Cholesterol is a fat which is produced by the liver and is crucial for normal body function.
Cholesterol actually exists in the outer layer of every cell in our body, and has an important role in many functions, like the building and maintenance of cell membranes, production of sex hormones, production of bile, conversion of sunshine into vitamin D, metabolism of fat soluble vitamins and the insulation of nerve fibres.
Cholesterol, in the right amounts, is hugely important for our health.
Cholesterol is carried in the blood by molecules called lipoproteins. There are three main types of lipoproteins:
LDL (low density lipoprotein) – Often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol, LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to cells. If too much is carried (and too much for the cells to use), there can be a harmful build-up of LDL.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) – Often referred to as ‘good’ cholesterol, HDL prevents arterial disease. HDL does the opposite of LDL – HDL takes the cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver.
Triglycerides – Triglycerides are the chemical forms in which most fat exists in the body. They are present in blood plasma, and in association with cholesterol, form the plasma lipids (blood fat).
What causes high cholesterol?
There are a number of different causes of high cholesterol, however for most people, sedentary lifestyle choices, poor nutrition, being overweight, smoking and excessive alcohol intake are major contributing factors.
Although some foods contain cholesterol, such as eggs, kidneys and some seafoods, dietary cholesterol does not have much of an impact in human blood cholesterol levels. However, saturated fats do.
Food high in saturated fat include red meat, some pies, sausages, cheese, lard, pastry, cakes, biscuits, cream, chips and many more.
Along with saturated fat, trans fat may also raise your blood cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart disease. Trans fats are commonly found in biscuits, cookies, cakes, fried foods, and margarines.
Both saturated and trans fats are detrimental to our health. Not only do they raise our cholesterol levels – they will also contribute to weight gain, heart disease and a range of other conditions.
More than 20 million prescription are written in Australia each year for statin drugs. Statin drugs are a class of drugs that are reputed for lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood by reducing the production of cholesterol by the liver.
In effect, these drugs block the enzyme in the liver that is responsible for making cholesterol.
Statin drugs have an unfortunately long list of known side-effects and dangers.
People who take statins have suffered severe health consequences, including permanent damage to their liver, muscles and nervous system.
Other side-effects include:
- Irritability and short tempers
- Homicidal impulses
- Rapid loss of mental clarity
- Kidney failure
- Muscle aching/weakness
- Tingling or cramping in legs
- Impaired muscle formation
- Nerve damage
- Mental confusion
- Liver damage and abnormalities
- Destruction of CoQ10 levels
It’s a huge price to pay for trying to lower your cholesterol – especially when altering diet, nutrition and physical exercise will automatically lower your cholesterol, without the dangerous side-effects other than improved health.
Tips on Lowering Your Cholesterol
Lifestyle Changes – Diet
- Reduce the intake of saturated fat (eg. hamburgers, hot dogs, and other animal fats) and the total amount of fat in your diet to 25%-35% of total calories – with no more than 7% of fat calories coming from saturated fats.
- Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
- Eat fish and poultry without skin and leaner cuts of meat instead of fatty ones.
- Eat fat-free or 1% milk dairy products rather than whole-milk dairy products.
- Eat food with soluble fibre which includes oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits and strawberries.
- Bake, steam, roast, broil, stew or boil instead of frying. This helps remove fat.
- Use a non-stick pan with vegetable cooking oil spray or a small amount of olive oil instead of butter or other fats.
- Top bread/toast with mashed avocado rather than margarine or butter.
Lifestyle Changes – Exercise
- Get involved in activities such as brisk walking, jogging, bicycling or running.
- Gradually work up to exercising for 30 to 45 minutes at least 3-4 times a week.
- Stick with your exercise program – avoid making excuses.
The key is that you have to be doing something physical each and every day, and you have to stick with it for the rest of your life. The only way to have healthy cholesterol levels is to engage in regular physical exercise.
There is no way around it! No prescription drug will give you the same benefit, and there’s no nutritional supplement that takes the place of physical exercise. The human body was meant t be moved, and if you want yours to be health, you’ve got to move it.
Natural Supplements to Lower Cholesterol
Polyunsaturated fat, when used instead of saturated fats, helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. One type of polyunsaturated fat – omega-3 fatty acids – may be especially beneficial to your health.
Omega-3 fatty acids decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure levels. Omega-3 fatty acids are found mainly in fish, and lesser amounts in flaxseed, soybeans and canola oil.
More often than not, we don’t consume anywhere near enough fish to get the required amount of omega-3 everyday. This is where a fish oil supplement comes in.
But before you rush out and buy the biggest ‘value’ pack you can find, you should know that not all fish oils are the same. Click here to find out why.
Emed stocks a great range of top-quality fish oil supplements that will help to boost your health and reduce your cholesterol levels. Click here to visit Emed’s Best Fish Oils.
Combining fish oil with a specific cholesterol-fighting natural medicine, like Bioceuticals Cardiochol will help to reduce your cholesterol levels, reduce your need for statin drugs and leave you feeling better.
Are you taking a statin? If you are, then you MUST take a CoQ10 supplement. Statin drugs leach this important enzyme from our body, which can lead to serious consequences like heart disease or heart attacks. Click here to view Emed’s Best Co-Enzyme Q10 supplements.
Taking a multivitamin? As with any diet, a good multivitamin will ensure an individual is receiving all the nutrients necessary for healthy living. Click here to view Emed’s Best Multivitamins.