There’s a lot of misinformation floating around about cholesterol. In fact, it’s become a word with negative connotations that your doctor may have mentioned to you more than once. You may think that cholesterol is the bad ending of a healthy life but that’s not exactly true. This article will clear up a few of those misconceptions and explain seven things you should know about cholesterol.
What is cholesterol?
If you’re reading pamphlets or listening to your friends chat about cholesterol, or really any other health matter, you’re not doing enough to educate yourself.
We’ve consulted with various experts on the subject to bring you the top things you need to know about public enemy #1 in health, as well as some of the myths about cholesterol. Don’t you think it’s about time you got the facts straight?
An essential component of your body’s cellular functions, cholesterol can be healthy for you when it’s present in the right quantities. Cholesterol is present not only in the human body but in nearly every organic, living thing. Vegetables, for example, contain levels of cholesterol, as well as red meat. Cholesterol helps your cells form structures and glandular system. Around 10% to 20% of your brain is formed from cholesterol and breast milk contains it in ample doses.
Cholesterol’s main functions are:
- Stabilize and protect the cellular membrane.
- Help protect the nervous system.
- Metabolize good fats and regulate the organic cholesterol.
- Help form sexual hormones including estrogen.
- Provides the substances necessary to develop other hormones.
- Protect the skin and prevent dehydration.
- Protect in the form of vitamin D.
- Boost the immune system.
- Prevent renal diseases, especially in diabetics.
- Give elasticity to red blood cells.
- Helps newborn’s brain development.
- Prevents malformation in embryos.
These roles are important parts of a healthy body and cholesterol plays a vital role. So what happens when there’s too much present in your body? Like people say of anything good for you; too much can be bad.
Some myths about cholesterol
Seafood is full of cholesterol
It’s not exactly the complete truth to say that seafood is full of bad cholesterol. Research shows that seafood contains a high concentration of cholesterol, but not as much as previously believed. And besides, seafood is full of healthy fatty acids such as omega-3 which helps reduce bad cholesterol. Just like any balanced diet, seafood can be a great tool to help you keep healthy.
The cholesterol fad
Before medical science became involved, we knew nothing of cholesterol, but that doesn’t mean that the problems associated with it aren’t real. The consequences of not controlling the level of cholesterols in your body can be serious, and many people fail to keep that in mind. The latest fad however is a misconception about cholesterol, with doctors advising regular blood tests. Today many natural remedies for cholesterol control are available.
It’s best to have no cholesterol
No bigger lie exists when it comes to cholesterol, as we explained before, because cholesterol plays an important role in our bodies. You should make sure your cholesterol levels are normal, but beware of lowering them too far. Studies show that a lack of cholesterol in the body can lead to depression or chronic fatigue.
Some foods contain no cholesterol
Another myth, according to research. Every living thing, including animals, plants and bacteria, contain cholesterol. There may be certain species that contain smaller quantities of cholesterol certainly, but no living being exists without it. Cholesterol levels are increased in food often by the manner in which they are prepared. Having a grilled steak versus fried food, for example, will change cholesterol levels.
Nuts have high levels of cholesterol
This myth may have been formed due to the fact that nuts do have a high concentration of fats. But the “fats” contained in nuts are actually healthy fats, especially for the brain, and for the entire body overall. So if you have a handful (along with some dried fruit) you will actually be doing yourself a favor. And because nuts help you feel full longer, you’ll avoid consuming junk food that may be high in cholesterol.
The only cause of heart attacks is cholesterol
While cholesterol can be a contributing factor, and can increase the risk, there are many other causes of heart attacks. It’s true that an excess of cholesterol can clog arteries, but that condition is also caused by salt, stress or as a result of a sedentary lifestyle. So blaming the disease only on cholesterol isn’t entirely true.
You should take medication to reduce cholesterol
That depends on various factors. For example, a person with an extremely high level of cholesterol often cannot afford to wait for the body to break it down naturally. And some homemade remedies can often make the issue worsen. In the case of those who have low cholesterol levels, it’s not necessary to take pills, only change their diet to include more fruits, vegetables and whole-grain cereals.