When judging cholesterol, it’s important to keep everything in moderation

Eating Well: A column by Paul Webster
Posted 8/20/18

You might have heard that there is no reason to worry about saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association, heart …

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When judging cholesterol, it’s important to keep everything in moderation

Posted

You might have heard that there is no reason to worry about saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in America, and both cholesterol and saturated fat contribute to an elevated risk of heart disease.

Doctors like Dean Ornish and Caldwell Esselstyn have proven that elimination of cholesterol and fat from your diet can help prevent, and in some cases reverse, heart disease. Dietary cholesterol is only found in animal products, while saturated fat is found in animal products and tropical oils like coconut oil.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is important for your overall health; your body uses it to build cells, maintain cell health and synthesize hormones and Vitamin D. What you may not realize is that your liver is designed to create all of the cholesterol your body needs.

The two most familiar types of cholesterol are Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL). LDL is the bad cholesterol; you can remember this by substituting the “L” for “Lousy” or “Least Desirable”.

HDL is the good cholesterol; you can remember this by substituting the “H” for “Happy” or “Highly Desirable”.

LDL transports cholesterol from the liver to cells, which is important for cell formation and the productivity and health of your cells. When there is too much LDL in the blood stream, the LDL can become oxidized and form plaque in your arteries. These atherosclerotic plaques are considered the main cause of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases.

The function of HDL is to transport cholesterol to organs where it is needed for the production of hormones. When there is excess cholesterol in your body, HDL carries the excess cholesterol back to the liver for elimination from the body. This is the reason why doctors tell you that it is important to have high HDL levels and low LDL levels.

According to the National Cancer Institute, the two most common sources of cholesterol in the American diet are eggs and chicken, followed closely by beef, cheese and fish. Cholesterol can become oxidized by exposure to heat or oxygen. Oxidized cholesterol is found in cheese, cooked meat, fish and eggs. Beyond heart disease, it is now believed that oxidized cholesterol may be one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

Everything in Moderation

I often hear the phrase everything in moderation, but what does that mean? If you woke up every morning and hit your thumb with a hammer, your thumb might be a little sore on the first day but after a week, your thumb would be red and swollen.

If you practiced moderation, you may only hit your thumb every other day, but that doesn’t solve the problem.

The only solution to prevent your thumb from being sore is to stop hitting it with the hammer.

When it comes to nutrition and health, moderation doesn’t always work. If you are concerned about your heart health, you need to stop eating the foods that are causing the injury. To help protect yourself from heart disease, you should eliminate your intake of cholesterol and saturated fats.

Eggs are the main contributor to cholesterol in the American diet. I suggest you search the Internet for egg substitute options such as ground flaxseed, garbanzo bean flour, and chia seeds.

I use a combination of these three items as egg substitutes in all of my baking.

Paul Webster is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, Certified Personal Trainer and a professionally trained chef. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

Questions and Comments can be set to Info@ServingHealthy.com

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