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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Nutrition - Cholesterol

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is one of the 13 nutrients listed on food labels in Canada. It is found on the Nutrition Facts table on the packaging.

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance. It travels through our bloodstream to make healthy cells and hormones. We all need some cholesterol, but too much cholesterol can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.

High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. There are two types of cholesterol, often referred to as good and bad cholesterol:

 

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)

High-density lipoprotein (HDL)

LDL cholesterol increases the risk for heart attack and stroke. LDL cholesterol is often called bad cholesterol because high levels in the blood promote build-up of plaque in the artery walls, narrowing your arteries. It can make it more difficult for blood to flow through your body.

HDL cholesterol decreases the risk for heart attack and stroke. HDL cholesterol is often called the good cholesterol because it helps carry LDL away from the artery walls.

Both of these numbers are measured when your blood cholesterol is checked. For more information on your blood cholesterol levels, talk to your health care provider.


Where Does Cholesterol Come From?

There are two sources of the cholesterol that flows through our veins. Our livers produce cholesterol from the fats that we eat everyday. Some people's bodies produce more cholesterol than others.

The second source is directly from the food we eat. Foods that come from animals, such as red meat, poultry, dairy products, egg yolks, and certain types of shellfish contain cholesterol. Foods that come from plants do not contain cholesterol. The cholesterol we eat is absorbed into the body and can affect the amount of cholesterol in our blood stream.

The food we eat can impact our cholesterol levels and, as a result, our risk for heart attack and stroke. Saturated fat and trans fat have a particularly big impact on our blood cholesterol levels.




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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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