What is cholesterol? I hear the word thrown around a lot, but what IS it exactly?
Cholesterol is steroid, which is a lipid. Hmm, what's a lipid? It's a large molecule in the body that comes as waxes, fats and hey, steroids!
Cholesterol is produced in the liver, and it forms other steroids, the sex hormones, and helps make Vitamin D. It also maintains the structure of cell membranes.
We know how water and oil don't mix, right?
Well, cholesterol is waxy, and blood is "watery." So, the way cholesterol gets around in the blood is by attaching itself to a protein and voila! You've got your lipoprotein! (There's the "good" cholesterol, HDL, and the "bad" one, LDL.)
LDL, or low-density protein is considered bad b/c it's the one bringing cholesterol to our arteries which, we're told, leads to heart disease.
But let's zip into the world of arteries and check out the scene...
When the cell membranes in the arteries becomes damaged, cholesterol gets sent to the rescue to basically patch up the holes and cracks. That is it's job-to maintain structure. So, if my blood cholesterol is too high, it means I'm needing a lot of cholesterol to protect myself from damage. But why the damage?
Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions refers to cholesterol as the police force. If you've got a lot of crime going on, you're gonna need the police frequently. But you can't blame the crimes on the police! You've got to smoke out the real culprit...
And taking a drug to prevent the liver from producing cholesterol is like turning off the alarms and giving the police a vacation! Not too smart.
So, why all this cholesterol? What are the "crimes?"
Well, firstly if someone has poor thyroid function, she's gonna have high cholesterol levels. The NY Times reports that about 15 million American have UNRECOGNIZED thyroid disease, often mistaking it for something else. Symptoms can include weight gain, dry hair or hair loss, fatigue, depression, abnormal menstrual cycles, etc.
Poor thyroid function can occur when the diet is high in sugar and low in usuable iodine, fat soluble vitamins, and other nutrients. (There can also be a genetic factor.)
Secondly, ruptures and damage to the artery walls occur when there's a lack of vitamins and minerals and instead a lot of processed foods, oxidized cholesterol, and the deadly trans fats that cause the body to need lots of repair.
When you think trans fat, think margarine...
Thirdly, high levels of homocysteine, an amino acid, seem to be related to plaque build-up, an indicator of heart disease. This may be caused by a Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Ok, so I understand abit more what cholesterol is. Aside from other uses, it's my alarm, my police, my band-aid, and I need it.
But I need vitamins and minerals to ensure that my alarm doesn't go off and to make sure my body remains strong. That means eating more of the good stuff: Green, leafy vegetables, fruits, and throwing in eggs in the mix. Folic acid, and vitamins B6 & B12 are our targets, in this case. They break down homocysteine.
These are the power-packed, butt-kickin' foods G-d has already made for us!!!
Plus, natural sea salt is a good source of usuable iodine. I know there's table salt with iodine added, but NATURAL sea salt has not been refined, and at this point the less refined, the safer we are!
Check it out yourself...
Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon