How much do you really know about cholesterol? Even if you think you know everything there is to know, you might be surprised to read the following misconceptions about cholesterol, its role within your body and why—sometimes—cholesterol isn’t a bad word.
Myth 1: Cholesterol is always a bad thing.
Cholesterol is essential for the proper and normal functioning of our system. Cholesterol is found in the membrane of living cells and acts as a barrier against harmful chemicals, prevents cell components from going outside the cell and plays an important role in the formation of sex hormones.
Myth 2: High cholesterol only happens to older adults.
It may seem that high cholesterol levels are more common in older individuals, but they can occur in younger people too. With today’s pressures of life and stress levels being so high, more young people have high cholesterol and as a result, more heart conditions.
In fact, the National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that everyone over the age of 20 get their cholesterol checked at least every 5 years. In the age of fast food and video games, high cholesterol also has been noted in children early as their preteens. Therefore, especially if high cholesterol is hereditary in your family, you may want to get your children checked earlier than 20 years of age.
Myth 3: Only people who are overweight need to be concerned with high cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol levels are generally are a result of the food that you eat which include several other factors and are not dependent on your weight. Thin people can also have high cholesterol if they eat poorly. Therefore, it is essential to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet regardless of your weight.
Myth 4: Food is heart-healthy if it says “0 mg cholesterol”
The cholesterol portion of the nutritional label refers to dietary cholesterol, which is only one of the things found in food that can cause your cholesterol to go sky-high. The bigger contributor to elevated cholesterol is a high-fat diet. Saturated fat (found in animal foods and dairy products) and trans fats (found in packaged foods) appear to have a far greater impact on low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called bad cholesterol.
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