Is cholesterol a fat? Obviously not, it’s a lipid. Lipids are insoluble in water and so is cholesterol. It is a waxy substance that is made up of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. We all hear people saying that, don’t eat fat or else your cholesterol level will go up. But this is just one of the myths regarding cholesterol. Fat has nothing to do with cholesterol. All heart related diseases is associated with high levels of cholesterol. This is the most common myth which we all come across everyday especially on television when see the advertisement of any cooking oil. A study was conducted in US which revealed that 75% people who had heart attack, their cholesterol level was normal and not high. Real cause of heart attack is inflammation and diabesity i.e., diabetes and obesity and not cholesterol.
Does our body needs cholesterol from our diet?
Our body does not needs extra dietary cholesterol. Our liver produces cholesterol on its own which accounts for 700-900 mg/dL, and this amount is sufficient for carrying out daily activities. If extra cholesterol is added via diet, it makes the liver produce lesser cholesterol and the dietary cholesterol is very harmful for all individuals.
Is cholesterol bad for our health?
Cholesterol plays an important role in our body. It is required to make bile acids that is required for absorption of fat soluble vitamins and dietary fats. It also produces steroid hormones like estrogens and androgens. It is used to maintain cell membrane integrity and it even helps in the production of vitamin D and coenzyme Q10, this coenzyme Q10 is essential for producing energy, that our body needs for its cellular growth. It also acts as a potent antioxidant.
Is there anything called good and bad cholesterol?
In general, cholesterol is good for our body till the time it’s not coming from animal food products and is produced by our liver. There are two types of cholesterol named as low density lipoproteins i.e. LDL and high density lipoprotein i.e. HDL. LDL carries cholesterol produced in our liver to the cells in our body while HDL carries cholesterol from the cells back to the liver either for its disposal or recycling. So why LDL is referred to as bad cholesterol. LDL has the tendency to get oxidized due to oxidative damage and forms plaque in the arteries. This is the reason it's called bad cholesterol while the HDL is called the good cholesterol because it helps in removing the plaques in the arteries.
Does both plants and animals food provide cholesterol in our diet?
It’s just the animal products that provide cholesterol in our diet. Animal foods are rich in cholesterol and thus increases the dietary source of cholesterol and makes it difficult for the liver to dispose them off. As a result of increased cholesterol in our body, our body starts storing these cholesterol under the skin, in the arteries and tissues. These when get oxidized turn out to be bad cholesterol. While on the other hand, plants have no cholesterol. So, plant based nutrition dense diet actually helps to lower the cholesterol and maintains a healthy level of HDL, LDL and total cholesterol.
Take home message