Let’s take a closer look at cholesterol today and its role in heart health.
Most people think of cholesterol as a bad thing. However, cholesterol actually plays a very important role in the functioning of the body and is vital to our health.
Are you confused about what you should eat and what you should avoid? Well, you are not alone.
So, what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and helps to perform thousands of functions in the body.
In fact, around 80 percent of the cholesterol that’s in your body was made by your liver. So it stands to reason that the healthier your liver is, the better your cholesterol level will be.
Cholesterol is required by the body for vital functions and without it we would die!
Some of its functions in the body are:
- Proper functioning and building of cell membranes and tissues and even your brain cells
- Aids in the production of hormones such as estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, aldosterone and cortisol and vitamin D.
- It helps bile production in the liver
Did you know that 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol!
Cholesterol doesn’t cause heart disease. Inflammation in the artery wall is the key contributor to heart disease.
Without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol can accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes.
Inflammation damages the lining of your arteries. It actually causes wear and tear to the once smooth inner lining of artery walls.
Once you’ve developed lesions in your arteries, the cholesterol in your bloodstream comes along and tries to repair this damage. Remember, cholesterol plays a vital role in the healing and repair of tissues in your body.
So, if you want to lower cholesterol,
you want to focus on lowering your inflammation
Recent evidence shows, that it is likely statins’ ability to lower inflammation that accounts for the benefits of statins, not their ability to lower cholesterol.
What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation?
Hint: Healthy dietary fats don’t cause high cholesterol.
The following factors all contribute to inflammation in your body:
- Imbalance in gut bacteria (dysbiosis)
- Fungal infections (candida)
- Stress (constant psychological, emotional or physical stress raises the level of cortisol, creating inflammation)
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of exercise
- Environmental toxicity (from food, water, air and heavy metals, household and personal care products)
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Diets high in sugar, alcohol, refined and processed foods and hydrogenated fats
The overwhelming cause of excessive inflammation in our body is poor dietary and lifestyle choices.
So what can you do?
One of the most impactful ways to lower your cholesterol with diet is to eat fiber rich foods like plenty of fruits and veggies, berries, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, and whole grains; foods high in omega 3 fats like wild salmon, walnuts, chia and flaxseeds; healthy fats (yes, that’s right, quality fats do not cause heart disease) like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados; and quality organic grass fed, free range protein…
Other tips to help lower cholesterol/inflammation are exercise, getting enough quality sleep and finding ways to better cope with stress.
Show your gut some love
Consume fermented foods daily to restore beneficial gut flora, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, miso, kombucha. High cholesterol is related to chronic inflammation and good gut bacteria helps regulate inflammation in the body.
And ditch those over-processed hydrogenated “trans” fats found in prepared ”convenience” food, refined sugar and processed food (which are the true culprits). True health begins in the kitchen with wholesome nutrient dense and delicious food.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t be concerned about high cholesterol?
There are many variables at play. Cholesterol itself is not the enemy, but rather a symptom of other imbalances within the body that are contributing to chronic inflammation. Remember that symptoms are your body’s language. Listen up!
Learn to make sense of it all
Want extra support for creating healthy habits?
I know it can seem overwhelming and confusing when you are starting out on your health journey, but it all starts with making small changes and knowing where to turn when you need a little guidance.
Would you like some guidance in setting realistic and attainable health goals?
If you are ready to make some changes regarding your health and don’t know where to start, I am here to help!
Click here and book a 30 Minute Free Coaching Call.
We can discuss your health concerns, health goals and some simple strategies and you can determine if a holistic approach is right for you.