Cholesterol is Misunderstood

Many people misunderstand cholesterol. I'm going to try and clear up some of the confusion and share some advice on how to achieve healthy cholesterol levels.

Cholesterol is a natural by product of the liver and is actually produced as a protective mechanism against inflammation in the body.

Normal cholesterol is essential for cellular repair and plays a very important role in memory and learning. Cholesterol helps convert fats in the liver and is a very potent antioxidant that protects us from free radical damage. Free radical damage accelerates the aging process.

We would be better at keeping people healthy by focusing on the cause of inflammation (mostly diet) rather than sabotaging our bodies own defenses that try to protect us.

Research suggests that HDL, the high-density "good" cholesterol, helps to protect the cardiovascular system. LDL or low-density "bad" cholesterol appears to be the bad guy that builds up on your arteries and other inflamed pathways. Problems occur when there is not enough protective HDL and inflammation is not addressed. The key concept to note is; Inflammation is not addressed. Too little HDL leads to inflammatory pain, which is the real cause of heart disease.

How do you reduce inflammation in the body?

Your diet will be the number one factor that will protect or predispose you when it comes to heart disease and strokes. An anti-inflammatory diet is a diet free from sugar, preservative-laden foods and bread products that easily convert to sugar in the body.

An egg is an example of a protective cholesterol, and a bagel (even whole wheat), is an example of an inflammatory food. We have been misinformed for years. To prove it, just take a look around you. Obesity is an epidemic, Type 2 diabetes is on the rise, and heart disease numbers are going up mot down. I encourage you to explore eating for your health and watch what happens to your cholesterol results.

For those of you who are not willing to change your diet, or would just like some natural suggestions to help normalize cholesterol levels, the following suggestions may be helpful.

Walnuts, almonds, fish and olive oil fall into the category of Omega 3 fatty acids. These are just some examples of foods that help decrease inflammation in the body by helping to establish and normalize cholesterol levels.

Niacin, or vitamin B-3 has been very effective in reducing overall cholesterol levels. Niacin can lower LDL by as much as 10% and raise HDL cholesterol by 15-30%. Many individuals do not tolerate niacin as it commonly causes an uncomfortable flushing effect. Fortunately, flush free niacin is available which increases tolerance.

Policonsanol is a dietary supplement made from Cuban sugarcane wax. Although the Cuban version is not readily available in the U.S., non-Cuban products are available but are derived from beeswax and wheat germ. Some individuals may report digestive upset, but I have not seen this personally. Most individuals will need to be patient as it can take three or more months to see results.

Soluble fiber slows the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines. Good examples of soluble fiber are; oats, legumes, prunes, apples, broccoli, and yams. As little as 10 grams daily may reduce LDL cholesterol by 5%.

Green Tea. Most of the studies involving the cholesterol-lowering effects of green tea involve the use of green tea's active ingredient, catenin extract, as opposed to the beverage itself. Although there is little understanding of how it exactly works, catenin appears to lower LDL, prevent the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, raise HDL and lower total cholesterol numbers.

Artichoke Leaf Extract has been shown to lower LDL in more than one study.

No medication or supplement will protect you from a poor diet, period. The above information will serve you well if you use it in combination with some changes in your daily eating habits.


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