Like hypertension, gout, gerd, cancer, etc. many people are so confused as to how to eat to reverse/improve these health conditions. Cholesterol is another one that we tend to get all wrong…….
We’re told to limit our consumption of butter, lard, red meat and eggs, or worse, to go on statins to reduce our blood cholesterol levels, but yet, our ancestors seem to have thrived on those foods without the predicted heart problems.
Here’s The Skinny On Cholesterol & What to eat to improve it…….
There’s cholesterol all over your body, it’s an essential constituent of all the cells of your body and also metabolizes all the sex hormones and fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. Without it, you’d be dead in no time.
Also note that if you consume more cholesterol in your diet, your body will DOWN regulate its own production to match its needs so this way you don’t get too much of it.
The opposite happens when you reduce your consumption or take drugs to reduce it, your body UP-regulates the production and tries to make more for what’s missing.
HDL and LDL cholesterol…
HDL for which everybody recognizes as the “good cholesterol” is in fact a transporter that takes excess cholesterol in the blood and brings it back to the liver. On this point, conventional wisdom and the Paleo principles don’t differ, high HDL is a GOOD thing and the more the better.
LDL is what is known as the “bad cholesterol”. LDL, like HDL, is NOT cholesterol, but a transporter of cholesterol, one that takes cholesterol in your liver and transport it through the bloodstream to where it’s needed.
High cholesterol is a symptom, NOT a cause…..
Elevated serum levels of cholesterol is a symptom of an underlining problem in your body, not the cause of the problem. Cholesterol is NOT the bad guy, but it’s there when bad things are happening.
The actual underlining problem is oftentimes INFLAMMATION at the artery level. Cholesterol is then sent to the artery to help and heal the inflammation. If it is successful at it, everything is going to be fine and return to normal.
Otherwise, when the inflammation doesn’t subsides, more cholesterol is sent and starts to accumulate around the artery as a band aid. Then, plaque starts to form and you’re in for future problems…..
Understand, then, that cholesterol is sent to treat a problem, not to cause it. Again The real cause of the problem is inflammation at the artery level.
This inflammation is caused by chronically high levels of insulin, which is caused by excess carbohydrate (pasta, bread, desserts, chips, etc.) consumption. Trans fats and vegetable oils also cause inflammation.
We only really see LDL’s negative consequences when it becomes oxidized by free radicals. A diet high in antioxidants (vegetables and fruits) and low in carbohydrates will reduce factors of oxidation in the body.
Aim for high HDL and low triglycerides…
Triglycerides are fatty acids that are circulating in the bloodstreams. High levels is a bad thing. Again, high triglycerides are caused mainly by chronically high carbohydrate intake from grains (rice, oats, corn, wheat, barley etc) and legumes (beans, peanuts etc)
To reach a higher level of HDL, be sure to reduce your sources of omega-6 fats, mainly from vegetable oils, but also from an excess of nuts. Taking a good quality OMEGA 3 fish oil DAILY is a good idea.
Saturated fats will also raise the good HDL, so LOTS of it is a good thing. Think coconut oil, lard, butter, beef tallow, …
I hope this helped you reduce your fear about cholesterol intake and why it’s actually a GOOD idea to eat foods high in cholesterol. I also hope that you’re now better informed for preventing strokes and atherosclerosis.
So now go ahead and cut the sugars, cut the grains and eat the fat, the meat and the egg yolks. In fact, egg yolks are a nutrition powerhouse and it’s egg whites that we should worry about because of some anti-nutrients and protein inhibitors. This is the absolute opposite to popular belief, not surprisingly!