Cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from your body and from food. It is essential to the human body for proper functioning. If your diet is high in cholesterol, your body will respond by producing less cholesterol and increasing the amount of cholesterol it excretes. However, some people genetically produce too much cholesterol regardless of the cholesterol content of their diet.
The terms "good cholesterol" and "bad cholesterol" refer to the way cholesterol is carried in your body. Cholesterol is carried mainly by low density lipoproteins (LDL). It is currently thought that LDL carries cholesterol to the cells and allows it to build up on the arteries. HDL, high density lipoproteins, pick up cholesterol from the cells and carries it to the liver to be broken down. For optimal health, HDL levels should be up, while LDL levels should be down.
Dietary cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin including meat, dairy products and eggs. The American Heart Association recommends that no more than 300mg of cholesterol be consumed per day. Because the body regulates cholesterol, the amount of saturated fat in your diet is more detrimental to your blood cholesterol level than dietary cholesterol alone.