Cholesterol is a steroid lipid (fat) found in the blood of all animals and is necessary for proper functioning of our cell membranes and production of hormones. While there can be negative health effects associated with low cholesterol, cholesterol deficiency is rare. Our bodies already manufacture all the cholesterol we need, so it is not necessary to consume more.
Excessive consumption of cholesterol may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, especially in certain groups which are sensitive to dietary cholesterol. (2)
Individuals with a family history of high cholesterol - Regulation of cholesterol blood levels is hereditary and it is advisable to find out if relatives have high cholesterol levels.
Older Adults - Cholesterol levels rise with age, particularly in post-menopausal women.
Over-weight Individuals - Being over-weight increases risk of heart disease and tends to correlate with high cholesterol levels.
People with Low Physical Activity Levels - Excersize is an effective way to lower bad cholesterol levels (LDLs) and raise good cholesterol levels (HDLs). People who are not physically active are at risk for high cholesterol levels.
Individuals with high blood pressure - High blood pressure in combination with high cholesterol levels greatly increases the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.
Smokers - Individuals who smoke cigarettes have a higher risk of heart disease and should avoid high cholesterol foods.