient that is only found in foods of animal origin. In most cases dietary cholesterol does not influence blood cholesterol levels as much as the amount or type of fat we eat; instead, some people are more sensitive to dietary cholesterol intake.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining proper weight, and staying physically active help keep blood cholesterol levels within normal range.
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