July 17, 2007

Cholesterol: Good Or Bad?

Filed under: Uncategorized — drwatson @ 8:19 am

These days when it comes to your diet it seems that everything is free… not in the sense that it costs nothing; rather that it is free of something that you don’t need anyway. On your next trip to buy groceries, take a look at just about any product and see what they are offering for free.

You’ve got all kinds of choices of fat free yogurt, look at all your choices of fat free foods, oils that are cholesterol free, and on and on.

Don’t get me wrong… this is not necessarily a bad trend. We all know that we have to be more conscious about what we put into our bodies. But, let us not assume that everything that is free is therefore also healthy.

Our bodies need a variety of compounds in order to completely function at a healthy level.

Take cholesterol for example. Very simply put, cholesterol is a fatty substance that occurs naturally in your body. It is a product of the liver that is enabled by foods that you eat that are rich in saturated fat.

If you’ve heard anything these days about cholesterol you’ve probably heard the terms ‘good cholesterol’ and ‘bad cholesterol’. Just as the terms imply there is the cholesterol that your body needs to function and there is the cholesterol that if present in too high of levels can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart problems or stroke.

Cholesterol – At a glance:

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) is the “bad” cholesterol. Think of the ‘L’ being low life or bad. This is the substance in which cholesterol is carried into the blood and is the primary cause of the fatty build up that causes problems in the arteries.

High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) is the “good” cholesterol. Think of the ‘H’ as being the happy cholesterol or good natured. This cholesterol carries the cholesterol back to the liver where it can be filtered for elimination and prevent the build up in the arteries.

Essentially what you should know is that your body does need cholesterol. It is used to repair cells, to produce hormones such as estrogen and testosterone, and is converted to aid in digestion.

So, you don’t want to just arbitrarily jump on a complete cholesterol free diet. As with any dietary consideration and change you should work with your healthcare provider to arrive at the best and healthiest long term solution.

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