Learning all you need to know about how to keep your body, especially your heart, healthy can be overwhelming when taken as a whole. There is so much conflicting information about what's healthy, what's not, what you should eat, and what you shouldn't eat, that most people don't know where to turn. This is especially true when talking about cholesterol and heart heath.
To get a better understanding about cholesterol, how it affects our bodies, and the foods that can contribute to both raising and lowering your cholesterol levels, read on and I will finally put your confusion to rest.
What Is Cholesterol?
Believe it or not, cholesterol is a much needed substance in the body. Along with aiding in the construction of cell membranes, cholesterol helps to metabolize fat soluble vitamins and aids in the synthesis of vitamin D and steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
When Cholesterol Goes Bad
Studies have shown that when someone eats a diet high in bad saturated fats - those obtained from animals or dairy - that our bodies then produce even more cholesterol which results in an overabundance of the waxy substance in our system. I know what you're thinking: This must be why I have high cholesterol!! Not necessarily.
Myth of Cholesterol
After several years of studying the effects of cholesterol on the body, I am here to tell you that your high cholesterol IS NOT due to eating a diet high in saturated fats. Instead, I want to explain to you that inflammation is the real culprit to your elevated cholesterol levels. Let me explain:
Cholesterol is the by-product of inflammation that is occurring in your body. When your body senses that it needs to fight off inflammation, it creates more cholesterol to be sent to the site of the problem to combat the situation.
Cholesterol only begins to build up on the artery wall if there is inflammation present on the wall. This means that most heart attacks are due to chronic inflammation and not due to high cholesterol levels.
How to Combat Inflammation
The real question you should be asking yourself which will, in turn, lower your cholesterol levels as well, is how to minimize the inflammatory process within your body.
First, stay clear of any foods that cause a dramatic increase in insulin levels - anything that is made from refined white sugar, anything that is processed, as well as processed dairy products should be avoided.
Second, eat more fruits, vegetables, lean animal proteins, nuts, and water as well as bulking up on omega 3 fatty acids. These foods rarely cause inflammation in the body which will keep your cholesterol levels in check and your blood flowing freely.
Lastly, while you may be on statins to lower your cholesterol levels try incorporating all of the nutritious foods listed above in your diet on a permanent basis and wean yourself off of the drugs, with your doctors' supervision. These drugs only serve as a temporary bandage for the bigger problem.
It's time that you take stock of what you're ingesting and make a change for the better. Trust me; you will live a much healthier life if you just take these simple steps.