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Blog » Health » Cholesterol

Cholesterol is the word that scares most people after the age of 40 as it it is known for causing a heart attack and stroke. The usual strategy after finding out that you have a high cholesterol is some type of medication. But is that really necessary, or are there any other and even better options available? Irish genetics tend to give us high cholesterol and it seems like most people around us always complain about having a high cholesterol. So how do we deal with this problem and is cholesterol really the bad guy here? 

In fact a lack of cholesterol is quite dangerous as it has been associated with a higher level of cancer and it also leads to higher rates of depression.

High cholesterol is a risk factor not a disease 

Cholesterol itself is actually very important and is needed in the body to build cell walls and keeping them strong, protecting blood vessels from breaking and strengthens arteries. It also make up bile, which breaks the fat up and it plays an important role with our hormones, especially in making adrenal and sex hormones. It has been given a bad name altogether, as it is a major component of plaque which builds up inside the arteries. But that is not the full story.

There are  actually two different types of cholesterol: 

LDL cholesterol is the 'bad cholesterol'. That is the one that sticks to the walls of your arteries, causing plaque, making the arteries narrower and reducing the blood supply to the heart or brain. 

The good news is that we also have a ‘good cholesterol’ and that is HDL. High levels of HDL cholesterol can protect you against having a heart attack or a stroke! HDL plays a vital role in our system as it clears up cholesterol left behind in the arteries and carries it to liver. In the liver it is broken down and passed out of the body. Regular exercise can help improve your HDL level.

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

So cholesterol as such is not a big problem for most people as the wrong types or amounts of fats would be. Generally speaking fatty fish are fairly high in cholesterol, but in the context of a diet that contains only the right type of fats then no harm comes from them. For example if we look at Eskimos: they eat a high cholesterol diet, but very high in fish oils, which are full of omega 3s. Fish oils prevent protein breakdown and they also bring down triglycerides, so essentially they protect. So eating cholesterol itself is not necessarily even bad! Another example is in southern Mediterranean areas, where the diet is high in fat and the main energy source is olive oil. And guess what - there’s no heart disease!

Fats are very important for good health, especially the right types of fats. But our modern diet is often lacking in Omega 3 Fish Oil and it can be quite high in Omega-6 oils. This results in inflammation, circulation, and skin related problems. 

Our body needs a good balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Oils, to contribute to the normal function of the heart and to reduce inflammation in the body. Omega 3 also contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function, benefiting the bloodstream, body tissues and normal vision. Foods that are high in omega 3s are salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts and other types of nuts. There are many products on the shelves advertising they can help with reduction of cholesterol, but its important to make sure to choose the right one, as it can still contain omega 6, so really is not that beneficial at all. 

Bio oils capsules can make it easier to maintain the correct balance as they contain a minimum of 60% Omega-3 fish oil taken from the cleanest waters in the world off the coast of Peru. Fantastic advantage is that they are encapsulated under nitrogen into hermetically sealed omega 3 fish oil capsules to prevent oxidation. Because the other problem with fats is the rancidity. 

Fats are prone to oxidation when left exposed to air and light and that could be very dangerous for our cells. Antioxidants such as vitamin E is great to preserve unsaturated fats. To prevent oxidation, it’s important to store fats and oils in a cool, dark place with little exposure to oxygen or free radicals. 

The build up of plaque is also related to damage done to the artery walls, that are damaged by the free radicals due to rancid oils or lack of antioxidants mostly vitamins and minerals or poisonous or polluted environment. If there is some roughness or a little ulcer in the artery wall then immediately the fats will start to gather around it and that is where the whole process start.

The Cholesterol Strategy

Following a holistic treatment program is a fantastic natural way to reduce cholesterol. On rising take 2 teaspoons of cider vinegar in distilled water every morning and that would be a great way to start the day. For breakfast you can have a soluble fibre like oat bran, that grabs your cholesterol and you can add flaxseed that have been soaked overnight. It is very important to include the omega 3 fats, so eating sardines, salmon mackerel or herring for lunch or dinner with a nice large salad with extra virgin olive oil would be a fantastic choice. Try handfull of walnuts with fruit for snacking. You can go for lean meats for dinner that are preferably grass fed and nice portion of green vegetables. It is very important not to add any other forms of fat. Having a fruit like apples, pineapple, papaya or pomegranates would be of a great benefit. And maybe drinking freshly squeezed orange juice 3 times a day. Eggs are extremely high in cholesterol, so it would be better to stay away from them for this particular diet. Otherwise for a normal person a moderate amount doesn’t appear to have bad effect at all. 

Increasing protein to lower cholesterol is also a great strategy. A  very easy way to take it is to take Lipo-Clear casein protein shake, which contains Beta- Glucans - extract of oatmeal. Lipo-Clear is recognised for its ability to lower cholesterol by transporting it out of the body. Along with a high level of bone supporting calcium, Lipo - Clear provides artery protecting MK7 a form of vitamin K. Essentially MK7 ensures that the calcium you are taking goes into your bones instead of building up in your arteries. 

Exercise can improve cholesterol. Physical activity can help raise HDL cholesterol ( the "good" cholesterol ) so including a good strength training programme with your holistic diet could have amazing results.

So we have been completely wrong! Cholesterol in fact is our friend if we look after ourself, exercise correctly and nourish our body with the right types of fats. With all the great function cholesterol has to support our system, cells and hormones we can use it very efficiently. The amazing thing is that high cholesterol is not a disease and with the right diet it can be reversed or lowered and with the right programme it has never been easier to do that.