Five Cholesterol Myths and What to Eat Instead
Are you just about done with everyone’s “obsession” with cholesterol? Do you already know that cholesterol is not all bad, in fact there is “good” cholesterol?
Well, here it is. Let me bust some common cholesterol myths right now starting with the myth that “cholesterol is cholesterol” because it’s not. Depending on which of its buddies cholesterol is floating through your blood with makes a massive difference. Not to mention the fact that cholesterol is essential to good health. (Yes, you read that right!).
After I bust those myths I’ll give you the goods on what healthy lifestyle choices you can make to increase that “good” cholesterol (because medicines don’t seem to be able to do that but I will tell you what can!).
And I’ll leave you with a delicious recipe that you can use to get more veggies into your day!
You knew there was a bit of an over-emphasis (borderlining obsession) about cholesterol, right?
Before we jump into some myths let’s make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to what exactly cholesterol is.
Myth #1: “Cholesterol” is cholesterol
While cholesterol is an actual molecule, what it is bound to while it’s floating through your blood is what’s more important than just how much of it there is overall. In fact depending on what it’s combined with can have opposite effects on your arteries and heart. Yes, opposite!
So cholesterol is just one component of a compound that floats around your blood. These compounds contain cholesterol as well as fats and special proteins called “lipoproteins”.
They’re grouped into two main categories:
- HDL: High Density Lipoprotein (AKA “good” cholesterol) that “cleans up” some of those infamous “arterial plaques” and transports cholesterol back to the liver.
- LDL: Low Density Lipoprotein (AKA “bad” cholesterol) that transports cholesterol from the liver (and is the kind found to accumulate in arteries and become easily oxidized hence their “badness”).
And yes, it’s even more complicated than this. Each of these categories is further broken down into subcategories which can also be measured in a blood test.
So “cholesterol” isn’t simply cholesterol because it has very different effects on your body depending on which other molecules it’s bound to in your blood and what it is actually doing there.
Myth #2: Cholesterol is bad
Cholesterol is absolutely necessary for your body to produce critical things like vitamin D when your skin is exposed to the sun, your sex hormones (e.g. estrogen and testosterone), as well as bile to help you absorb dietary fats. Not to mention that it’s incorporated into the membranes of your cells.
Talk about an important molecule!
The overall amount of cholesterol in your blood (AKA “total cholesterol”) isn’t nearly as important as how much of each kind you have in your blood.
While way too much LDL cholesterol as compared with HDL (the LDL:HDL ratio) may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease it is absolutely not the only thing to consider for heart health.
Myth #3: Eating cholesterol increases your bad cholesterol
Most of the cholesterol in your blood is made by your liver. It’s actually not from the cholesterol you eat. Why do you think cholesterol medications block an enzyme in your liver (HMG Co-A reductase, to be exact)? ‘Cause that’s where it’s made!
What you eat still can affect how much cholesterol your liver produces. After a cholesterol-rich meal your liver doesn’t need to make as much.
Myth #4: Your cholesterol should be as low as possible
As with almost everything in health and wellness there’s a balance that needs to be maintained. There are very few extremes that are going to serve you well.
People with too-low levels of cholesterol have increased risk of death from other non-heart-related issues like certain types of cancers, as well as suicide.
Myth #5: Drugs are the only way to get a good cholesterol balance
Don’t start or stop any medications without talking with your doctor.
And while drugs can certainly lower the “bad” LDL cholesterol they don’t seem to be able to raise the “good” HDL cholesterol all that well.
Guess what does?
Nutrition and exercise, baby!
One of the most impactful ways to lower your cholesterol with diet is to eat lots of fruits and veggies. I mean lots, say up to 10 servings a day. Every day. That’s why I take this – every day I’m getting 25 – 40 vine-ripened, chemical free fruits and vegetables into my body! EVERY DAY! So simple.
Don’t worry the recipe below should help you add at least another salad to your day.
You can (should?) also exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, and eat better quality fats. That means fatty fish, avocados and olive oil. Ditch those over-processed hydrogenated “trans” fats.
The science of cholesterol and heart health is complicated and we’re learning more every day. You may not need to be as afraid of it as you are. And there is a lot you can do from a nutrition and lifestyle perspective to improve your cholesterol level.
Recipe (Dressing to go with your salad): Orange Hemp Seed Dressing
Makes about ¾ cup
- ½ cup hemp seeds
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- dash salt and/or pepper
Blend all ingredients together until creamy.
Serve on top of your favourite salad and Enjoy!
Tip: Store extra in airtight container in the fridge. Will keep for about a week.
Tanya Morrison has been in the Health/Wellness and Fitness Field for over two decades and has coached and trained many clients during this time. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Precision Nutrition Coach, Pilates/Aerobics/Yoga Instructor and more. She is the creator of the Busy Mama Reboot 28 day program, 10 Day Body Reset Detox, 30 Days to a New You, Holistic Weight Management System and many more on-line programs. To find out more about these life changing programs check out the testimonials and information at www.moveyourbody.ca
Tanya has created FREE Healthy Living Challenges that you can sign up for HERE, because even though we know all this “healthy stuff” it’s good to be reminded to keep it in our awareness. Tanya created the Busy Mama Healthy Mama Facebook page so that like-minded mama’s could get great healthy information and recipes in a fun and light-hearted way.
Tanya also teaches many different classes at Move Your Body Studio in Bobcaygeon, www.moveyourbody.ca and has written Healthy Snacks for Kids, Get the Skinny on Skinny Jeans & Living Vibrantly with Raw Goodness – Your Guide to Juicing & Blending, the 21 Laws of Irrefutable Fat Loss, How to Get Rid of Cellulite and more. Her blog, www.tanyamorrison.ca has lots of great articles to help you navigate your way to the healthy life you want, tons of recipes and great tips!
Tanya presents High Performance Nutrition for Kids and Teens, How to Become an Efficient Fat Burner, hosts Raw Smoothie Parties and many more presentations. Please contact her to set up your presentation.
Lifestyle Coaching Available
Are you in need of a Lifestyle Adjustment? Stumped about what to eat, how to move and what to think? Keep sabotaging yourself? Can’t lose weight? Exhausted?
How to get started
I don’t know where to start…I’m overwhelmed
Let’s chat. Click here to send me an email. Let me know your goal(s). I’ll email you back to arrange a time for your 30 minute complimentary discovery call. Coaching can be done via email, phone, skype or in person.
I’m ready to start and I’d like online coaching help
You are ready for guidance on how to choose your thoughts, move your body & balance your nutrition to give you the energy and waistline that you want and MORE. Learn more by clicking here. These programs are available on-line to anyone with internet access around the globe.
10 Day Body Reset Detox
I’m ready to start and I’d like to see you in person
Let’s arrange a time to meet. We can set up an introductory complimentary 30 minute consultation. During our time together, based upon your needs, a plan will be prepared especially for you. I look forward to hearing from you when you click here