Cholesterol has been a raising problem for people in our nation during the past few years. Heck, even a bit of my family have had high levels of bad cholesterol threatening their health. But what is it? These big words I keep hearing just make my head hurt. “Hi-density lipoproteins” or “Low-density lipoproteins”. GAH. Boring sciency stuff! It burns. Fear not readers. I did all the boring research for you so you can figure cholesterol out in the simplest way possible. This will be as pain-less as possible so you can go back to looking at random shiny things in the window.
So lets go to the beginning, starting with what cholesterol is. It is a type of protein called a “lipid”. Lipids are designed to store energy. But lipids cannot dissolve in blood so that they can travel your body through the bloodstream. Instead, they cling onto proteins and use them as a ride. Once the lipid and protein combine, they are then called lipoprotein. These proteins make their was to your liver, where they are processed and sent through your body.
Now there are two types of cholesterol. One is called “Low-density lipoproteins”(LDL) and the other being “Hi-density Proteins” (HDL). Our bodies automatically create over 1,000 HDL or good cholesterol cells a day. This send energy to our cells and helps out bodies to process fats and other materials. If we intook no extra cholesterol, then we would be completely fine. However, that is often not the case. LDL or bad cholesterol slowly builds up in the inner walls of our arteries that are used to give blood to our brain, our muscles, and our heart. When enough cholesterol builds up and begins to clot, it is called atherosclerosis. Depending on where the clot is, it can cause a number of different problems like heart attacks and strokes.
HDL or good cholesterol on the other hand is the helpful one. The lipoproteins break down fats and other materials in our bodies so that we can turn food into energy. Not only that, but high levels of it have also been known to get rid of LDL where it carries it off the liver to be cycled out of the body.
Now cholesterol can only be ingested through animal products meaning that anything from meat to eggs to ice cream are all high in cholesterol. Plant-based foods like lentils, beans, and spinach have no cholesterol in them and will not affect you. But you do not have to be a vegan to have good cholesterol. Just watch what you eat and go easy on the burger and cheese fries next time you are hungry. And if you must have the burger, try a side salad every once in a while. If only they knew this in the days of Homer Simpson.
Cholesterol-Watching Health Freax Unite!!
-Andrew “VegMuffinMan” Morrison-