What Happens to the Cholesterol You Consume


Graphic Showing Cholesterol Buildup in Artery

Cholesterol is another type of fat that we ingest through our foods. It travels through our bodies easily because it doesn't mix with water. The majority of the human body is water so the only thing fats and cholesterol stick to are one another. When foods that contain cholesterol enter the body, they make their way through the stomach and where the intestines absorb them and transport them to the liver. Once in the liver, cholesterol and other fats are attached to extremely low density lipoproteins and carried throughout the body. As the LDL's travel through the body, they gradually shed all of the molecules of cholesterol.

Build-Up of Cholesterol Plague

High density lipoproteins are also traveling through the blood and collect the fat molecules and cholesterol. People who have very low amounts of HDL's normally end up with high cholesterol levels because there aren't enough to clean up the excessive amount of cholesterol molecules being released by the LDL's. If the cholesterol molecules are allowed to remain in the bloodstream, they can begin to collect together creating sticky masses inside the blood vessels (atherosclerosis). These masses can eventually turn into blockages that damage the heart and restrict blood flow to the brain.

The human body needs cholesterol and other fats to function. Without them, many functions within the body would not be able to take place. Cholesterol is found in foods that come from animals. By limiting the daily amount of calories you receive from fatty meats and dairy products to less than one third of your total, you can begin to reduce your cholesterol levels. Including more plant based foods in the diet is also a good choice. Dietary fiber is an excellent way to help minimize your cholesterol risk.

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