Lower your cholesterol the natural way

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Lower your cholesterol the natural way

17th Feb 2014

Lowering your cholesterol the natural way

I sit here writing this blog after reading a news article on the BBC Health website entitled ‘Guidelines call for more people to be put on Statins’.

Statins are used to lower cholesterol levels in our body, more specifically LDL levels, also known as the ‘bad cholesterol’. The theory is that lowering these LDL levels will lower the risk of Heart Disease.

However, statins do come with side effects, and widening the administration of them to those with less risk of heart disease, in order to prevent it in the future, is something that can be done through your diet and lifestyle.

The guidelines are coming from research funded by the pharmaceutical companies, and bearing in mind the NHS already spends around £450million per year on statins, are we really the ones who are going to benefit the most?

On to cholesterol…. The way we view cholesterol is currently over-simplified. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is your bad cholesterol, HDL (high-density lipoprotein) is your good cholesterol. The higher our ‘bad’ cholesterol level, the more at risk we are for heart disease (low HDL levels and high triglyceride levels are also risk factors, but as statins effect LDL, so this is where I’ll focus).

However, it’s not your total LDL levels that are the real risk factor; it’s the type. LDLs are considered ‘bad’ because they can damage the walls of arteries. But, the smaller and denser the LDL particle, the more harm it can do.

This is me simplifying things now, but imagine the damage a cricket ball could do to your car window, compared to a balloon. The same is true for your artery walls. So, it’s the type of LDL flowing round our bloodstream - the smaller denser particles - that are the real risk factor.

So…what affects the size and the density of LDLs? It’s not saturated fat or dietary cholesterol as we are told; it’s actually carbohydrates, specifically refined and processed carbohydrates (grains, simple sugars etc.).

Low-fat diets, rich in carbohydrates, actually raise the amount of small, dense LDL, as well as raise triglyceride levels and lower HDL levels (both negative risk factors).

For years we have been told that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol, will raise cholesterol, therefore increasing our risk of heart disease.

However, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol actually reduce the levels of the small LDLs that are linked to heart disease as well as raise levels of HDL, your ‘good’ cholesterol.

It’s my opinion that we shouldn’t be freely administering statins to lower cholesterol, in an attempt to lower heart disease risk. This can be done through cutting down on the packaged and highly processed foods, including refined carbohydrates, that make up a large part of the western diet.

Also, saturated fats found in animal products like meat and eggs are not something to be feared and avoided, but to be embraced. This type of lifestyle will also help with weight loss, energy levels, craving control and other health benefits.