Today was supposed to be about protein and I was going to continue on with looking at different nutrients, but as it’s my blog and I make the decisions, we are going to revisit cholesterol today. Another one of those good things for your body that has gotten a bad reputation; plus lately I seem to be getting a lot of people asking about cholesterol eating as a fat-burner. Cholesterol is used by the body for a myriad of functions that we ae going to look at:
- Makes cells stiff and stable. Polyunsaturated fats on the other hand, when high in the diet replace saturated fat to makes cells flabby, so that cholesterol has to be sent to the arteries to restore structural integrity.
- Precursor for corticosteroids (hormones that help us deal with stress and protect against heart disease and cancer).
- Precursor to vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for healthy bones and nervous system, proper growth, mineral metabolism, muscle tone, insulin production, reproduction and immune system function.
- Makes bile salts, which are important for digestion and fat assimilation.
- Needed for serotonin (‘feel good’ sense) function in the brain. This is probably why low levels of cholesterol are associated with aggressive and violent behavior, depression and suicidal tendencies.
- Cholesterol is a key component of human breast milk. It is essential during growth for proper brain and nervous system development.
- Maintains intestinal walls, which is why vegetarians with low-cholesterol intake are susceptible to leaky gut syndrome and other intestinal disorders.
The misconception comes because cholesterol is sent to repair. Elevated levels merely show that cholesterol is needed to protect itself from free radical damage. A quote I like is, “Blaming coronary heart disease on cholesterol is like blaming the police for murder and theft in a high crime area.” Something else I found interesting (because it relates to my oldest daughter) is that poor thyroid (usually caused by diets high in sugar, yet low in iodine and fat-soluble vitamins) results in higher levels of cholesterol because the body floods with cholesterol as an adaptive and protective steroids. Cholesterol only becomes a problem when it becomes oxidized by things like powdered eggs and milk, or milk and fat heated at high temperatures. So what really causes heart disease:
- excess vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats
- excess refined carbs (sugar and white flour)
- mineral deficiencies
- low magnesium and iodine levels
- vitamin deficiencies (A, C, D) and antioxidants (selenium and vitamin E)
- absence antimicrobial fats (animal fats and tropical oils)
Elevated levels of homocysteine actually correlate to plaque buildup and a tendency to clot. So how does one make themselves less susceptible to heart disease: eat foods rich in protective fat, B vitamins, boost thyroid function through use of sea salt for usable iodine avoid mineral and vitamin deficiencies, use antimicrobial fats, eliminate processed foods and refined carbs, and free-radical containing veggie oils. Once again, cholesterol is not the body, it is merely a sign that other things (usually pertaining to diet) in the body are off and cholesterol is trying to repair. For more on our fat-burner programs check out bodychange.net.