Cholesterol is generally viewed as bad but in fact it can be good and bad as it is present in the body in more than one form. It is important to understand the different types and what each does.
Different types of cholesterol
Cholesterol is naturally present in the body. It is a soft fat-like substance and is found in both the blood and body cells. Cholesterol is either produced by the body itself or is introduced through the diet. Cholesterol provides an important function as it helps produce cell membranes as well as some enzymes, critical for many bodily functions.
Cholesterolis transported round the body in the bloodstream attached to a protein. The combination is known as lipoprotein (lipo = fat). Dependant on the amount/ration the cholesterol is either Low density Lipoprotein (LDL) or High density Lipoprotein (HDL).
This is known as “bad” cholesterol as this material causes deposits of cholesterol in arteries, this makes upapproximately 70% of cholesterol transported in the bloodstream. As it travels round the circulatory system it leaves deposits on the walls of the channels through which it travels. This can restrict the ability for blood to move through these channels and therefore increase risk of blockages and therefore risk of heart attack or a stroke.
HDL is sometimes described as “good” cholesterol, as it prevents cholesterol being deposited in the arteries. HDLmakes up around 20% of the cholesterol in the bloodstream and is made up of higher levels of protein compared to cholesterol. It is generally accepted that higher levels of HDL reduces the risk as it reduces the amount of depositions. This means more cholesterol is passed to the liver where it is removed and leaves the bloodstream.
Reasons for high cholesterol levels in individuals
Effects on the individual
Whilst cholesterol in some forms benefit health it is important to avoid either too high an overall level or imbalance where LDL levels are too high a part of total levels.
Heart disease ,stroke and increased blood pressure can all result from increased levels.
Who is at risk?
It is estimated that 70% of people over 45 years of age have a cholesterol level described as “high” (source British Heart Foundation). As there are no direct symptoms of high cholesterol it is important to be pro-active and get a cholesterol check from your GP. The test is very quick and involves a quick finger prick blood test with results available almost immediately.
Testing at an earlier age can identify if any cause is hereditary and therefore allow adaptation to lifestyle and/or diet to prevent potential problems later in life.
Reducing your cholesterol levels
After ascertaining cholesterol levels there are several simple ways to both improve them and increased general Health and well-being.
It is important to regularly check cholesterol levels with your GP.
|Total Fat per 100g||Saturates||Poly-Unsaturates||Mono-Unsaturates||Cholesterol|
Therefore LoCol contains 75% less saturated fat than Full Fat Cheddar Cheese.
LoCol contains 90% less cholesterol than Full Fat Cheddar Cheese.
LoCol contains ten times the poly-unsaturated fat of Full Fat Cheddar Cheese.