Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, so it’s only logical that we are concerned about our cholesterol levels. To understand how cholesterol impacts us, we first need to know, why is it both good and bad for us?
Cholesterol isn’t all bad, but there are things we all should know about it for the sake of our health.
Here are some interesting facts discovered in the last few years:
1. There is cholesterol in your brain.
What is cholesterol doing in your brain? Well, cholesterol is very important when it comes allowing nerve cells to communicate.
When your nerve cells can’t communicate, that’s when certain diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes develop in your body.
In the brain, cholesterol plays a large role in learning and memory capability. Without cholesterol there would be many changes in the chemistry of your brain that would lead to dysfunctions.
These dysfunctions can eventually cause Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and many other illnesses.
Your brain has more cholesterol than any other part of your body and that cholesterol is important for healthy brain function.
2. Did you know cholesterol is only found in animal based foods?
Animal based foods are only those that come from animals. From their meat to the eggs and milk they produce, cholesterol is found in all of them.
Fortunately, dietary cholesterol isn’t as scary as it used to be. Many studies have shown dietary cholesterol does not have the biggest effect on our bodies.
In fact, a study by the American Heart Association has shown that saturated fats and trans fats have a bigger impact on the rising cholesterol levels in your body.
While trans fats are flat out bad for you and raise your LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, saturated fat has been shown to raise HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol.
Knowing what’s in your food is the first step to eating better. Take a look at the trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol on the label of your next meal. Do you still want to eat it?
3. You can see cholesterol in your eyes.
Your eyes are more than just the window to your soul. They can predict your health!
If you look around your cornea you may be able to see white rims. These rims are a sign of cholesterol build up.
But before you go rushing to the doctor, remember that cholesterol isn’t always bad. The important thing to look out for are any visible, fatty lumps under the skin of your eyelids.
These little lumps can predict future heart issues. If you find any, it’s time to go see the man in the white coat and run some tests.
Cholesterol can be a scary topic, but with more research we are beginning to see how important it is to our bodies.
So next time you feel guilty about adding a little butter to your meal or adding an extra egg to that omelet, remember, as long as you keep trans fats low and saturated fats moderate you don’t need to be worried about damage to your heart.