Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Considering Cholesterol and You

Your body actually needs fat, and here’s another sentence that may blow your (nutritional) mind: Every healthy body needs cholesterol. Look carefully and you find cholesterol in and around your cells, in your fatty tissue, in your organs, and in your glands. What’s it doing there? Plenty of useful things. For example, cholesterol
  • Protects the integrity of cell membranes
  • Helps enable nerve cells to send messages back and forth
  • Is a building block for vitamin D (a sterol), made when sunlight hits the fat just under your skin (for more about vitamin D)
  • Enables your gallbladder to make bile acids, digestive chemicals that, in turn, enable you to absorb fats and fat-soluble nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K
  • Is a base on which you build steroid hormones such as estrogen and testosterone

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