As we learned earlier, we need Cholesterol! We actually make cholesterol.
Cholesterol forms the outer membrane of each of our cells. Who knew!?! It is cholesterol that gives the cell membrane flexibility. It also helps regulate the permeability of the cell which controls which substances flow into the cells.
Cholesterol is also important for the production of bile in the liver. The bile is used by the liver to break down fats and helps in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins in the intestines. It is used to insulate nerve fibers so the nerve signals travel properly from place to place.
Cholesterol is also used to make hormones which carry chemical signals to our bodies. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone as well are the adrenal hormone cortisol are all created from cholesterol.
Without cholesterol we would be in poor shape. Our body would not function.
Knowing your cholesterol level isn’t, on its own, enough to tell you your personal risk of heart disease. You also need to know about lipoproteins. These are special molecules that carry or transport cholesterol around the body.
There are three main types:
* Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), often known as bad cholesterol – this carries cholesterol from the liver to the cells and, if supply exceeds demand, can cause harmful build-up of cholesterol
* High-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol – this takes cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it’s either broken down or excreted
* Triglycerides–the chemical form in which most fat exists in food as well as in the body. They’re also present in blood plasma and, in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids.
As you can see, we need cholesterol, but not excess amounts and not out of balance. The balance is important because of the proper functioning of our bodies. Any system out of balance does not perform as well as it should. So we need to be aware of the ratio of LDL to HDL so we can maintain a healthy functioning body!
Here are some things to do to take action now. Follow these tips from the National Institutes of Health’s Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Program to help lower
1. Decrease your intake of saturated fat to less than 7% of total calories
2. Decrease your dietary cholesterol intake to less than 200 mg per day
3. Lose 10 pounds if overweight
4. Add 5–10 g of Soluble Fiber to your diet each day
5. Add 2,000 mg of plant Sterols and Stanols to your diet each day
Now you have some information that will help you ask those important questions when talking with your doctor about your health. Knowing that the National Institutes of Health recommends using Plant Sterols and Stanols to lower your cholesterol naturally is a great alternative to statin drugs that have such a long list of really bad side effects. Take care of your body, ask the hard questions and don’t be afraid to question the need for a prescription that has negative side effects. Stay Well!