Cholesterol is a waxy naturally occurring fat that is made by the liver. Cholesterol is a paradox. On one hand, it contributes to such vital bodily functions as building new cells, insulating nerves, and producing hormones. On the other hand, it is a potential killer due to its association to various cardiovascular diseases. The risk of developing these cardiovascular problems is complex and depends not only how much cholesterol but also what kind of cholesterol you have in your blood. Generally speaking, LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the so called bad cholesterol, is associated with increased risk of dying from coronary heart disease; HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol is associated with decreased risk. This is because the LDLs serve on raw material to clog coronary arteries; in contrast, the HDLs gobble up the LDLs, and cart them to the liver, where they are annihilated. Obviously, the more HDL and the less LDL you have in your blood, the safer your arteries.
It is believed that oxygen free radicals play a important role in clogging coronary arteries when combined with LDLs. When oxygen free radicals in the blood collide with fatty LDLs, they oxidize the LDLs. The LDLs then turn rancid and are quickly gobbled up by the cell, called macrophage. Stuffed with fat globules, the macrophages enlarge into dreaded foam cells, which insinuate themselves into artery walls, triggering artery destruction. LDL cholesterol is not so dangerous to arteries unless it is converted into a toxic form by oxygen free radicals in your blood.
Mounting scientific evidence has indicated that eating foods packed with protective antioxidants, can block LDLs toxic transformation, therefore, may intervene at the very genesis of atherosclerosis, at every stage of life, blocking the cascade of arterial event that create clogged arteries, heart attacks, and strokes. Foods are powerful weapons in combating your cholesterol problems and other cardiovascular diseases!