Cholesterol Myths Busted

No matter what you have been told, cholesterol is essential to your health.

Did you know that the liver produces cholesterol everyday to regulate hormones, brain function, and arterial health? Don’t let anyone tell you cholesterol is a disease. Your liver makes cholesterol because your body needs it. Calling cholesterol a disease is an utter contradiction.

Cholesterol produced by the liver helps protect the body–and the arteries–against harmful inflammation. Cholesterol is essential to health. It is oxidized cholesterol in low or high levels that is responsible for heart disease.

HOW DOES CHOLESTEROL OXIDIZE?

Cholesterol oxidizes after it is exposed to free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can destroy healthy cells in the body. Free radicals come from a number of external toxins, like air pollution, cigarette smoke, and drinking in excess. Free radicals can be found in our food and water in the form of pesticides and other toxic chemicals. So, free radicals are a given, though direct sources of free radical damage should be avoided, like pesticides and cigarette smoke. Free radical oxidation can be seen anywhere in nature – a banana that begins to turn brown, meat that goes bad, a scrape on the skin that becomes red and inflamed.

The process of oxidation is bound to happen, inside and outside of the body. Though it is not possible to eliminate free radicals altogether, the main problem occurs when the body does not have enough antioxidants to fight off free radical damage. A lack of antioxidants will allow cholesterol to oxidize. Oxidized cholesterol contributes to existing damage in the arteries and can affect the health of the heart.

HEART-HEALTHY MYTHS

There are an astounding number of misconceptions surrounding heart health in the medical community. The first
myth that needs busting is that of “bad” cholesterol. You may have been told by your doctor that there are two different kinds of cholesterol: good and bad, or HDL and LDL.

Bad cholesterol should be avoided at all costs, right? According to recent research, this myth is far from true. LDL (considered “bad”) cholesterol is not the evil many medical professionals make it out to be.

In a recent study published in the Journal of Gerontology, researchers assessed 52 adults from the ages of 60 to 69. The study participants were healthy, although not physically active in an exercise program. The researchers were surprised to find that the study participants with the highest levels of “bad” cholesterol gained the most muscle mass after completing an intense workout.

Study researcher Steve Riechman asserts that all cholesterol is good. Both LDL and HDL cholesterol are needed to balance overall health and provide specific benefits, such as the ability to gain muscle mass. Cutting out bad cholesterol completely can cause a number of health issues. Research supports cholesterol to prevent aggression, reduce the risk of haemorrhagic stroke, boost memory, fight infection, and even ward off cancer.

The second heart-healthy myth that needs busting is the recommendation to avoid saturated fat. Contrary to popular belief, saturated fat does not cause heart disease. In fact, a cardiology specialist at the Croydon University Hospital in London, Aseem Malhotra, believes that quite the opposite is true: Saturated fats in dairy and red meat may help to prevent heart disease.

The real danger can be found in trans fats in fast food and processed food, as well as baked goods and margarine. For years, we have been told by medical professionals to cut out trans fats and saturated fats completely. However, recent research points to the protective benefits of saturated fat in dairy to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of diabetes, thus protecting against heart disease.

Both of these studies rebut “common medical wisdom” that advises a heart- healthy low-fat diet to lower total cholesterol. This is a dangerous, slippery slope that does nothing to protect the health of the heart. Reducing the amount of healthy fat in the diet can actually increase the risk of heart disease. A low-fat diet will not benefit your heart.

THE CRITICAL HEART NUTRIENT

If avoiding cholesterol isn’t the answer, what can you do to protect your heart? The best way to guard your heart is to
cut out trans fats found in processed and fast foods. A heart-healthy diet consists of really healthy foods, free from starchy carbohydrates like cereals, cookies, white rice, potatoes, pastry, breads, and pasta. Enjoy up to 14 small portions of fresh or frozen vegetables a day; 3-5 portions of beans, nuts, and seeds; 3-5 portions of dark-skinned fruits; and liberal amounts of healthy oils, like hemp, krill, and olive oil.

There’s more. You can strengthen your heart with one critical nutrient to rejuvenate and energize every part of your body. A young, healthy heart is protected by ample levels of CoQ10 produced by the liver. CoQ10 is designed to support
the heart, lungs, and muscles and combat free radical damage. Over time, aging, poor diet, and illness begin to take their toll. By age 80, the body produces 65 per cent less CoQ10. A 75 per cent CoQ10 decline can lead to death.

The heart-healthy nutrient ubiquinol is a form of coenzyme Q10 that is eight times better absorbed. This powerhouse antioxidant can fuel each cell and process in your body, while protecting the health of your heart. Supplementing with ubiquinol is critical to correct a CoQ10 deficiency. Ubiquinol can alleviate atherosclerosis, hypertension, congestive heart failure, angina, and arrhythmia to strengthen your heart for years to come.

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