Right now, cholesterol is a hot topic and often portrayed as a villain. However, perhaps there’s more to the story. First, let’s explore some of the terms and language commonly used when discussing cholesterol. Then, we’ll delve deeper into the biomechanics and functions of cholesterol and consider why our current viewpoint may be premature.
When your doctor tells you about “high cholesterol,” it typically refers to an elevated LDL-C level. This means that you have a high concentration of low-density lipoproteins in your blood. These lipoproteins are crucial for emulsifying oily substances, as blood is primarily water-based. Without this process, oil and water cannot mix, leading to potential problems. As a result, your body has developed a mechanism for using lipoproteins to transport these oily substances through your bloodstream.
LDL vs. HDL: Decoding the Different Types of Cholesterol
LDL and HDL have different protein-to-fat ratios. To visualize this, you can think of lipoproteins as delivery trucks. The truck represents the protein portion of the lipoprotein, which remains constant. However, the packages that the truck carries determine if it’s an LDL or HDL.
LDL delivers cholesterol and other fat-soluble nutrients from the liver to tissue repair, inflammation, or steroid glands. In contrast, HDL transports oxidized cholesterol and other fatty substances back to the liver for reuse or excretion. Therefore, the trucks have unique functions.
Beyond LDL and HDL: Exploring Other Lipoproteins and Their Role in Cholesterol
Now, let’s shift our focus to the less talked-about lipoproteins, namely VLDL (very low-density lipoproteins) and chylomicrons.
The Dark Side of LDL-C: Understanding Why it’s Hated in Cholesterol Management?
LDL-C has a bad reputation due to its correlation with heart disease, but it’s essential to note that correlation does not imply causation. Inflammation, which damages tissues and causes LDL-C to be transported to where it’s needed, is the real issue. However, inflammation can be advantageous as it increases blood flow and immunity to repair damage.
Inflammatory molecules such as histamine leukocytes are released during tissue damage to enhance immunity and blood flow and bring nutrients for repair. Nevertheless, if inflammation persists, nutrients get depleted, the immune system becomes exhausted, and the body can’t meet the repair demand.
Cholesterol: The Villainized Hero? Debunking Myths and Understanding the Truth
Understanding why we got it wrong is difficult. While elevated cholesterol correlates with heart disease, it’s essential to note that cholesterol protects and repairs inflammation, including in artery walls during atherosclerosis. Moreover, cholesterol is currently being researched as an antioxidant. If this information doesn’t alter your perception of cholesterol, nothing will.
Putting Knowledge into Action
We now know that chronic inflammation is the real culprit. To reduce the inflammatory load on your body, it’s best to reduce exposure to environmental toxins (which is another topic for another day) and avoid oxidized vegetable oils by not cooking with them. Additionally, stay away from sugar, especially refined sugars. These two foods, rancid oil, and sugars, are the most significant contributors to inflammation in the modern diet. Ensure that you consume enough saturated fat because that’s what your body uses to produce the cholesterol it needs. Don’t avoid healthy foods because you’re afraid of the cholesterol they contain. In reality, eggs, fatty fish, and organ meats promote vibrant health.
Whether you’re looking to improve your digestion, boost your energy levels, or simply learn more about how to eat for optimal health, “Food Combining” is an excellent resource. Download your free copy now to get started on your journey towards better digestive health.