Traditionally, every doctor will advise a patient that “High cholesterol” is the most undesired condition that they could ever have since it is popularly believed to be the path to heart disease complications and early death. Traditionally, statin drugs are also the prime medication by which you will be prescribed to lower your LDL cholesterol (Low-density lipoprotein, popularly known as the “bad cholesterol” in the body).
Not anymore! Finally, in 2015, research findings published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism indicated that as you age, having high cholesterol is supposed to be much more beneficial. The study which was conducted in Japan indicated that people with the highest cholesterol levels had the lowest mortality rate from heart disease.
The study had proven that “mortality goes down when there is higher total or LDL cholesterol” in the body, as indicated by most of the Japanese epidemiological studies of the general population.
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy and fat-soluble nutrient largely important for the human body. Although acknowledged as the culprit behind atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries reportedly because of too many deposits of cholesterol, our cholesterol is also instrumental to many important biological functions in the body.
Firstly, the human brain cannot do its work without cholesterol. Secondly, cholesterol fulfills an important function of producing steroid hormones. And thirdly, cholesterol helps in lowering stress and even treating Multiple Sclerosis (MS) because the body needs cholesterol to create the myelin sheath that protects its nerves.
Complications from Not Having Cholesterol
Individuals who have little or no cholesterol usually suffer from lower immunity, increased infections, vision problems, autism, and difficulty digesting their food. There are also people who are born with a genetic deficiency in cholesterol. This disease is called Smith-Lemli-Opitz or SLOS, and it is passed on to children whose both parents have the disease. Those born without the ability to generate cholesterol may possess physical deformities in their feet, internal organs, and hands.
The Importance of Cholesterol
The body works at optimum performance with the presence of cholesterol. Every cell in the body has cholesterol as part of the general composition of each cell membrane. Cholesterol also enables the different chemicals in the body to interact with each other.
Without the presence of cholesterol, the body can’t produce bile acid, leading to very poor digestion. Our sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen and the production of Vitamin D are also generated with the assistance of cholesterol.
What else needs cholesterol in the body? Our brain! The latest research also indicated that cholesterol also bonds with sulfur in the body to make cholesterol sulfate. This element thins the blood and allows the body to store electrons and lower blood pressure when we’re walking barefoot. These new findings of cholesterol sulfate are being viewed as a possible new treatment for reducing heart disease.
Cholesterol and Diabetes
Diabetic people have too much of the bad type of cholesterol and not enough of the good cholesterol (HDL or High-density Lipoprotein). Having too much of the bad cholesterol can lead to a condition called “diabetic dyslipidemia” that can end up in heart disease.
It is not fun to have diabetes because it makes you prone to a slew of other diseases other than heart disease. One other disease that diabetics are prone to is atherosclerosis, which we defined earlier as a condition wherein our arteries become clogged with fat, and thus blocking blood vessels and damaging blood flow. Unfortunately, insulin resistance is associated with diabetic dyslipidemia. If you are diabetic, you should be careful of your cholesterol levels and pay special attention to your diet (no or minimal sugar, opt for leafy greens and fruits – and the good cholesterol fatty foods like omega-3 fatty acids from fish and organic nuts).
What Foods to Eat to Get Good Cholesterol
Cholesterol is found in mono-unsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs. But there are foods that produce healthy fats which lead to good cholesterol. Historically, Coconut Oil had received such a bad rap from Western countries, tagging it as bad cholesterol. We beg to differ from their line of thinking. We believe coconut oil and coconut milk are good for the body and produce good cholesterol because of the long history of island nations that have been living and thriving with coconuts and coconut oil.
Also, omega-3 fatty acids from fish caught in the open sea with scales, and not farmed fish.
Well, are you convinced of the positive benefits of high cholesterol? Share your opinions in the comments section below!