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Making Sense of Foods

Understanding Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in your bloodstream and in your body's cells. Every animal cell, whether from a human or any other animal, contains some of it, because cholesterol is important in cell membrane production, hormone production, and some cell functions.

But cholesterol can be dangerous. When there is too much of it in your bloodstream, it increases your risk of heart disease. It is also a risk factor for stroke.

Food choices affect your blood cholesterol level. Your body tissues produce all the cholesterol you need, so there is no need to consume any in your diet. If you consume cholesterol—that is, if you consume animal products (virtually all of which contain cholesterol)—or if you eat foods that contain significant amounts of saturated fat, you will end up with more cholesterol in your bloodstream. More on this below.


Understanding Cholesterol: “Good” and “Bad” Cholesterol >>