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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diet and Nutrition > Cholesterol: Functions and Sources
      Category : Health Centers > Cholesterol


Alternate Names : Dietary Cholesterol, Blood Cholesterol

Cholesterol | Functions and Sources

In what food source is the nutrient found?

Foods from animal sources that are also high in saturated fats tend to be high in cholesterol. In fact, cholesterol is only found in animal products. These include dairy products, meat, fish, poultry, and fats. For example:

  • A large egg yolk has about 213 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol.
  • Three and 1/2 ounces of lean ground beef has 78 mg.
  • An 8-ounce glass of 1% fat milk has 10 mg.
  • An 8-ounce glass of nonfat or skim milk has 4 mg.
  • Some foods, such as nuts, have no cholesterol, even though they are high in fat. Some foods are low in fat but high in cholesterol. For example, a 3-ounce serving of shrimp has 1.5 grams of fat but contains 129 mg of cholesterol. For most people, it is the amount of saturated fat in their diets that raises blood cholesterol levels. However, cholesterol in foods also matters.

    How does the nutrient affect the body?

    A person's blood cholesterol level is influenced by two factors. One is the saturated fat and cholesterol a person eats. The second is how much cholesterol his or her body makes. Cholesterol is made in the liver.

    Cholesterol is a part of every cell in the body. It has some valuable functions in the body. It is used to make certain hormones and bile, which is needed for digestion of fat. Sunlight can help a substance containing cholesterol in the skin change to vitamin D.

    The body produces all the cholesterol it needs. When too much cholesterol is consumed, the body cannot get rid of the excess. Cholesterol can build up on the insides of blood vessel walls. This results in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. LDL cholesterol is the main source of buildup on the blood vessel walls. HDL carries cholesterol back to the liver and can prevent buildup on the blood vessel walls.

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    Cholesterol: Overview & Description


    Author: Sandy Keefe, RN, MSN
    Reviewer: Susan Harrow Rago, RD, MS
    Date Reviewed: 06/08/01

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