Cholesterol is neither a friend nor an enemy; it is a necessity of the body for its smooth functioning and structural integrity. It can be good or bad for the body depending on the amount. Body needs cholesterol to a definite level, anything beyond could be problem in many ways.
Before you consider cholesterol as the enemy, do know that cholesterol is a precursor or the making point for so many hormones, vitamin D and take part in reproductive functions. Produced in the liver, cholesterol could be seen in every cell of the body.
Cholesterol the friend
- Cholesterol is required for the outer covering of cells
- Promotes the production of hormones like estrogen, androgen, progesterone etc
- Precursor for vitamin D. body cannot make vitamin D in the presence of sunlight without vitamin D.
- Bile salts are produced from cholesterol
- Cholesterol is also used for the strengthening of the intestinal walls.
- Cholesterol is essential for the production of corticosteroids that helps us deal with stress and diseases.
- The nerves have some insulators around them and these insulators are formed from cholesterol.
- The serotonin receptors of the brain need the presence if cholesterol to function normally.
Cholesterol the enemy
Body needs a specific level of cholesterol. There are no good or bad cholesterol in real. What make them good or bad are their specific levels. The LDL cholesterol is actually good if does not go beyond its limit. The good cholesterol HDL stays good only as long as it does not go down than its optimal level. Cholesterol needs its balance to move in a friendly manner.
The body makes 80% of the required cholesterol in the liver and the rest comes from the diet. You should also know that cholesterol is not the primary reason for the cardiovascular disease. It is the inflammation of cholesterol where it is produced in an excess amount that it is being used. That is when we call it as an enemy.
Cholesterol does not dissolve in the blood. It is carried away from one place to another. When in excess, the LDL cholesterol tends to get accumulated in the blood vessel walls making it difficult for the blood to flow freely. This will have extra pressure on the heart and that leads to all the diseases.
It is us who make the cholesterol an enemy
If the cholesterol turns enemy and acts against us, it is us who is to be blamed. There can be no major difference in the production of cholesterol in the body. What makes the difference is in what we eat. Simply eating too much do to bring the situation, it depends on what you eat.
- Too much saturated fat leads to increase in cholesterol levels
- Obesity is another reason to have cholesterol fluctuation in the body. Being idle for longer time and not participating in activities contributes to the accumulation.
- Smokers are more at the risk of high cholesterol levels than non-smokers. Same is the case with alcoholics. Too much of alcohol is turned into cholesterol.
- You have wider waist circumference, you bet you are or might get higher cholesterol sooner or later. All the fat around the waist line is cholesterol.
- Medical conditions like kidney diseases, diabetes, liver problems etc are also to be blamed for cholesterol irregularity.
- Drugs like anti-depressants, immune suppressants, steroids, certain diuretics etc can also cause high cholesterol.
- Finally, it could all be there in the genes.
Cholesterol is sure a friend of us. It is up to us in making it into an enemy or not. Cholesterol level that is too low or too high is both dangerous. Keep a regular balance on its levels by indulging in physical activities and having unsaturated and acceptable fats in the diet. A balanced meal with lots of fiber, low carbohydrates and adequate amount of protein and some amount of good fat should do a fair job.