Originating from the French cholesterol, the concept of cholesterol describes an alcohol of the steroidal type, white and that cannot be dissolved in water. It is an appreciable sterol in body tissues and in the blood of vertebrate organisms, especially in the liver, pancreas, spinal cord and brain.
Cholesterol, according to medical experts, was discovered by Michel Eugène Chevreul from the analysis of gallbladder stones. Over the years it was noticed that the structure of each cholesterol molecule includes a polar head (formed by the hydroxyl group) and an apolar portion or tail (constituted by the aliphatic substituents and the condensed nuclei).
The level of cholesterol in the body can be increased exogenously from the consumption of certain foods, such as red meat and egg yolk, for example.
It is important to keep in mind that cholesterol is not always harmful to health. On the contrary, it is essential for life since it is a precursor of sex hormones, vitamin D, bile salts (which aid in digestion) and lipid rafts.
The essential point is that the body requires a certain amount of cholesterol in the blood to meet its needs. Problems appear with excess, which causes atherosclerosis of vital arteries and can lead to the development of coronary and cerebrovascular diseases.
Specialists recommend eating foods with a low amount of saturated fat and the development of physical activities to prevent the cholesterol level from reaching values that are harmful to health.
Cholesterol and cardiovascular risk
According to DigoPaul, there are two types of cholesterol: the bad (which is deposited in the arteries and clogs them) and the good (which binds to the HDL particle and carries excess cholesterol to the liver, where it is destroyed)
The real danger that high cholesterol implies for the body is the possibility of a hypercholesterolemic crisis. According to studies, it is known that those who have a blood cholesterol level higher than 240 have twice the risk of suffering a heart attack than those with a level lower than 200.
This is due to the fact that there comes a time when the cells are not able to absorb all the cholesterol that travels in the blood and the excesses begin to accumulate on the walls of the arteries and slowly clog them, leading to arteriosclerosis. The solution to this problem is to eat a balanced diet in order to prevent bad cholesterol from rising too high; if they have suffered myocardial infarctions, prevention must be more exhaustive to avoid new crises.
The best way to avoid cardiovascular accidents and to balance our cholesterol is by eating a healthy diet that does not contain saturated fat. The most recommended diet is the Mediterranean one because it provides a contribution in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, present in fish and oils, which considerably favors the control of excess cholesterol.
Veganism and cholesterol
The vegan philosophy is based on respect for nature and includes a nutritious diet that does not include meat or any product of animal origin. Although there are many detractors who claim that the human being needs meat because it is the main source of protein and that some people who follow a vegan diet have manifested health problems due to low blood cholesterol, it is known that a A balanced vegan diet is the ideal way to stay healthy.
Vegans who eat orderly show bad cholesterol levels much lower than those present in people who eat meat and do not usually suffer from cardiovascular problems; This is because vegan foods are low in saturated fat and contain almost no cholesterol (present in abundance in animal products), which prevents levels from skyrocketing.
But a vegan diet not only brings benefits to keep cholesterol balanced; it also helps control diabetes (insulin-dependent patients could be favored to the point of reducing their insulin dose) and prevent the formation of kidney or gallstones. But fundamentally, veganism brings you closer to nature in general and animals in particular and allows you to live in harmony with the environment, contributing your bit so that animal abuse and exploitation disappear from our societies.