Everything You Need to Know About Cholesterol

Wondering what those numbers mean for your heart and your health? Here’s what you should know about your blood cholesterol levels, and how to keep them under control.

To understand how cholesterol affects your health, you must first know what cholesterol actually is.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body requires to build cells and manufacture vitamins and other hormones, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs in your liver. But you can also get cholesterol in the foods you eat. Dietary sources of cholesterol are primarily animal products and include:

  • Meat
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Poultry

These foods contain dietary cholesterol. However, they also tend to be high in saturated and trans fat and trigger the liver to make more cholesterol. Other foods, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil, contain saturated fat that can increase so-called “bad” cholesterol.