In recent years, there has been a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to cholesterol and it’s two “types” – LDL and HDL. In reality, there is only one type of cholesterol – the chemical compound (10R,13R)-10,13-dimethyl-17-(6-methylheptan-2-yl)-2,3,4,7,8,9,11,12,14,15,16,17-dodecahydro-1H-cyclopenta[a]phenanthren-3-ol, Cholesterin, Cholesteryl alcohol.
What doctors refer to as LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol is actually the cholesterol that becomes damaged due to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress also damages the lining of your arteries, which is what makes your body release cholesterol in the first place. Apart from being the precursor to many hormones, the main job of cholesterol in the human body is to repair the lining of blood vessels, when they ‘break’. In other words, high LDL cholesterol in your blood indicates that your blood vessels have been damaged by oxidative stress. And what do we do when our cholesterol is high? We lower it with brute force – medication. This leaves your blood vessels damaged, yet preventing cholesterol from accumulating and clogging your arteries.
This does work, but it’s clearly not optimal. Instead, what you may do is reverse the oxidative stress, increase your antioxidant intake and fix your diet. As a result, everything in your body returns to normal and the underlying issue is fixed! But what are the sources of this oxidative stress? Here are a few:
- Trans fats
- Pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol
- UV rays from the sun (although these are needed in a small amount to make Vitamin D)
- Fried meat
If you have a lot of oxidative stress but not enough antioxidants, you have problems. Antioxidants come mainly from plant sources – nuts and vegetables. This is why the popular fruit-juice fast works – you start ingesting only fruit juices and nothing else. This fixes many, many health conditions and has been shown to reverse heart disease and cancer. In addition to antioxidants, you are also replenishing your magnesium, vitamins and virtually fixing every nutritional deficiency you may have. But this is not necessary – you can simply exclude trans fats, deeply fried meat from your diet and start eating more fruits and vegetables – just this will make a big difference, which can be easily measured the next time you get your cholesterol checked.
So, yes – LDL cholesterol levels are an important indicator of your health, but trying to lower them by lowering dietary fat may backfire, or it may work – depending on what you replace those calories with. If you replace them with fruits and vegetables, the antioxidant see-saw tilts in your favor.
Dietary cholesterol also doesn’t seem to matter, and there are many examples of people eating a very high-fat and even high-egg diet, who have normal cholesterol. Avoid trans fat and the oxidants that forum during high-temperature cooking of meat and you will be fine!
Also, we are just beginning to understand the role of cholesterol levels in increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease – new evidence suggests that the size and shape of LDL particles is much more important than the total LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. The best thing you can do is stick to a healthy diet, rich in antioxidants, to ensure that your arteries can freely dilate and their wall doesn’t get damaged by free radicals.