Part of the joy I get in talking with people about foods (more specifically my foods) is that I get to take different approaches to resolving health problems. Simplistically speaking, my first look is to always look at the foods someone eats and then look at how their body responds to eating those foods.
When you begin to look at foods, you also begin to hear about all sorts of myths about what causes bad health; one of the biggest food myths I see and read about cholesterol. I bet the thought of you seeing that word caused you to think badly about this antioxidant in our bodies. "Don't eat foods with high cholesterol", "cholesterol kills"... I could go on and on.
Why does cholesterol receive such a bad rap?
I find that many people don't realize how important cholesterol is for our bodies. Yesterday, I made a post on my Facebook fan page about eggs and it got me to thinking about cholesterol and what it can do for us. Cholesterol is simply the body's natural anti-oxidant. It fights free radicals, or things whose only job is to create havoc in the body. The biggest misnomer about cholesterol I have found is that 80% of cholesterol is manufactured by our bodies. The other 20% comes from foods. And if you have a healthy running body and increase your consumption of foods with cholesterol, a body will down regulate production of it in our bodies to match our needs so we don't get too much of it.
There are two types of cholesterol: HDL ("good cholesterol") brings leftover cholesterol back to the liver to process. LDL ("bad cholesterol") takes liver from your liver through the bloodstream where it's needed to fight inflammation. When you have high levels of cholesterol, this is normally a symptom of an underlining problem in your body, not the cause of the problem. Cholesterol is not the bad guy. There are things that are going on in your body that is bad (inflammation), most notably at the artery level. Cholesterol is then sent to the artery to help and heal the inflammation. If it does it's job, everything is going to be fine and return to normal. Otherwise, when the inflammation doesn’t subside, the body sends more cholesterol and it starts to accumulate around the artery as a band aid. Then, plaque starts to form and "voila"; you have future problems. What future problems? Basically everything associated with inflammation because this excess build up causes significant inflammation.
But why does this inflammation occur? Normally it's from chronically high levels of insulin, which is caused by excess carbohydrate consumption, as well as trans fats and vegetable oils. What is the consequence? When cholesterol becomes oxidized by free radicals, it just magnifies the problem. So what to do? A diet high in antioxidants (vegetables and fruits) and low in carbohydrates will reduce factors of oxidation in the body. So now cut the sugars, cut the grains and eat the fat, the meat and the egg yolks. Bon appetit!
Bonus: As someone who believes foods is the greatest piece of "medicine", it should work hand in hand with your life and lifestyle. But I've found the hardest part is actually knowing what to make. Making healthy meals that don't reek havoc on our bodies is something I deal with everyday. I've put together a list of foods that can certainly free up time and get you healthy in the process. (Click here for my recipe time saver).
Jared Toay, aka. the "Popsicle Dude" or the "Mad Scientist" has actively been promoting the importance of gut health and digestion for more than 5 years. A weight loss researcher, bodybuilder, and creator of Jared's ProPops and Probiotic Foods, he has had a lengthy journey on his way to healthy living. An accomplished author and speaker, he would love to help you begin your journey to better health by sending you a coupon for a free ProPop. Simply join him on his "Jared's ProPops" fan page on Facebook or google "Jared's ProPops" to learn about his revolutionary and one-of-a-kind probiotic products.
Who Is Jared?
I am just someone who likes to talk about probiotics, kombucha, and is obsessively passionate about gut health and digestion, My personal mission is to try to ferment just about anything food related. This blog is a continuous flow of those thoughts on that journey.