Cholesterol - found in eggs & cheese - is essential for life. However, high cholesterol has been blamed for coronary heart disease. And so we have been long told to reduce our intake of cholesterol-rich foods – such as eggs & cheese. And are now told to take statins to help reduce cholesterol levels in our blood.
Cholesterol. Know your number?
Why we need cholesterol Connecting brain cells: the crucial links (synapses) between the nerve cells (neurons) in our brains are made almost entirely of cholesterol. Producing vitamin D, which we need for strong bones and protection against diseases, including some cancers. Vitamin D is synthesised from cholesterol by the action of sunlight on our skin. Creating cell membranes, the coating that keeps our cells’ structures intact. Building sex hormones (oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone). Producing bile, which helps with food digestion. Fighting infection: lipo-proteins, which carry cholesterol, bind to viruses and bacteria and deactivate them.
Advice for preventing heart disease
If you smoke, stop immediately. Take exercise. Walk everywhere. Or get a pet dog, you can take for a walk. Go out in the sunshine. Reduce areas of negative stress at work and at home. Eat more fats (including some saturated fats), fewer highly processed foods and less sugar in all forms.