Cholesterol is a fat (or lipid) very important for life

Cholesterol is a fat (or lipid) very important for life. It is, in fact, a structural component of the membrane of all cells.

But not only: it is an essential component of the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve cells, where it acts as an insulator and allows the nerve impulse to transmit without dispersing. And yet: it serves the body to produce sex hormones and steroids, it becomes part of the bile acids necessary for the digestion of fats, and is the precursor of vitamin D, essential for regulating calcium metabolism and keeping bones in good condition and teeth.

Cholesterol, therefore, is essential to life, so much so that our body is able to synthesise it even when it is completely lacking in the diet.

The organ that most needs cholesterol is the brain.

Cholesterol is a discovery by the German pathologist Mailer in 1775. Mailer showed that in the hardened and restricted human arteries there was a greasy and yellow substance: cholesterol.

In 1932 the cholesterol structure was chemically defined. To understand the value of cholesterol a blood sample is taken, with which the presence of total cholesterol, HDL (called good cholesterol) and triglycerides will be obtained.

  • Cholesterol journey

Most of the cholesterol present in the body is produced by the liver, while the rest is introduced with food. Both, however, are found in the intestine.

Once assimilated, food cholesterol is transported through the blood from the intestine to the liver. From here, together with most of the cholesterol produced by the liver itself, it returns to the intestine through the bile, whose function is to make the substances contained in foods better assimilable from the intestine.

This “journey” of cholesterol can be repeated several times, so that we talk about “recirculation” of cholesterol itself.

  • The two types

It is necessary to distinguish between LDL (bad): low-density lipoproteins that carry between 60% and 80% of the serum cholesterol. By presenting much affinity with the cells of the endothelium of the arteries, they release cholesterol on the wall of the vessels; vice versa HDL (good) lipoproteins perform the opposite function, removing cholesterol from the arteries and bringing it back to the liver.

The significance of the cholesterol present in the VLDL lipoproteins is uncertain.

In simple words, LDLs distribute cholesterol to cells. And this function is positive. Unfortunately during this function, part of the LDL cholesterol is deposited on the inner walls of the arteries forming the plaques. HDL lipoproteins remove excess cholesterol from the artery wall and bring it back to the liver.

It is evident that HDL does not “destroy” LDL, but HDL lipoproteins report cholesterol to the liver. Having high HDL cholesterol reduces the negative effect of LDL on plaque formation.

Today, for a better assessment of the situation, we consider the cardiovascular risk index, ie the ratio between total cholesterol and good HDL cholesterol; this index for a healthy person must be less than 5 for men and 4.5 for women. (total cholesterol / HDL)

A subject with total cholesterol at 250 and good cholesterol at 85 has a risk index at 2.94 and is in a much better condition than those who have total cholesterol at 200 and good at 40, where the risk index is 5 .

The important thing is to understand that: the value of total cholesterol has little relevance.

Regarding the treatment, at any age, 84% of women and 81% of men with hypercholesterolemia are not subjected to any pharmacological treatment; while, respectively, 6% and 5% are not adequately treated (the total cholesterolemia value remains above 240 mg / dl).

We talk of hypercholesterolemia when total cholesterol (LDL plus HDL) is too high. Desirable values ​​are as follows:

  • total cholesterol: up to 200 mg / dl
  • LDL cholesterol: up to 100 mg / dl
  • HDL cholesterol: not less than 50 mg / dl.

Cholesterol is introduced into the body through some foods, but endogenously the human body is able to produce it inside the liver and in the adrenal cortex, for at least 2 grams a day. In reality, our body produces enough cholesterol to cover the need, which is why those who take large quantities of foods rich in cholesterol, runs the risk of increasing the normal levels of this fat in the blood, producing damage to the arteries and cardiovascular diseases.

Inheritability plays a fundamental role in the production and metabolism of cholesterol. Many people are in fact predisposed from birth to suffer from dyslipidemia (increase in fat in blood), due to a hereditary factor.

In the daily diet, the cholesterol intake should therefore not exceed 180-150 mg / dl, and it is also recommended to check the consumption of cholesterol-rich foods: butter, cheese, fresh Edam, Emmenthal, Gruviera, Mascarpone, Pecorino Romano, Provolone, sweetbreads, brain, heart, liver, hen, bacon, veal kidney, tripe, molluscs, cannoli with cream, stuffed snacks, ladyfingers, egg yolk, egg, mayonnaise, ketchup, chicken skin, cold cuts.

Accumulation of cholesterol in the blood does not cause obvious disturbances, although some people with high levels of cholesterol in the blood may experience small ailments such as headaches, dizziness or nausea, but many others do not show symptoms and can discover the problem only through a blood test.

Cholesterol is therefore a hidden enemy, because it attacks and damages our body but we can not immediately notice it.

The main damage that cholesterol brings to our body is arteriosclerosis, a disease of the arteries and veins (blood vessels). In subjects with arteriosclerosis, the blood vessels harden and the space is reduced in the internal diameter due to the passage of blood, which is why we also suffer from hypertension, another cardiovascular disease.

In more chronic and serious cases, the subject may be affected by a myocardial infarction or cerebral thrombosis. This is why it is so important to always be careful and fight cholesterol, because we are all potentially at risk.

To prevent cardiovascular diseases, keep them under control and avoid the most serious consequences may be useful to follow some simple measures, first of all to keep an eye and control what is the most important risk factor for their onset, cholesterol. Essential for life, cholesterol can indeed show a completely different face and turn into a real threat to our lives. To avoid this, it is important to know it, know how and how much to invite it to our table, and what to do when its levels become excessive.

According to the World Health Organization, a sedentary lifestyle doubles the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes mellitus, obesity and cardiovascular mortality and stroke, and increases the risk of hypertension and cancer by 30 percent.

Feel free to share on any of the Social Media listed below and start the "Conversation". As always, thanks for popping in and see you soon.

Tito Rabat
Tito Rabat

Apart for being a busy IT executive, Tito has a passion for cooking for friends and family and is a first class wines connoisseur.

Read other posts from Tito Rabat
A Low Carb Diet for Beginners

Starting a low carb diet can be difficult and overwhelming, especially for beginners. This guide will teach you all the steps you need to take start a low carb diet.


There are different reasons why people decide to avoid or limit the amount of carbohydrates they consume, and they are all good reasons. Although there are many low carb diets available, some are more effective, but one of the best low carb diets is the ketogenic diet.

  • What is a ketogenic diet?

A ketogenic diet or a keto diet consists of very low carbohydrates, moderate protein, and high fat and it’s one of the best diets to lose weight. It might sound too good to be true to many. Below, you will find how the ketogenic diet works.

The human body works like a car engine, and it needs the energy to function. A motor car uses gasoline in its engine while the human body needs glucose. Carbohydrate is the main food that breaks down to generate glucose, which becomes the energy the body needs to function properly. Since ketogenic diet focuses on “low-carbohydrate,” the body does not have enough carbohydrates to convert into glucose, so the body needs to use fat stored to create energy. Now, you must have known why the ketogenic diet is one of the best diets in the world and below, we will check out a quick guide ketogenic diet.

Limit your carb intake

The first step you need to take when you’re practicing ketogenic diet is to start removing items containing a high level of carbohydrates and sugars from your food, which should be reduced in your weekly diet. Start looking at the food in your kitchen, including snacks, baked goods and groceries you buy every week. You should also remove processed foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, refined white flour and other items that help increase glucose storage in your body.

Eat moderate protein

When you’re in keto, excessive protein consumption, depending on the level of tolerance of your body, can often lead to weight gain. Since our body converts excess protein into sugar, we have to calibrate the amount of protein we eat. This will also help you in your keto journey. To eat moderate protein, you have to first, recognize your daily protein tolerance level. Secondly, you need to choose your protein from organic foods.

Fat is important!

Basically, our bodies need energy to function properly. When we drastically reduce our carbohydrate consumption, our body will require another source of energy. Since protein is not an effective source of energy, our body will then use fat as a source of energy, and this is what ketogenic diet is all about. While on keto diet, any fat you consume is used to provide energy for the body. So eat fatty foods when you’re on keto diet. Be sure to know the difference between healthy fat and bad fat.

Drink enough water

While you’re practicing ketogenic diet, your body can hardly keep as much water as it needs, so proper hydration is needed. It is recommended an average adult consumes 2-3 liters of water in a day. A good indication of proper hydration is the color of your urine. If your urine is clear or light yellow, then your body is well hydrated.

Let me know in the comments below.

I will be happy to read and reply all of your comments. also feel free to share on any of the Social Media listed below and start the "Conversation".
As always, thanks for popping in and see you soon.

Franco Nero
Franco Nero

Franco defines itself as a person trapped in a sedentary lifestyle, however, he is an avid fitness "addict" and like, many more in his environment spends vast parts of his leisure time on a gym, running, cycling.

Read other posts from Franco Nero
the need for proper food

The food that we eat provides the body with what it needs. One of its most important jobs is to contribute to the body’s growth and repair. The body is made up of millions of cells. A large proportion of each cell consists of substances called proteins. Proteins are sometimes called the ‘building blocks’ of the body and without them the body cannot grow or repair itself. Some foods are particularly rich in protein, e.g. milk, fish, meat, eggs, cheese.

 Malnutrition is a major cause of serious illness worldwide.

Food for energy
The concept of ‘energy’, is somewhat difficult for many of us to grasp as we usually associate it with work or movement of some kind. In many cases we tend to relate energy to muscular work and we find difficult to explain ourselves that energy can be stored in materials like coal, oil and, in this case, food, and then released.

The release of energy from food through the process of digestion is what follow.
The food that we eat cannot be used by the body unless it has been changed into simple chemical materials; this happens as the food passes down the process of digestion and is turned into materials that can be absorbed by the body.

a good dietWhy does the body need energy?
At this stage, it would be sensible to remind ourselves that the body itself needs energy to keep ourselves alive and well by controlling the most basic functions such as:

  • keep the respiratory system working
  • keep the heart beating and the blood circulating in a proper manner
  • keep itself at the right temperature

Although all foods provide the body with energy, some are richer in starch, some in fats, same in oils than others and so on, all of these can be converted into energy by the body.

In addition to their body-building and energy giving properties, foods contain substances called minerals and vitamins which are essential to the healthy working of the body.

Discriminating from one or another and allowing the intake of safe doses is a good way to avoid non healthy foods and still getting the right amount of energy our body requires on a daily basis.

Let me know in the comments below.

I will be happy to read and reply all of your comments. also feel free to share on any of the Social Media listed below and start the "Conversation".
As always, thanks for popping in and see you soon.

about the author

Apart for being a busy IT executive, Tito has a passion for cooking for friends and family and is a first class wines connoisseur.