You go to your doctor for a routine check-up and they take a couple vials of your blood. During the results discussion with your doctor they tell you that your bad cholesterol LDL is high. What usually comes next is your doctor explaining that you need to cut out red meat and exercise more. You get sent off on your way saying bye to the cow and feeling defeated.
But is it really the red meat? I mean it's not like you eat a steak every night, come to think of it you don't even remember the last time you ate a steak. So what gives?
First, let's talk about why we have cholesterol and the fact that it isn't all that bad for you. Cholesterol is synthesized by the liver and is needed for critical body functions like steroid hormone production such as cortisol (yes cortisol is actually good, we need it for balanced energy), sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen, vitamin D (yes D is a hormone), and bile salts (which are a precursor for bile needed to breakdown fats in our diet). Cholesterol also helps clean up inflammation in the body (that is our good cholesterol HDL)! Without cholesterol, your nerves would fail to function correctly. Often when you have high LDL & high triglycerides you will see your HDL low. This is not good.
So what actually causes high cholesterol you may be wondering?
LDL cholesterol will go to the site of inflammation while HDL transports excess cholesterols in the body back to the liver for clean up. When LDL is too high due to inflammation and HDL is too low due to low output from the liver this can cause chronic issues. You see, it is a delicate balance and we need both!
There are a variety of roots causes that could be driving up cholesterol. A diet high in sugars and seed oils, poor sleep and stress, insulin resistance, sluggish liver, and even food sensitivities. What all of these have in common are factors connected to inflammation.
Red meat high in saturated fat can be a risk factor, but in the Standard American Diet, I would bet my money on processed meats, processed foods, and sugar. A diet rich in these three is a body rich with inflammation and not enough good health fats.
Let's stop vilifying meat and start looking at your processed foods and sugar intake instead.
Additionally you can give you liver some love to help it synthesize the good cholesterol and dispose of the excess bad cholesterol. I have a FREE gift for you if you made it to the end of this blog. Download your Love Your Liver In 10 Ways handout below and start giving your liver the love and attention it needs to thrive.
Cheers to a happy liver balanced cholesterol.