Eating too much cholesterol can bring serious health consequences to women and men alike, according to MayoClinic.com. However, not all foods contain cholesterol and some, including “no trans fats” foods, actually don’t consist of dangerous amounts of this nutrient. Understanding just how the body absorbs cholesterol and what foods are potentially dangerous for the circulatory system is just one key toward enjoying lifelong health.
Sources of Cholesterol
Before cholesterol can even be absorbed in your body, you must eat foods containing it, according to Discovery Health. Animal-based foods, including oils, dairy products and meats, all contain cholesterol; vegetables, fruits and other foods without an animal as its source do not consist of cholesterol. Keep in mind that most adults should eat no more than 300mg of cholesterol each day to promote ideal heart health.
High-fat foods don’t necessarily have a lot of cholesterol, according to Discovery Health. If you are afraid of ingesting too much cholesterol, then read the labels of your favorite foods carefully, especially processed animal meat products. A lower-fat diet is ideal, but that does not necessarily guarantee low cholesterol, although eating more salmon and skim milk, rather than pork and whole milk, can go a long way toward reducing the amount of cholesterol absorbed into your body.
Before cholesterol is absorbed in your body, the food you eat is broken down by chewing it with your mouth, according to Discovery Health. Then, the food travels to your stomach where enzymes break the nutrients down to be literally squeezed through the intestines.
Once the nutrients have made way into your intestines, the jejunum starts its job and literally sucks up the cholesterol, according to Discovery Health. This process, which took about eight hours for most people, is facilitated by proteins manufactured in your digestive system that grab the cholesterol molecules and absorb them into your body. During this process, your body also absorbs essential vitamins like A, D, E and K.
Patients who have had weight loss surgeries, such as the gastric bypass, usually absorb less cholesterol than the average person, due to the rerouting of their intestines, according to the National Institutes for Health. However, even women who had some type of bariatric surgery should keep an eye on their cholesterol intake to avoid problems, such as gallstones and strokes.