Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found naturally in the
body. It is important for the structure of our cell membranes and
is essential for many metabolic processes. Our body also uses
cholesterol for hormone production, and to help the body produce
Cholesterol is only found in animal based foods, not plant
foods. It is essential in the body but when we have more than we
need, it can become a problem.
Cholesterol in the body comes from two sources. The majority
comes from the body's natural production of cholesterol from the
liver, with about a third coming from the diet. About half of the
cholesterol we eat (dietary cholesterol) is absorbed by the
There are two main types of cholesterol in our blood:
- Low density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol (the 'bad' type);
- High density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol (the 'good'
Cholesterol may become a problem when your LDL cholesterol is
too high, as it carries the cholesterol that is delivered to your
Having more of the 'good' or HDL cholesterol is beneficial to
heart health as it helps to remove excess cholesterol out of your
cells, including the cells in your arteries2.