Cholesterol. Why do we need it?

“Limit your intake of cholesterol or you’ll be at great risk of developing heart disease.” True or False?

FALSE!

 

The tides are shifting and more people are starting to accept the importance of natural fats and even cholesterol. Yet, people who accept it may still question their daily habits due to an ingrained message that too much dietary cholesterol will lead to heart disease.

 

Remember: We NEED cholesterol! It’s essential for our health!

–       It’s part of every cell membrane

–       Cholesterol makes up much of our brain

–       Helps metabolize fat-soluble vitamins

–       Converts UV light to vitamin D

–       Produces bile

–       A precursor to neurotransmitters (regulates mood)

–       Critical for hormone synthesis

–       Now being considered an antioxidant (scavenger of free-radicals)

 

In fact, the liver makes sure that the body has sufficient amounts of cholesterol. If we don’t take in adequate dietary cholesterol, the liver makes more. This natural homeostatic mechanism is an indication that we need cholesterol for proper body function.

 

The conventional link between cholesterol and heart disease may have been an example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of being a contributing cause, new theories suggest that cholesterol actually acts as a “band-aid” to help protect arterial lesions. More evidence points towards inflammation and oxidation as the root cause of heart disease, not cholesterol itself. And, high levels of small, dense LDL may be a result of excessive processed food and carbohydrate consumption, not dietary cholesterol.

 

Our advice: cut the grains and sugars, consume antioxidant rich foods, keep stress low and put the eggs back on your plate! The quality of your food, how it was grown and produced, and the nutrient density of your diet all play a part in the big picture.

 

PasturedEggs

 

To learn more, check out these great links:

The Eating Academy

Weston A Price – Cholesterol: Friend or Foe?

Chris Kresser: Does your diet affect your cholesterol level?

 

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