The role of cholesterol
This month is National cholesterol month, so today we’re going to speak about the role of cholesterol in your body. But first of all, what is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a “lipid”, which is essentially a type of fat which your liver produces. It can’t be used by your body as a source of energy, unlike other types of fat. It's used throughout your tissues for structure and essential bodily functions.
Lipoproteins are protein-based carriers which encase Cholesterol and all lipids for blood transportation (lipids don't mix with blood and so have to travel through your blood to cells via lipoproteins). Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) contribute to transporting additional Cholesterol to cells in excess, and are sometimes referred to as bad cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) transport excess Cholesterol from tissues and blood back to the liver, lowering cholesterol levels and referred to as good cholesterol.
As you can guess, the aim of staying healthy is to maximise your HDLs (or good cholesterol) and limit your LDLs (bad cholesterol). Bad cholesterol is promoted from trans fat foods, which are foods including margarine, processed food, takeaways and pastries. The process of creating these trans fats foods is through hydrogenation – which is when vegetable oils are converted into solid spreadable fats through heating and chemical manipulation.
Good cholesterol is promoted from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are fats with one or many double bonds and help with the healthy functionality of your cells and metabolism. They can be found in foods such as Olives, Avocado, nuts and seeds.
High LDLs and low HDLs in your system have been linked directly to Cancer, Obesity and Diabetes – so this month I’m urging you all to watch the foods that you put in your body. Junk food is fine in moderation, but make sure you’re balance your fast foods with your healthy, non-processed foods too!