(NaturalNews) Having discussed cholesterol`s function in the body and alleviated the fear that high cholesterol will guarantee you a heart attack, one of the most common assumptions is, "The body can make all the cholesterol it requires, so there is no need to eat foods containing cholesterol." This statement sounds convincing and even logical. But as a matter of fact it`s completely false.
If you haven`t read about it yet, this article explains why your body needs cholesterol, and you can review the connections between heart disease and cholesterol here .
While it is true that the body manufactures cholesterol in the liver, this does not mean you can cut all cholesterol out of your diet and expect to be healthy. In fact, if you are on a diet extremely low in cholesterol, you can expect quite the opposite to happen.
It`s understandable that many people would balk at this suggestion. After all, nearly everyone has heard time and time again how dietary cholesterol is detrimental to your health. However, many studies have shown that diets which include saturated fats and cholesterol do not cause high cholesterol levels.
Take for instance a study done by researchers from the University of Michigan. The study looked at about 2,000 participants from Tecumseh, Michigan. The individuals were asked in great detail what they had eaten during a 24-hour period. Authors of the Michigan study wrote, "The distribution of daily intake of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol by the individuals in this study was quite broad." No link was found between cholesterol in the diet and cholesterol in the blood.
In London, Professor Jeremy Morris studied 99 middle-aged men who were asked to record in detail the foods they ate in two separate one-week periods. In analyzing the study, there was no discernable connection between these men`s blood serum cholesterol and the foods they ate. There are numerous other studies that produced similar findings.
It should also be mentioned that the body makes somewhere around 2,000 milligrams of cholesterol each day. This number quite overshadows the amount that most Americans eat (around 200-400 mg), and even less than that is actually absorbed by the body. So, cutting back on dietary cholesterol makes a marginal difference in total cholesterol at best.
Still, this brings people back to the question, "If the body makes so much cholesterol, why do you need to eat it?" The answer is in the body itself, and in its ancient instinct.
When you completely deprive yourself of cholesterol, the hormone insulin activates an enzyme in your liver that produces excess cholesterol from glucose, which comes from the carbohydrates you eat. The trouble is, when this enzyme (called HMG Co-A Reductase) is in force, it`s not unusual for the liver to overproduce cholesterol, resulting in high blood serum levels. Eating cholesterol is a signal to the liver to stop producing it in excess.
It`s difficult to fully grasp this concept when, even today, there are many health officials who recommend that daily cholesterol intake be kept as low as possible. Most people have never even heard of the idea that cholesterol might be good for you. But fortunately, more and more people in the medical profession are beginning to see that eating cholesterol is a simple way to help achieve a natural balance in health.
Of course, the type of cholesterol you choose to eat is important. Cholesterol that has been over-processed is generally rancid and oxidized. This type of damaged cholesterol is very unhealthy and should be avoided. You`ll typically find damaged cholesterol in processed foods, especially in highly processed meats and in foods from fast food restaurants. Look to high-quality natural foods like eggs, butter, and seafood for your cholesterol.
Schwarzbein, Diana. (1999) The Schwarzbein Principle: The Truth About Losing Weight, Being Healthy and Feeling Younger.
About the author
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...