Cholesterol: no longer a “Nutrient of concern”

Cholesterol: The Good and the Bad, reiterated

Greasy Food

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Cholesterol has a bad reputation, its name linked to heart attacks, strokes, and other types of cardiovascular disease. Yet cholesterol is as necessary for human health as water or air.

Cholesterol comes from two sources – the body and food. The liver secretes 75% of the cholesterol that circulates in blood, and the remaining 25% comes from the food that we eat. At normal levels, cholesterol actually plays an important role in functioning of the cells. But cholesterol levels are precariously high in more than 100 million Americans.

There are two types of cholesterol, namely High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is good cholesterol, which helps remove bad cholesterol and prevents it from accumulating inside the arteries. The optimal score is 60. LDL known as the bad cholesterol, when combines with other substances clog the arteries. Usually food diet with high saturated fats and trans fats tend to increase LDL. For most people, an LDL score below 100 is healthy, but people with heart disease may need to aim even lower. Daily cholesterol intake for a healthy individual is 300 mg and 200 mg for people at higher risk.

Doctors’ and nutritionists’ advise include:

  • Be conscious about the quality and quantity of food when not eating home cooked food.
  • Watch out for hidden salt, calories, and saturated fats.
  • Choose broiled, baked, steamed and grilled foods instead of fried.
  • Managing cholesterol in the diet begins from grocery store.
  • Read the nutrition labels, serving sizes.

A study from Harvard Medical School suggests that moderate amount of cholesterol consumption is no longer a “Nutrient of concern”. The Panel (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) suggests that the dietary guidelines stop warning about cholesterol in food, according to the committee’s December 2014 meeting.

So, to reiterate, know your cholesterol scores for happy and healthy living!

More on this topic can be read here.

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