How Cholesterol can benefit the body

How Cholesterol can benefit the body

Author -  Good Health

Approximately 20% of what we eat contributes to our blood cholesterol levels, yet it is a common belief that eating high cholesterol food will cause high cholesterol in the blood. Just as eating fat doesn’t make us fat, the cholesterol equation is complex, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Cholesterol lowering statin medication was the 5th most prescribed medication in New Zealand in 2016, making cholesterol levels a very real problem for many New Zealanders. There are many things that need to be taken in to consideration when lowering cholesterol levels; one of the most successful ways? Look after your liver.

dreamstime_m_55003437.jpg

What is cholesterol?

Found within every single cell in the body, cholesterol is an important molecule which helps to regulate cell fluidity and structure. Cholesterol is used to make the active form of Vitamin D, and steroid hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen and cortisol. Cholesterol is so crucial to our everyday lives that the body has created mechanisms to ensure we always have enough.

Difference between HDL and LDL

Lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the bloodstream because cholesterol is not water soluble and needs to be transported. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are classified as small or large and are commonly known as the ‘bad cholesterol.’ When we breathe, oxygen in the body splits apart creating damaging free radicals which cause LDL to oxidise, damage, inflame and the constriction of blood vessels occur, increasing the risk of heart disease. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) or ‘good cholesterol’ take hold of LDL and carry them to the liver for transformation or elimination. As well as being an effective transporter, HDL has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which reduces the oxidation of LDL, decreasing the risk of heart disease.

dreamstime_s_55139930.jpg

Liver Detoxification

The liver is responsible for approximately 80% of cholesterol within the body. Although the liver creates cholesterol, its primary role in the body is detoxification, which works to transform cholesterol into steroid hormones or recycle it as bile. If the liver is unable to perform such processes, cholesterol accumulates in the blood causing disrupted hormones levels and cardiovascular problems. One of the most successful ways to reduce cholesterol and ensure it is transformed correctly, is to look after your liver. Years of sugar, alcohol, caffeine and trans-fat consumption can overload the liver causing the constant recycling of cholesterol. If you find that you suffer from any of the below, your liver may need extra care:

  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Daily caffeine or alcohol consumption
  • Increased fat under the bra line aka ‘liver roll’
  • Impatient behaviour
  • Episodes of intense anger
  • Cellulite
  • Easy overheating or waking hot
  • Waking around 2am
  • Migraine headaches
  • Intolerance to fatty foods

ING_42097_01465.jpg

How your diet can influence cholesterol

Although your diet only produces around 20% of total cholesterol, your diet can significantly influence cholesterol levels. For cholesterol to be converted into steroid hormones, your body must have optimal levels of zinc and essential fatty acids, and unfortunately many New Zealanders are deficient in both. New Zealand soils are zinc deficient, making it harder to source, so it is important you are regularly eating zinc containing food such as oysters, pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts. Eating antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables such as blue berries and green tea can stop the LDL oxidisation process and reduce the risk of cholesterol-causing heart disease. For the liver to be able to detox properly, it needs nutrients including Folic acid, Sulphur and Vitamins B, C, & E. Increase staple foods such as nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, garlic and brightly coloured fruit and vegetables such as leafy greens, for a nutrient dense diet that will your liver will love.

ING_55027_02105.jpg

The fat equation

We have been taught for many years that lowering our intake of saturated fat is the answer to lowering our cholesterol levels; however we may have been misinformed. Saturated fat raises HDL and transforms small LDL to large LDL. This reduces the risk of heart disease as the larger the LDL particles, the less there are, to become oxidised. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and is great to use when cooking, as it has a high heat-point. Trans-fat is similar in texture to saturated fat however is pro-inflammatory. Used to improve the taste and shelf-life of fast foods and baked goods trans-fat raises LDL and lowers HDL, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Omega-3-and-6 are Essential Fatty Acids which need to be obtained through the diet. Both are beneficial, however many are consuming more Omega-6 Fatty Acids (found in cereals and vegetables oils) and not enough Omega-3. Omega-6 promotes blood pressure regulation and cell growth however in excess amounts, is pro-inflammatory, lowering HDL and increases the risk of LDL oxidisation. Taking a daily fish oil supplement, or consuming more oily fish in the diet is a great way to increase Omega-3 levels and reduce an unbalanced ratio.

woman-sunset.jpg

Breathing for detoxification

Use your diaphragm to take 20 deep slow breaths every day of the week. Diaphragmatic breathing reduces the release of our stress hormones, subsequently reducing the likelihood of fat storage. This also reduces stress placed on the liver, enabling it to focus on detoxification. Diaphragmatic breathing first thing in the morning can set you up for a successful day; breathing in the evening may improve relaxation and aid a restful sleep.

High cholesterol levels are a very real problem for many New Zealanders. Cholesterol has a scary association with heart disease; however it is oxidised LDL, not cholesterol itself that is of a concern. By eating a nutrient dense diet, looking after your liver and your stress levels, not only can you reduce LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, you will be ensuring liver has all the tools necessary to create, recycle and detox the body of cholesterol the way it was designed to.

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How Cholesterol can benefit the body

Approximately 20% of what we eat contributes to our blood cholesterol levels, yet it is a common belief that eating high cholesterol food will cause high cholesterol in the blood. Just as eating fat doesn’t make us fat, the cholesterol equation is complex, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. Cholesterol lowering statin medication was the 5th most prescribed medication in New Zealand in 2016, making cholesterol levels a very real problem for many New Zealanders. There are many things that need to be taken in to consideration when lowering cholesterol levels; one of the most successful ways? Look after your liver.

dreamstime_m_55003437.jpg

What is cholesterol?

Found within every single cell in the body, cholesterol is an important molecule which helps to regulate cell fluidity and structure. Cholesterol is used to make the active form of Vitamin D, and steroid hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen and cortisol. Cholesterol is so crucial to our everyday lives that the body has created mechanisms to ensure we always have enough.

Difference between HDL and LDL

Lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the bloodstream because cholesterol is not water soluble and needs to be transported. Low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are classified as small or large and are commonly known as the ‘bad cholesterol.’ When we breathe, oxygen in the body splits apart creating damaging free radicals which cause LDL to oxidise, damage, inflame and the constriction of blood vessels occur, increasing the risk of heart disease. High-density lipoproteins (HDL) or ‘good cholesterol’ take hold of LDL and carry them to the liver for transformation or elimination. As well as being an effective transporter, HDL has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which reduces the oxidation of LDL, decreasing the risk of heart disease.

dreamstime_s_55139930.jpg

Liver Detoxification

The liver is responsible for approximately 80% of cholesterol within the body. Although the liver creates cholesterol, its primary role in the body is detoxification, which works to transform cholesterol into steroid hormones or recycle it as bile. If the liver is unable to perform such processes, cholesterol accumulates in the blood causing disrupted hormones levels and cardiovascular problems. One of the most successful ways to reduce cholesterol and ensure it is transformed correctly, is to look after your liver. Years of sugar, alcohol, caffeine and trans-fat consumption can overload the liver causing the constant recycling of cholesterol. If you find that you suffer from any of the below, your liver may need extra care:

  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Daily caffeine or alcohol consumption
  • Increased fat under the bra line aka ‘liver roll’
  • Impatient behaviour
  • Episodes of intense anger
  • Cellulite
  • Easy overheating or waking hot
  • Waking around 2am
  • Migraine headaches
  • Intolerance to fatty foods

ING_42097_01465.jpg

How your diet can influence cholesterol

Although your diet only produces around 20% of total cholesterol, your diet can significantly influence cholesterol levels. For cholesterol to be converted into steroid hormones, your body must have optimal levels of zinc and essential fatty acids, and unfortunately many New Zealanders are deficient in both. New Zealand soils are zinc deficient, making it harder to source, so it is important you are regularly eating zinc containing food such as oysters, pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts. Eating antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables such as blue berries and green tea can stop the LDL oxidisation process and reduce the risk of cholesterol-causing heart disease. For the liver to be able to detox properly, it needs nutrients including Folic acid, Sulphur and Vitamins B, C, & E. Increase staple foods such as nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, garlic and brightly coloured fruit and vegetables such as leafy greens, for a nutrient dense diet that will your liver will love.

ING_55027_02105.jpg

The fat equation

We have been taught for many years that lowering our intake of saturated fat is the answer to lowering our cholesterol levels; however we may have been misinformed. Saturated fat raises HDL and transforms small LDL to large LDL. This reduces the risk of heart disease as the larger the LDL particles, the less there are, to become oxidised. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and is great to use when cooking, as it has a high heat-point. Trans-fat is similar in texture to saturated fat however is pro-inflammatory. Used to improve the taste and shelf-life of fast foods and baked goods trans-fat raises LDL and lowers HDL, increasing the risk of heart disease.

Omega-3-and-6 are Essential Fatty Acids which need to be obtained through the diet. Both are beneficial, however many are consuming more Omega-6 Fatty Acids (found in cereals and vegetables oils) and not enough Omega-3. Omega-6 promotes blood pressure regulation and cell growth however in excess amounts, is pro-inflammatory, lowering HDL and increases the risk of LDL oxidisation. Taking a daily fish oil supplement, or consuming more oily fish in the diet is a great way to increase Omega-3 levels and reduce an unbalanced ratio.

woman-sunset.jpg

Breathing for detoxification

Use your diaphragm to take 20 deep slow breaths every day of the week. Diaphragmatic breathing reduces the release of our stress hormones, subsequently reducing the likelihood of fat storage. This also reduces stress placed on the liver, enabling it to focus on detoxification. Diaphragmatic breathing first thing in the morning can set you up for a successful day; breathing in the evening may improve relaxation and aid a restful sleep.

High cholesterol levels are a very real problem for many New Zealanders. Cholesterol has a scary association with heart disease; however it is oxidised LDL, not cholesterol itself that is of a concern. By eating a nutrient dense diet, looking after your liver and your stress levels, not only can you reduce LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, you will be ensuring liver has all the tools necessary to create, recycle and detox the body of cholesterol the way it was designed to.

How Cholesterol can benefit the body
 
 
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