Thursday, 5 June 2014

Floppy Thrift Shop Dresses / Bad Cholesterol?

Dress is thrifted | cardigan and basket are thrifted | necklace c/o Eccentric Electricity | shoes are Naot | tights are OKOK

This week Craft n' Crumble Tuesday also became Craft, Crumble and CAMERA Tuesday (eh, eh?) with me and the wonderful Katie deciding to put on our very best floppy thrift shop dresses to take these rather silly photos. And no, we weren't going on a picnic or anything - this picnic basket is apparently just Katie's new handbag now. I like it.

So guess who got full marks on their biochemistry blog-post assignment! ;___; 
I also got the loveliest feedback, not only from my professor but from all of you guys as well, so thank you! It was so good reading all of the insightful comments that you left, and feeling all warm and fuzzy about the fact that I have such intelligent people coming to read what I write here. I might stop now before I get too sappy, but I love you guys!

I definitely want to do more biochemistry and genetics posts, because it really seemed like you guys were interested in that, plus it's my passion! So I'll bring you some interesting tidbits from the stuff I've been studying (it'll help me study, as well. Win win)!
The chemical structure of cholesterol, for all you chemistry nerds out there.

Today I'm going to give you the rundown on cholesterol. It's actually pretty fascinating.
For all the bad press that cholesterol gets, it's actually an extremely important molecule to have in your body. Remember how we talked about cells? Well the thing that keeps all the water, DNA, proteins and other useful stuff inside each cell is something called a membrane. These membranes are partly made up of fats. Cholesterol slots into the membranes, gives them strength and also makes them flexible and impermeable so you can import things in and out of the cell. It's also used in making hormones.

And it's so important that your body actually makes its own cholesterol.

So then, you might ask, what's with all the bad rap that cholesterol gets? Well, every cell in your body is able to "take in" cholesterol. Unfortunately, you have one type of cell in your body called a macrophage (a type of white blood cell) which is totally cholesterol-happy. 
Macrophages just can't get enough of that sweet sweet cholesterol, and will gobble it up whenever they see the chance. Unfortunately, when the cholesterol levels in your blood are way too high, the macrophages ingest WAY too much cholesterol, become all foamy, die, and make plaques which stick onto your blood vessels. Too much of this, and undesireable things like strokes and heart attacks ensue - and that's why too much cholesterol is a bad, bad thing.
What I imagine macrophages look like when they come across cholesterol.

So to stop your macrophages from overdosing on delicious cholesterol, you obviously need to limit the amount of cholesterol you are eating. Cholesterol-rich foods include meat and dairy, so going easy on these can help. Remember that your body also makes its own cholesterol - if you don't eat any, your body will compensate and just make more.

So what you really want to do is to eat things which compete with cholesterol absorption from the gut. Many plants are rich in cholesterol-inhibitors called phytosterols and eating lots of these can reduce the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream.

There is also a link - which is still not very well understood - between polyunsaturated fats (think vegatable oils and fish) lowering the amounts of blood cholesterol, and producing more of these special proteins called HDLs which "mop up" excess cholesterol from your blood before those darn macrophages get to it.

I hope you guys learnt something new, and I also hope that you're having a great day!

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  1. Both of those dresses are absolutely fantastic, with such perfect prints! Amazing :)

  2. I love your cardigan! I've seen you wearing it before and every time I think "I really need a beige crochet cardigan!". By the way, congratulations for your good marks and keep up the science posts ;)

  3. I love that you describe everything. Everyone just says "cholesterol will form plaque and clog your arteries!" It is good to know HOW the plaque is made.

  4. You really are amazing!!!

  5. that picture of a macrophage is cracking me up XD

    1. Haha, I always make ridiculous anthropomorphisms of cells/proteins. It really helps me to study by making silly cartoons out of kinda abstract, difficult concepts!

  6. This was a great mish-mash post. I LOVE your spotty dress, and the cholesterol info was interesting! I also quite fancy using a basket as a handbag.

    anyway, would you like to follow each other on gfc/bloglovin and instagram?



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