Inflammation and Cholesterol
Today I want to share with you some information about cholesterol. Cholesterol, by the way, is not a bad thing. In fact, cholesterol is your friend, and you need it. Before you think I’ve totally lost it, allow me to explain a bit about inflammation and cholesterol.
Why in the world would cholesterol be a good thing? Isn’t our goal to get rid of it, or to get our cholesterol levels as low as possible?
Cholesterol is found in every cell of your body. You need it to produce hormones, vitamin D, bile acids that help you digest your food, and you need it to produce cell membranes. Before our American diet gets a hold of it, cholesterol is a soft waxy substance that is found in every cell as well as in our bloodstream, and it is vital for brain health. It plays a key role in important neurological functions.
Traditional teaching tells us HDL is “good” cholesterol, and LDL is the “bad” cholesterol. That’s a good start, but it’s overly simplified; it’s a bit more complicated than that as LDL cholesterol is not always bad.
HDL or high-density lipoprotein is believed to help prevent heart disease which is why it is important to have your HDL levels high. This type of cholesterol helps remove any excess cholesterol from the arterial plaque in our arteries.
LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, is demonized because it is widely believed it may build up in your arteries forming plaque on your arterial walls. Our cholesterol tests most often give us our HDL and LDL levels. What is missing in these test results is the fact that there are different kinds of LDL cholesterol; large, medium and small. For our purposes today, we’ll simplify a complex discussion and say there is large LDL and small LDL.
The title of this article is Inflammation and Cholesterol, so, how is cholesterol tied in with inflammation? Very simply, not all LDL cholesterol is bad cholesterol. It’s actually our highly inflammatory American diet of too much sugar, bad fats, too many processed grains and foods, our sedentary life styles etc. that cause inflammation in our bodies to alter our LDL cholesterol. It is changed by our diets from its original soft fluffy buoyant (large) characteristic to a hard dense (small) LDL cholesterol. It’s this hard dense LDL that does us in! It attaches to the artery walls forming plaque and causing the inflammation that promotes cardiovascular disease. This plaque makes our arteries narrow and less flexible. If a clot ever forms in one of these compromised arteries and makes it to your heart or your brain, you are likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke.
Inflammation is the enemy not cholesterol! The key is to eat a low inflammatory diet so your large buoyant LDL cholesterol stays that way. Staying away from sugar, processed foods, bad fats like canola oil, hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils will get you on the right path and will help you improve your cholesterol levels and your health in general.
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness in Your Life!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
Cheryl A Major lives in Westford and is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Her TV show, Thin Strong Healthy, airs on WestfordCat and is an offshoot of her blog http://ThinStrongHealthy.com Cheryl offers ongoing information and personal health coaching to help you feel better and be healthier. Follow Cheryl on Twitter @CherylAMajor. She is also a full time residential Realtor with Coldwell Banker with more than 25 years experience.
P.S. Check out all the free recipes for great tasting healthy eating in the Recipe Section at http://ThinStrongHealthy.com