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Home > Health & Wellness > Cholesterol

Cholesterol

I constantly have clients surprised by their blood results and high cholesterol levels, very often a high stress level is the underlying factor, but here is some more insight:

 

Cholesterol is a type of fat belonging to the category of steroids that exists in all our cell membranes. It is vital for such functions as nerve transmission, the formation of vitamin D needed for bone health, the manufacture of our sex and of some of our stress hormones. Approximately 80% of our total cholesterol needs are synthesised in our liver whilst only 20% comes directly from our diet.

 

Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like substance that is a vital part of all our body cells. All animals produce cholesterol within their cells, the liver being the major manufacturing site. Nature has created this cholesterol-making process because your body needs this substance. Cholesterol is required for the synthesis of bile acids, which are essential, for the digestion and absorption of fats in the intestine. The endocrine glands use cholesterol for the making of some important steroid hormones such as progesterone, oestrogen, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol. Cholesterol is also present in abundant amounts in the central nervous system with the body utilising more cholesterol in times of stress and tension to meet the challenges of increased nerve response.

 

If you have a low LDL cholesterol count and a high total cholesterol count that is good news – it means most of your total cholesterol is in the HDL form, the ship which removes it from the arteries. The HDL referred to as ‘good cholesterol’ and the LDL as ‘bad cholesterol’.

 

High cholesterol levels have been implicated in the progression of heart disease and in gall bladder disease. We do need cholesterol but certain factors such as a diet low in fibre, high in sugar, alcohol, caffeine, saturated fat and certain lifestyle factors such as stress, low exercise and smoking have been implicated in higher than normal levels which could be bad for your health.

 

Inflammation is cholesterol’s partner in crime, as without inflammation cholesterol would not be as dangerous or cause as much damage.

 

Inflammation can be induced by

 

Diet and lifestyle recommendations

Lowering your cholesterol levels via dietary means is not simply a matter of cutting out the cholesterol containing foods. In fact many studies have been carried out to show that eating a diet containing moderate amounts of cholesterol, for example eggs, is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

The main dietary factors to consider in helping to lower cholesterol include the introduction of foods that will help to:

  • Alter the type of cholesterol you have by increasing the HDL form. Do this by increasing exercise and reducing stress and introducing foods such as garlic & omega 3 rich foods.
  • Remove excess cholesterol from the body by supporting the liver and improving digestion by increasing the amount of soluble fibre – oat bran, green vegetables, apples, pears, brown rice
  • Remove foods that may interfere with the regulation of cholesterol synthesis – alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars.

Dietary recommendations to help reduce cholesterol

  • Use vegetables and fruit on a daily basis to form 60% of meals
  • Eat only moderate amounts of red meat
  • Add garlic, ginger & turmeric
  • Drink green Tea
  • Limit Alcohol & caffeine
  • Reduce your intake of sugar but do not use artificial sweeteners.

Avoid foods that contain refined carbohydrates including sugar, biscuits, cakes, puddings, pastries, sugared breakfast cereal, carbonated drinks, chocolate, and other confectionery, ice cream, jams, processed foods. These contribute to weight gain and increased levels of fats in the blood (triglycerides).

 

Contact Suzanne tel: 647397501