Using Food to Control Cholesterol Levels
I cannot say how many times over the years I have been asked the question, "Aren't eggs bad for your cholesterol?" It seems that the media and mainstream medicine has done a really good job of vilifying eggs, and saturated fats in general, when it comes to cholesterol levels.
The truth is, your body needs cholesterol. It helps to produce cell membranes, hormones, vitamin D and bile acids that help you to digest fat. More specifically, though, your BRAIN needs cholesterol. Cholesterol also helps in the formation of your memories and is vital for neurological function.
Sally Fallon, the president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Mary Enig, Ph.D, an expert in lipid biochemistry, have gone so far as to call high cholesterol “an invented disease, a ‘problem’ that emerged when health professionals learned how to measure cholesterol levels in the blood.”*
Cholesterol performs a major service in the body; it helps to heal and repair damaged cells. It is not the villain - the root of the impending damage is the actual villain. So what causes cell damage (and therefore high cholesterol levels)? Chronic inflammation, often due to a high acid-forming diet and chronic stress, the American dynamic duo.
So, as in all things holistic, we look for the only thing that really matters, the root of the problem. If chronic inflammation is calling for extra cholesterol in your body, then let's address the chronic inflammation. We can start with reducing the amount of unhealthy acid-forming food coming in - processed flours, processed sugars, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, coffee, tea, trans fats, smoking, and soda, as well as triggers of emotional stress. Then, we can begin to (my favorite method) ADD in the natural anti-inflammatories:
1. A high alkaline-forming diet (vegetables, fruit in small amounts, coconut, olive), low in whole grains and natural sugars.
2. High-quality omega 3 fatty acids: krill oil, wild salmon, anchovies and sardines, arugula, chia and walnuts (see blog on omega 3s).
3. Healthy fats: coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, raw nuts, seeds, and organic dairy and grass-fed meats for non-vegetarians.
4. Exercise. Exercise increases circulation and blood flow throughout the body. The components the immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has the opportunity to spread.
5. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
6. Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, massage, acupuncture, walking, spending time in nature, working on a hobby - do anything to reduce the stress response in your body.
*Fallon, S. and Mary Enig. “Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven’t Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines,” The Weston A. Price Foundation http://www.westonaprice.org/moderndiseases/statin.html