I really don’t know how we got here? But cholesterol has become the enemy when it comes to your health, and honestly that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Cholesterol is not the villain, and after you read this you will have the knowledge to make the best decisions for your health, especially when it comes to your cholesterol levels. So today I want to share the truth behind cholesterol and what makes it one of the good guys.
What is Cholesterol?
In the most simplest form, cholesterol is a fat found in your blood. And did you know that cholesterol is vitally important? It has many benefits critical to your wellbeing:
- helps your body heal
- supports brain function
- promotes healthy skin
- builds cell structure
- makes hormones like estrogen and testosterone
- supports adrenal glands
- helps your metabolism function properly
- supports digestive system
- helps body with vitamin D production
So as you can see, cholesterol is a must have. So why does it have such a bad reputation? Well, it’s not a matter of it being good or bad it’s a matter of why does cholesterol go array?
When Cholesterol Becomes the Bad Guy
The answer we have been given is that if cholesterol is elevated it is bad and needs to be treated with medication. But the problem is that medication is not getting to the root issue of why your cholesterol is high. And medication actually will cause more harm than good. When we artificially decrease cholesterol in the body through medications, we do not only effectively decrease cholesterol but we begin to alter certain key enzymes and co-factors which cause much more than a decrease in cholesterol. The pathway which most cholesterol lowering medication work through also stops the proper production of CoQ10 (which is a much needed antioxidant) which helps with cellular energy, maintenance and repair, it affects all of your sex hormone pathways (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.), it also causes muscle pain and cramps which most research says its unclear why. Hmmm…if something is unclear its because we do not understand enough of the effects the medication is having on our bodies.
The reason that cholesterol has gotten a bad rep is because we are told when it goes too high it can cause heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Yes, this is true. But the real culprit isn’t cholesterol being high. The question is why did it go too high? Inflammation. Inflammation and other associated compounds which cause oxidation of fats are your villains and pinpointing the cause of inflammation is the most important factor in healing your body and lowering cholesterol naturally. So, let’s talk about that.
Remember, cholesterol in the body is needed for normal function, the problem comes from many different factors. Diets high in damage fats, processed foods, and to many carbs (sugars) cause inflammation which raises your cholesterol levels. Inflammation is what triggers many heart issues. Other lifestyle habits that can effect your cholesterol levels is too much caffeine or alcohol consumption. Studies have found that people who eat highly processed foods are increasing their chances of heart disease drastically. Next are three ways to lower cholesterol naturally. But here is my big take away, if you have high cholesterol take it as a warning sign. Your body is telling or in some cases yelling at you, letting you know there are underlying conditions that need to be dealt with before its to late. The answer is not in a pill to just lower cholesterol and mask the cause of your condition.
3 Ways to Lower Cholesterol
Food is something that can truly change your cholesterol and overall health. This requires discipline and making good decisions one day at a time, but some of the foods that are good to eat are:
- Good Fats – Avocados, salmon, olive oil, coconut oil
- Vegetables – There are full of nutrients your body needs, and they are low in calories. They are perfect addition to lower cholesterol.
- Turmeric – This one makes it on many of my list. It is just so incredibly powerful and it has the ability to lower your bodies cholesterol because of the compound within it called curcumin.
- Sweet Potatoes – These are amazing for your body and the creative ways to eat them are endless! They are full of protein and all the good carbs and are great for lowering your cholesterol naturally.
Our bodies need movement for many reasons, and this is another one that you can usually find on my lists of health habits, but why with cholesterol? Well, aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs, and recent studies have shown that this type of exercise helps with cholesterol. Resistance training and weightlifting have also been found to not only burn fat and build muscle and tone your body but also to support a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels.
Supplements are a great natural way to support your cholesterol levels and I have three of the best for you. Remember, when you are choosing supplements to always choose ones that are raw, not synthetic or filled with fillers.
- Co Q 10 – Short for Coenzyme Q10, this supplement helps with cholesterol by providing energy to the cells, especially the ones to the heart. They also have high antioxidant activity which helps in fighting inflammation. This is something your body naturally makes but you can be deficient in it, so using this supplement can be a great way to support your cholesterol.
- Red Yeast Rice Extract – This is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been shown to lower cholesterol. It contains ingredients that help lower cholesterol such as: monacolin K, sterols, isoflavones, and the good fats!
- Omega 3s – This is a great supplement to take for your overall health, but when it comes to cholesterol it helps by decreasing the rate by which the liver produces triglycerides. They are also known for being anti-inflammatory which helps decrease any stress on the heart, and they support blood flow throughout the body.