Have you been diagnosed as having high cholesterol? Do you take statins to reduce cholesterol? This article is for you…
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an incredibly important substance in our bodies. All our cells are made of this substance!
Cholesterol actually gets produced by our livers – as opposed to being something that we eat, as the popular press would have us believe.
In addition to using cholesterol to make our cells, our bodies use it to manufacture vitamin D from sunlight – Vitamin D is essential to our immune system and to bone health.
> Did you know cholesterol has an impact on your sex drive?
Furthermore, our bodies use cholesterol for the manufacture of a variety of hormones including – these hormones control a whole range of functions in our bodies including
Sex drive / libido
Memory and brain health
… the list goes on
In short, we definitely want cholesterol in our bodies
“Good” or “Bad” Cholesterol?
It is quite common in the popular press to see a substance called LDL referred to as “Bad Cholesterol” while HDL is referred to as “Good Cholesterol”. Both LDL and HDL are substances produced when fat is digested in the body.
LDLs are used to transport the cholesterol manufactured in the liver to the tissues where it is used to build our cells.
HDLs travel round the body and collect spare cholesterol (including from the artery wall) and return this to the liver for excretion or re-utilisation.
The effects normally attributed to too much cholesterol are actually the effects of LDL oxidising in the bloodstream and irritating the blood vessels. However, lots of substances – not just LDL – can oxidise in our bodies and the effect remains the same – inflammation and irritation.
So, what to do?
The real question should be – how can we limit oxidisation in our bodies?
Excess oxidisation in our bodies is caused by free radical activity in our tissues. To limit free radical activity, we need to eat antioxidant foods – typically foods that contain vitamins C and E – Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oily fish.
In addition, we need to watch out for the following foods and habits that can promote oxidisation in the body:
Trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils)
Individuals that take regular cardiovascular exercise have been found to experience less oxidisation.
Is there anything you can do differently now you know more?