Cholesterol has become a buzz word and nearly everyone has run to their doctor in fear of their cholesterol level. It has been demonised over the last 20 years and caused us to fear foods like eggs, meat and other healthy fats. However, it may have been wrongly accused all these years.
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is consumed in certain foods and about 75% of it is produced by the liver in accordance with your body’s needs. It is a waxy substance that is used to make hormones, vitamin D, bile for digestion and is a component of all of your cells. It makes up a large part of your brain and is very important for concentration, memory and clear thinking.
The different components that are usually measured for a cholesterol reading are:
• High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
• Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
• Lipoprotein (a)
Cholesterol has a bad reputation because it can line the blood vessels and lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks. However, it is not the cause. Cholesterol is like a “band aid” for the blood vessel when they become damaged and inflamed. The liver produces more cholesterol when there is inflammation and cell damage so inflammation and free radicals are the culprits, not cholesterol.
What you need to know about LDL and HDL Cholesterol
“High cholesterol” is more than likely an invented disease which came about when allopathic doctors learned how to measure blood cholesterol. Don’t forget that this so-called disease is the reason drug companies make a fortune by selling cholesterol lowering drugs each year.
There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol because cholesterol is just a lipoprotein (fats combined with proteins) that the body makes and uses for a myriad of bodily functions. Since blood is watery and fat and water do not mix, cholesterol is a way for the body to transport fat through the blood to and from our cells.
HDL essentially carries cholesterol from your cells back to your liver so that it can be recycled. LDL carries cholesterol away from the liver to the cells that need it.
There may be some risk involved with LDL cholesterol but this is only related to its size. The smaller and denser the LDL particles are, the more chance they have of squeezing into the artery lining, becoming oxidized and building up there. However, this can only happen in the presence of inflammation and free radical damage. The larger, “fluffy” LDL particles are not a risk factor for heart disease and are actually beneficial, despite what you may have heard.
Your total cholesterol level is a very poor indicator of risk. What we really need to know is if you have large and fluffy LDL particles or very dense and small LDL particles. This test is not commonly done now, but I believe it will become standard to measure this in the future. Other tests which may help to indicate whether you have inflammation in the arteries, or very small dense LDL particles, are insulin, blood glucose, Hba1c and CRP.
Your doctor may not be inclined to test for these because he does not understand them. You need to educate yourself and insist on it.
How do I make sure I have a healthy cholesterol ratio?
The key to a healthy cholesterol level and ratio is to stop worrying about the “total cholesterol” level. You need to start focusing on lowering your insulin and blood sugar levels and trying to increase the size of the LDL cholesterol particles. You essentially need to make sure you are not inflamed internally.
These are dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to do this:
• Eat more omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts and seeds or a supplement. This will work to raise your HDL cholesterol.
• Reduce you intake of carbohydrates from grains, processed foods and sugar. If your HDL is quite low you may need to eliminate fruit for a while too until it improves.
• Try to eat as many raw fats from olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds and avocados.
• Exercise each day for at least 20 minutes. This improves circulation and reduces stress.
• Eat free-range and grass-fed eggs and meats.
• Increase your vitamin D levels with sunlight or a supplement.
• Sleep 8-10 hours each night.
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