â€œDonâ€™t eat that fat!â€ Fats, especially saturated fats, have been successfully demonized in our culture since the early 1950â€™s. It is hard to believe that only 100 years ago, coronary artery disease was virtually non-existent and less than 1% of Americans were obese. Fast forward to today where more than 1 out of every 3 Americans struggles with obesity and heart disease is the #1 cause of death. What happened?
Is it possible that numerous other cultures around the world consume more fat (including saturated fat) than Americans, yet have far less heart disease? Is it possible that increases in consumption of sugar, soda, caffeine, refined foods, flours and grains are far more responsible for the increases in degenerative diseases, and that these factors are the real culprits of Americanâ€™s declining health, while fats are essential and actually boost health, when part of a healthy diet and lifestyle? Is it possible that fats, and especially cholesterol, have been vilified in order to increase the sales of cholesterol lowering medications, while far more pernicious factors of the All-American-Diet have been ignored? I submit that the more you research these topics, the more you too will reach these conclusions.
Cholesterol is an absolutely essential nutrient that your body needs for numerous important functions and structures of your body. 75% of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver, while only 25% comes from what you eat. Did you know that if your cholesterol goes too low, you have an increased chance of cancer, depression, Parkinsonâ€™s disease, and even increased risk of suicide?
A meta-analysis (compilation of numerous studies) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compiled data from over 347,000 subjects who were followed for numerous years. In the end, the conclusion was that â€œthere is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.â€ There is an abundance of research that echoes these findings.
Statin drugs (such as Lipitor™ Plavix™, Zocor™, Crestor™ and others) are the best selling medications of all time. They are taken by millions of Americans on promises from their doctors and the advertising industry that lowering overall cholesterol and LDLâ€™s will prevent heart attacks and strokes. Everyone taking Statin drugs should research the effectiveness and side effects for themselves. The decision to stay on cholesterol medication requires a long term commitment (to receive possible benefits) and should be made after much investigation and discussion with a trusted health care professional.
There is a small percentage of people with familial hypercholesterolemia who will likely want to stay on Statin drugs for life. Anyone taking Statin drugs should investigate the benefits of taking Coenzyme Q-10 at the same time. CoQ10 protects the anti-oxidant mechanisms of the body (depleted by Statins) which prevent aging and many diseases.
A favorite resource of mine is www.mercola.com Dr. Mercolaâ€™s website is the #1 most visited natural health website in the world. It has thousands of pages of articles with mostly very good information. You can find very useful tools there, including how to divide and analyze your cholesterol/HDL/LDL/triglyceride ratios. The ratios of these different types of fats in your blood show how well your liver is converting fat. The lower your HDL to total cholesterol number, the greater your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Some natural strategies to lower bad cholesterol (LDL), raise good cholesterol (HDL) and increase cardiovascular health include:
-Decrease consumption of sugars, flours and grains in your diet
-Get adequate exercise
-Have your Vitamin D levels checked, and make sure you have optimum levels of Vitamin D
-Eat high quality fats high in Omega 3 fatty acids including grass fed animal products, wild caught fish and coconut oil
-Minimize vegetable oils, corn oil, and animal products fed corn
Cholesterol is a vital issue. By educating ourselves on the crucial role cholesterol plays in the body and how to naturally increase good fats in our diet and metabolism we can live longer, healthier lives.
Dr. Jeff McCloskey is a Doctor of Chiropractic at The Health Institute of Western Colorado in Grand Junction. He specializes in Applied Kinesiology and nutritional counseling to help restore health and prevent disease. He can be reached at 970-241-2400.