Cholesterol is regarded by the body as such an important metabolic aid that every cell has a mechanism to manufacture its own supply. (Erdmann, 1995)
It’s not bad or good; it’s quality of fat and the kind of food we eat. Cholesterol is a soft waxy lipid molecule manufactured in the liver and in human cells, produced in the liver and derived from animal fat we eat. Our body makes around two grams of cholesterol every day which is found in most of the body’s tissue used to aid in healing. Cholesterol fatty acids travel in the bloodstream where it helps make cell membranes, vitamin D, bile acids and hormones. There are two forms of cholesterol:
1. Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) that takes cholesterol away from the liver to use throughout the body.
2. High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) that is returned to the liver to be reused conserving our body’s energy.
Most of the food we eat has fat (lipids); including vegetables and these lipids are Triglyceride. Triglycerides are Very Low Density Lipids (VLDL) and the most common type of fat found in the blood. Triglycerides are made in the liver, from diet and stored calories which are used later for energy. When we eat too many calories those extra calories are stored in the form of triglycerides.
It isn’t the cholesterol rich in foods we need to worry about, it’s a diet high in simple carbohydrates and over eating that causes plaque build-up in the arteries. High triglycerides in the blood come from eating a diet high in simple carbohydrates, excessive starchy complex carbohydrates and trans- fats. They also come from eating too much throughout the day without enough exercise. Best to focus on a wholesome diet of complex carbohydrates from leafy greens, tart fruit, some nuts and seeds, some legumes, some grains and some vegetable oils with a higher ratio of grass fed/finished animal fat and protein. This kind of diet there is less chance for high triglycerides in the blood which can lead to arteriosclerosis.
Simple carbohydrates are: sugar, bread and pasta, potato/corn/cheese chips, crackers and sugary drinks. Starchy complex carbohydrates are: legumes, potatoes and yams
Trans- fats found in margarine and commercial snack foods.
Eating a wholesome diet with a focus on complex carbohydrates from leafy greens, tart fruit, some nuts and seeds, some legumes, some grains and some vegetable oils with a higher ratio of animal fat, then there is less chance for high triglycerides which can lead to arteriosclerosis.
Both cholesterol and triglycerides are made in the liver and must be obtained through whole foods; animal and plant.
- Is the body’s natural healing substance
- Is an antioxidant important for the immune system
- Manufactures sex hormones — androgen, testosterone, estrogen, progesterone for a healthy reproductive system.
- Makes corticosteroids precursors — glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids, the stress hormone and the hormone that protects the body against heart disease and cancer by protecting and supporting the immune system.
- Is needed in maintaining the health of the intestinal wall and a diet low in cholesterol can lead to intestinal disorders.
- Is vital for brain function and development; it forms membranes inside the cells keeping them permeable.
- Low levels has linked to aggressive and violent behaviour, depression and suicidal tendencies
- Stabilizes neurotransmitters which regulate moods
- Is necessary for the function of serotonin receptors in the brain, we know serotonin as the “feel-good” chemical.
- Is necessary for the synthesis of Vitamin D. Bioactive Vitamin D is a steroid hormone, Calcitriol; we know it as Vitamin D and it is a fat-soluble vitamin. We produce vitamin D in the kidneys which is important for:
- Regulating blood calcium levels
- Mineralization of bone and teeth.
- The nervous system
- Proper growth
- Mineral metabolism
- Muscle tone
- Insulin production
- The immune system.