There is a major misconception that you must avoid foods like eggs and saturated fat to protect your heart. While it’s true that fats from animal sources contain cholesterol, I’ve explained earlier in this article why this should not scare you — but I’ll explain even further here. This misguided principle is based on the “lipid hypothesis” — developed in the 1950s by nutrition pioneer Ancel Keys — that linked dietary fat to coronary heart disease. The nutrition community of that time completely accepted the hypothesis, and encouraged the public to cut out butter, red meat, animal fats, eggs, dairy and other “artery-clogging” fats from their diets — a radical change at that time.
What you may not know is that when Keys published his analysis that claimed to prove the link between dietary fats and coronary heart disease, he selectively analyzed information from only six countries to prove his correlation, rather than comparing all the data available at the time — from 22 countries. As a result of this “cherry-picked” data, government health organizations began bombarding the public with advice that has contributed to the diabetes and obesity epidemics going on today: eat a low-fat diet. Not surprisingly, numerous studies have actually shown that Keys’ theory was wrong and saturated fats are healthy (when prepared correctly, i.e. not deep frying), including these studies from Fallon and Enig’s classic article The Skinny on Fats:
- A survey of South Carolina adults found no correlation of blood cholesterol levels with “bad” dietary habits, such as use of red meat, animal fats, fried foods, butter, eggs, whole milk, bacon, sausage and cheese.
- A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.
Of course, as Americans cut out nutritious animal fats from their diets, they were left hungry. So they began eating more processed grains, more vegetable oils, and more high-fructose corn syrup, all of which are nutritional disasters. It is this latter type of diet that will eventually lead to increased inflammation, and therefore cholesterol, in your body. So don’t let anyone scare you away from saturated fat anymore. Chronic inflammation is actually caused by a laundry list of items such as:
- Oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such as that from overcooked, scrambled eggs)
- Eating lots of sugar and grains
- Eating foods cooked at high temperatures
- Eating trans fats
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Emotional stress
So to sum it all up, in order to lower your inflammation and cholesterol levels naturally, you must address the items on this list.
How to Lower Your Cholesterol Naturally…
- Make sure you’re getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats. New research suggests that as little as 500 mg may lower your total cholesterol and triglycerides and will likely increase your HDL cholesterol.
- Reduce, with the plan of eliminating, grains and sugars in your daily diet. It is especially important to eliminate dangerous sugars such as fructose. If your HDL/Cholesterol ratio is abnormal and needs to be improved it would also serve you well to virtually eliminate fruits from your diet, as that it also a source of fructose. Once your cholesterol improves you can gradually reintroduce it to levels that don’t raise your cholesterol.
- Eat a good portion of your food raw.
- Eat healthy, preferably raw, fats. This Includes:
o Olive and olive oil
o Coconut and coconut oil
o Organic raw dairy products (including butter, cream, sour cream, cheese, etc.)
o Raw nuts
o Eggs (lightly cooked with yolks intact or raw)
o Organic, grass-fed meats
- Get the right amount of exercise, especially High Intensity Interval Training, and Tabata. When you exercise you increase your circulation and the blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of fighting an illness before it has the opportunity to spread.
- Avoid smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol.
- Address your emotional challenges. I particularly love the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) for stress management.
So there you have it; the reasons why high cholesterol is a worry that many of you simply do not need to have, along with a simple plan to optimize yours. If someone you love is currently taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, I urge you to share this information with them as well, and take advantage of the hundreds of health-related articles on our blog site, Real Nutrition Northwest. For the majority of you reading this right now, there’s no reason to risk your health with cholesterol-lowering drugs. With the plan I’ve just outlined, you’ll achieve the cholesterol levels you were meant to have, along with the very welcome “side effects” of increased energy, mood and mental clarity.
Too good to be true? Hardly. For the vast majority of people, making a few lifestyle changes causes healthy cholesterol levels to naturally occur. As always, your health really is in your hands. Now it’s up to you to take control — and shape it into something great.