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Are your cholesterol levels healthy?

December 13, 2016 / Nutrition

I was asked a question about low liver cholesterol last week in one of my sessions. The person asked “can diet affect your cholesterol levels and can it affect your heart?”

In our diet we eat a lot of things like eggs and red meat. Can this have an increased relationship with cholesterol and negative affect of your heart? The answer is no. I’ll go into that in a little more detail.

So cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure but there’s no direct response to high cholesterol levels. It’s more of a response to LDL fats. The more cholesterol you’ve got in your body, the more LDL you’re going to need to carry them around your body.

Think of your LDL as a bus or train service. They’re going around and being deposited where there are any problems. For example, if a plasterer comes to your house, they’re going to plaster around any cracks on your wall and it’s the same process with cholesterol for you and your body.

The problem isn’t in the cholesterol. It’s actually in the LDL fats that we have carrying the cholesterol around the body. Now, your diet can increase your LDL levels. But the issue with this is this could cause a buildup of plaque and proteins around your heart.

Which leads to increased blood pressure and increases your chances of heart disease. So that’s where the problems come from. If you’ve got high LDL fats in your body, it’s going to cause you problems. Why?  Because it’s going to increase your blood pressure and increase the buildup of plaque around the areas travelling around your body.

On the flip side if you’ve got HDL, high density levels of proteins these are thicker, high dense proteins that allow your body to get rid of all your cholesterol. So now you’ve got excess cholesterol, your HDL will actually get rid of that for you. If you’ve got a poor diet that’s low in HDL, low in fats, then this is actually going to increase your risk of having heart disease and increased blood pressure in the future.

Foods high in HDL are things like fruits, vegetables and legumes. If you’ve not got any of those in your diet,  you’ll actually increase your risk of heart disease. So can foods affect your cholesterol levels? Not necessarily.  Cholesterol is regulated by the body. Cholesterol isn’t made by the body but you can’t survive without it.

The level of cholesterol in your body can affect your hormones too. It can produce vitamin D which also gets carried around the body. If you’re eating foods such as eggs, meat and dairy fat, this will increase cholesterol production.

So what happens to your body? Well it regulates this and starts to produce less cholesterol within your body. If you’ve got higher HDL fats they will extract more cholesterol away from your body. If you’ve got increased levels of LDL fats, they’ll stay in your body and won’t do much.

Having the extra HDL fats in your body will get rid of the excess LDL fats. Having more cholesterol in our diets is going to simply slow the process down of making cholesterol within your body. It’s not a bad thing as it will be regulated by your body.

In fact, a few studies have actually shown that having 3 eggs per day has increased the HDL and lowered the LDL fats.  So the ratio of bad fats has gone down and the good fats have gone up. That’s why having 3 eggs per day could be a beneficial factor. When it comes to heart disease, eggs are a benefit. They reduce levels of LDL in your body.

If you’ve got any questions or any concerns regarding your own nutrition, feel free to send me a message: info@rhysperrett.com.

 

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