Friday, 17 May 2013
The Truth about Cholesterol
Most of the cholesterol in your body is good for you. Many people wrongly associate the word cholesterol with some kind of health problem. It only becomes a problem when you have too much of the wrong type. Cholesterol is produced by the body and plays a crucial role in maintaining the proper functioning of cell membranes, the production of brain neurons, and the elimination of free radicals. Its presence therefore enables the body to repair itself.
If high levels of the wrong type of cholesterol are in the bloodstream, they can become trapped on the inside walls of the arteries, especially the coronary arteries. When these arteries are clogged with cholesterol deposits, also known as plaque, they become narrow and deprive the heart muscle, and other vital areas, of the necessary nutrients and oxygen required to sustain a healthy body, and thereby increase the risk of heart disease.
Only an excess of LDL (low density) cholesterol is harmful; HDL (high density) cholesterol is beneficial. What you eat and drink on a regular basis largely determines the type of cholesterol in your body. It is therefore best to concentrate on diet as the main means of ensuring that the cholesterol in your body is of the right type to aid good health.
Sugars and saturated fats produce the wrong type of cholesterol. Sugar raises cholesterol by a chemical reaction in the body in which it turns into triglycerides (blood fats) which, in turn, converts to cholesterol. Saturated fats reduce the liver’s ability to rid the bloodstream of cholesterol. Therefore avoid the following foods: biscuits (cookies); sweets (candy); ice cream; white or brown sugar; sweet cakes; ice cream; soft drinks (sodas); white flour products; honey; molasses; pizzas; hot dogs; junk or fast foods; cream cheeses; full-fat dairy products; syrup; processed foods; fatty meats; lard; processed oils; and fried or scrambled eggs.
The following actions encourage good cholesterol: eat lean meats prepared by any method other than frying; eat as much fish as you want including oily fish such as salmon or mackerel; get some protein from low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk, soft cheeses and low-fat yogurts; eat as many vegetables and fruits, and especially apples, as you like; eat foods derived from plants with strong stems containing silica such as horsetail, grain husks, garlic, onions and shallots; use olive or sunflower oils only; and drink at least four glasses of water daily.
In addition to diet considerations, other complementary measures you can do are as follows: take exercise such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling etc. for at least 40 minutes per day; if you are a smoker, quit smoking; reduce any alcohol intake to two units daily; and take action to eliminate or reduce stress
You should avoid at all costs any pharmaceutical drugs, including those that may have been prescribed by your doctor, to reduce high cholesterol as they are dangerous. Drugs work by slowing down the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream. One side effect is that in addition to slowing down the absorption of cholesterol, they interfere with the absorption of essential fatty acids and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. The pharmaceutical companies have again, in a similar manner to elsewhere, hidden this information from you so as they can continue to make billions on a worldwide basis from manipulating the correct information on high cholesterol to their financial advantage.