Thursday, November 1, 2012


Cholesterol and its relationship to health and disease is the hot topic of discussion. Hope you might have come across this term in newspapers, magazines, conversations, advertisements, etc.

What is cholesterol then?
It is a fat-like substance present in foods. Its structure is different from fats and oils(triglycerides).
Animal foods like milk, egg, organ meats, ghee, butter, cream are all rich sources of cholesterol.
Plant foods like vegetable oils(mustard oil, groundnut oil, soya oil), nuts and oils do not contain cholesterol.
We have often seen that some manufacturers of vegetable oils try to mislead the general public by claiming that their products do not contain cholesterol. Now you know that this claim has no basis.

Let me brief the role played by cholesterol in the body:

  • Cholesterol is the structural component of membranes of body cells.
  • The breakdown of cholesterol by the liver produces bile salts. Bile salts are important for the digestion and absorption of fats and some vitamins.
  • It is also necessary for the synthesis of many hormones in the body.
However, extra cholesterol over and above the body needs can be harmful.

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