Cholesterol & Saturated Fat: Understand How They're Connected

When it comes to preventing heart coronary diseases, cholesterol and saturated fat are two substances that are often mentioned together. There is a tight connection between these and you need to learn more details about them, in order to avoid atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. 

Why Is Cholesterol So Important?

Cholesterol represents a waxy substance that is produced by your liver. It plays major parts in the production of hormones and vitamin D, provided that it is good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) and the right amount. However, when the normal limits are exceeded, deposits of cholesterol get formed inside your blood vessels. In time, these deposits will not allow the blood to flow properly and will obstruct the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis in the first phase and even to heart attack (in the more severe cases). In order to keep blood cholesterol levels under control, you need to learn about how foods influence these levels, and in particular, how saturated fat affects blood cholesterol levels. 

How Does Saturated Fat Affect Blood Cholesterol Levels?

Dietary cholesterol, which is available exclusively in foods of animal origin, does not have a remarkable effect on blood cholesterol levels. On the other hand, saturated fat and trans fatty acids lead to significant changes. Saturated fat is available in such foods as:

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Dairy products

Keep in mind that saturated fats are not found only in animal products, so you should also avoid:

  • Palm oil
  • Palm kernel oil
  • Coconut oil

Saturated fats are known to raise the low-density lipoprotein levels. In other words, it means that the amount of bad cholesterol found in your body gets higher, and so does the risk of heart diseases. As a consequence, you need to make sure that the recommended daily intake of saturated fat does not exceed 20 grams. 

Watch Food Labels

Foods that are labeled as having no cholesterol are not necessarily safe. While lacking dietary cholesterol, they may contain high amounts of saturated fat, which is able to increase blood cholesterol levels. Instead, you need to pay more attention to foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are considered healthy fats and do not affect the blood low-density lipoprotein levels. Saturated fats does not play a major role in your nutrition, so minimizing the intake will not have any adverse reactions.  

Many recipes come with nutritional facts, so it will be easy to find out the intake of saturated fat per serving. Besides that, you can use online calculators in order to find out the amount of saturated fat found in a certain food or in a particular ingredient. These will help you to maintain blood cholesterol levels within normal limits. Healthy eating will surely keep heart diseases as distance, while also helping you lose weight.

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