I am so tired of seeing so many cholesterol drug advertisements on TV! However you may be surprised to know cholesterol isn’t the enemy or the problem! In fact, cholesterol is very important for many functions in our body.
Cholesterol is actually a sterol or a modified type of steroid our body makes. Sterols are also found in plants and other animal tissues because every animal or mammal cell membrane must have cholesterol for membrane health.
Some Doctors want you to take cholesterol lowering medications even if your cholesterol isn’t high; their premise is to prevent high cholesterol. In some cases they go to extremes; a recent paper published in the American Journal of Cardiology by Dr. Darrell Francis of the Imperial College in London suggested that fast food restaurants should provide free cholesterol-lowering medications along with their cholesterol carrying cheeseburgers and fries. Why you ask? To offset the harmful health effects of these fat rich foods. I understand their frustration because people eat so unhealthy and high cholesterol is killing people through heart disease and stroke.
Your body makes 800 to 1500 mg’s of cholesterol daily. It is not an essential nutrient or fat we need to obtain from our diet. Cholesterol in your diet only comes from animal foods like milk, red meats, pork, eggs, poultry etc…. Cholesterol is not found in any plant foods, however, other sterols are and they help remove excess cholesterol from our body.
Cholesterol sure gets a lot of attention but cholesterol isn’t the evil it is made out to be. It gets the bad rap because it’s finger prints (higher amounts of LDL and lower amounts of HDL) are found in your blood. And because it is present in levels above what is deemed a safe amount, we are taught to believe that cholesterol is the enemy and we must take drugs to lower it. This simply isn’t true unless you have a condition causing your body to make excessive amounts of cholesterol.
The types of cholesterol
To carry fats in water (which our body is about 70% of) fats must be bound to proteins because proteins are water friendly and fats are not. But really it’s not cholesterol, its VLDL, LDL or HDL. These are the acronyms for types of fat carrying protein molecules. VLDL stands for very low-density lipo (lipo means fat) protein. Then LDL would mean low-density lipo-protein and HDL means high-density lipo-protein.
Cholesterol is vital for our health and necessary for functions in the body such as to make sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), bile, cortisol and is essential for making Vitamin D in our bodies. Cholesterol is also vital for cell membrane health and very important for our brain health. Cholesterol is very important.
Why is cholesterol a problem?
Because of sugar and foods that turn to blood sugar very quickly. Higher amounts of sugar in your blood causes sores and ulcers to form in your veins and arteries. To heal them the body uses cholesterol as a patch. This is also called plaque. The American diet is so rich in sugar foods that it causes cholesterol to stay in the blood constantly patching sores. To make it very simple to understand, its sugars and any flour based food plus food where there is little to no fiber that is causing the cholesterol problem. Here are a few foods that will cause your body to use cholesterol in a damaging way. Lets see, cereals, sugary drinks, chain based smoothies, cola’s, pastries, candies, cookies, crackers, breads, stuffing, too much high sugar fruit and too many grains.
Reducing Cholesterol levels
If you have higher levels of cholesterol and need to reduce the levels, your NutriBullet is a great tool to help you lower the numbers. A diet rich in fiber helps remove dietary cholesterol and bile from the body.
- Eat fiber rich foods (at least 30 grams of fiber daily)
- 1 to 2 ounces of nuts and seeds every day
- Exercise particularly intense intervals (get doctors approval before exercising)
- If you smoke quit!
- Avoid foods with added sugars
- Avoid or highly limit the intake of fatty animal foods (red meats, pork, dairy)
Best foods to reduce cholesterol
- Leafy greens
- Cruciferious veggies (kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy)
- Omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, sardines, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts)
- Rice bran and rice bran oil
- Beans, peas and lentils
- Red yeast rice
- Oily nuts and seeds (walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds,)
- Flax seed and flax seed oil
- Raw chocolate
- Green tea
- Whole, low glycemic grains (oats, wild rice, buckwheat, amaranth)
- Olive oil
- Acai berries
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach
The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.