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WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF CHOLESTEROL IN THE BODY?
JANUARY 1, 2013
| By Kristie Jernigan
Most people think of cholesterol in a negative way. However, cholesterol actually plays a very important role in the functioning of the body. According to The Mayo Clinic, cholesterol is found in every cell in our body and without it our bodies would not function properly. Understanding why it is there and the purpose it serves is something everyone should be aware of.
TYPES OF CHOLESTEROL
According to The American Heart Association cholesterol cannot be dissolved in the blood and has to be carried to and from thecells by lipoproteins. Lipoproteins come in two basic types. The first is the low density cholesterol (LDL) which is also known as the "bad" cholesterol. The second type is the high density cholesterol (HDL) which is known as the "good" cholesterol. Research indicates that high density cholesterol seems to guard against heart problems while the low density causes buildup on the artery walls which lead to heart disease. Another type of "bad" cholesterol is the LP(a) which is a genetic variation of the LDL "bad" cholesterol. The LP(a), LDL and HDL along with triglycerides which is a form of fat made in the body, make up the total cholesterol count in the human body.
One of the most important jobs of cholesterol is to aide in the production of hormones. Cholesterol is stored in the adrenal glands, ovaries and the testes and is converted to steroid hormones. These steroid hormones perform other vital duties to help the body function properly. According to 3DChem.com, without steroid hormones we will have malfunctions with weight, sex, digestion, bone health and mental status.
Cholesterol plays an important role in our body's digestion. Cholesterol is used to help the liver create bile which aids us in digesting the food that we eat. Without the bile our bodies are unable to properly digest foods, especially fats. When the fat goes undigested it can get into the bloodstream and cause additional problems such as blockages of the arteries and cause heart attacks and heart disease.
Cholesterol is a structural component of cells. Cholesterol along with polar lipids make up the structure of each and every cell in our bodies. Cholesterol is there to basically provide a protective barrier. When the amount of cholesterol increases or decreases, the cells are affected. This change can affect our ability to metabolize and produce energy. This can ultimately affect other aspects of our bodies' function such as food intake and digestion.
HOW TO LOWER LDL CHOLESTEROL NATURALLY
Consume a balanced diet that focuses on whole, plant-based foods. Cholesterol is only found in animal food products. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, fish and poultry. Limit your intake of these products and switch to lean and low-fat versions to help lower your LDL cholesterol. Whole, plant foods also contain plant sterols and stanols that help block the absorption of cholesterol.
Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of cardiovascular exercise, five to seven days a week. If you cannot fit exercise into your schedule, try to perform the exercise in 10-minute time periods. Park farther away from your office and walk up the stairs to obtain 10 minutes of exercise in the morning. Walk outside for 10 minutes of your lunch break, and at the end of the day add in a walk or bike ride at home for 10 minutes. Exercising with a buddy can also help you stick to an exercise program and improve your motivation and mental state.
Lose weight. Even if you are only 5 to 10 lbs. overweight, losing those last few pounds should lower your cholesterol, according to MayoClinic.com. To lose the weight, look at your exercise and eating habits. If you are consuming more calories than you burn each day, you may be putting on pounds. Exercise more or cut back on calories. It may also be effective to eat five to six mini-meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism going and to prevent overeating.
Choose healthy fats. Despite what many dieters claim, not all fat is bad for you. Your body needs fat to function properly and insulate organs. However, to help lower cholesterol, avoid trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats are found in many processed foods including donuts, cakes, crackers, cookies, peanut butter and breads. If the product label reads "partially hydrogenated" or "hydrogenated," the food contains trans fats. Saturated fats are often found in meat and dairy products. Replace these fats with healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados and vegetable oils.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/242743-how-to-lower-ldl-cholesterol-naturally/#ixzz2FH6uhPDg
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/31887-function-cholesterol-body/#ixzz2FH6I41PO
The information given here is for educational purposes only. It is meant to be used as a guide towards health and does not replace the evaluation by and advice of a qualified licensed health care professional. For detailed interpretation of your health and specific conditions, consult with your physician.