Six life­style sug­ges­tions to reg­u­late your choles­terol

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr He­lena Popovic

Some­times we’re so pre­oc­cu­pied with a door that has closed, we miss see­ing a door that has opened. This is what hap­pened when the med­i­cal com­mu­nity fo­cused all its at­ten­tion on high blood choles­terol as a po­ten­tial cause of heart at­tack. We for­got that by far the most pow­er­ful ways of low­er­ing heart dis­ease are ex­er­cis­ing reg­u­larly, re­duc­ing sugar, trans-fat and al­co­hol con­sump­tion and not smok­ing.

IF EV­ERY­ONE fol­lowed the five life­style guide­lines listed be­low then the ar­ti­cle, The

Choles­terol Con­tro­versy Part 2, would not need to have been writ­ten! It will ap­pear in the Oc­to­ber 2017 is­sue of GHGTM.

• stopped smok­ing

• was phys­i­cally ac­tive for 30 min­utes or more a day

• con­sumed less al­co­hol: no more than 10 (for women) and 14 (for men) stan­dard al­co­holic drinks per week, see Fruc­tose:

The New Booze, Nov. 2016 GHGTM mag­a­zine

• ate less than six tea­spoons of sugar each day, see Sugar: The New Fat, Oct. 2016 GHGTM mag­a­zine

• avoided trans-fats and con­sumed a diet rich in fi­bre.

When you fol­low the five life­style listed above, your body will ef­fec­tively self-reg­u­late your blood choles­terol. The ex­cep­tion is peo­ple with a rare ge­netic dis­or­der known as fa­mil­ial hy­per-choles­terol anaemia( hy­phen­ated for ease of read­ing ), so, please con­tinue to ad­here to your doc­tor’s ad­vice.

The av­er­age per­son makes about one gram of choles­terol ev­ery day, most of it in the liver. The amount you make on a daily ba­sis, changes in re­la­tion to your di­etary in­take. If you eat more choles­terol you will make less choles­terol and vice versa.

The to­tal amount of choles­terol in your body is around 35 grams, mainly found in your cell mem­branes. Choles­terol is also a com­po­nent of bile, which is stored in the gall blad­der. When bile is re­leased into the small in­tes­tine, it helps to digest di­etary fats and ab­sorb the fat-sol­u­ble Vi­ta­mins A, D, E and K. Bile also neu­tralises stom­ach acid be­fore the acid en­ters your duo­de­num and it kills any path­o­genic bac­te­ria that might be lurk­ing in your food.


The liver ex­cretes it via bile, into the di­ges­tive tract and about 50% of the ex­creted choles­terol is re­ab­sorbed back into the blood by the small in­tes­tine.


Th­ese are meat, prawns, poul­try, egg yolks, cheese, but­ter and breast milk. Con­trary to what I was taught in med­i­cal school, eat­ing th­ese foods will NOT el­e­vate small dense athero­genic LDL choles­terol lev­els. If you al­low your body to guide you and if you eat a wide va­ri­ety of whole foods, your body will bal­ance how much choles­terol it makes, re­cy­cles and ex­cretes. We need choles­terol from birth and


breast milk con­tains 14mg of choles­terol per 100g, much the same as in cow’s milk. If you are not lac­tose in­tol­er­ant and if you en­joy dairy prod­ucts, there is noth­ing un­healthy about en­joy­ing full fat dairy prod­ucts.


Some plant foods such as av­o­ca­dos, peanuts and lin­seeds ac­tu­ally re­duce our ab­sorp­tion of choles­terol be­cause they con­tain phy­tos­terols that com­pete with choles­terol and re­duce its up­take in the in­tes­tine. The key, as al­ways, is lis­ten­ing to your body to de­ter­mine your nu­tri­tional needs at any given time. One diet does not fit all. Pause be­fore eat­ing or plan­ning your meals and ask your­self what it is you need. Ev­ery­one’s bal­ance is dif­fer­ent. By learn­ing to tune in to your body, you will start to recog­nise what is nu­tri­tion­ally right for you at any given time.

The rea­son that choles­terol gets so much at­ten­tion is be­cause there are drugs that can lower blood choles­terol. No one prof­its from you go­ing for a walk ex­cept you, so walk­ing will get less press than statins (the most fre­quently pre­scribed choles­terol-low­er­ing med­i­ca­tions).

The is­sue with statins is that although they may be help­ful in some peo­ple with a high risk of heart dis­ease (this is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly de­bat­able), they can have un­pleas­ant side ef­fects such as myal­gia (mus­cle pain), fa­tigue, di­ges­tive prob­lems, men­tal fuzzi­ness, con­fu­sion, mem­ory loss, el­e­vated blood glu­cose lev­els and oc­ca­sion­ally liver dam­age. For some peo­ple, the mus­cle sore­ness and weak­ness are so se­vere that they stop ex­er­cis­ing and be­come so­cially with­drawn - this is far worse than hav­ing high choles­terol. Statins have also been associated with re­duc­tion in men­tal func­tion­ing in peo­ple with de­men­tia.

I am not ad­vo­cat­ing that you aban­don your choles­terol-low­er­ing med­i­ca­tion if that’s what you’ve been pre­scribed. I’m merely sug­gest­ing that you speak to your doc­tor if you have con­cerns about side ef­fects that are re­duc­ing your qual­ity of life. Ask your doc­tor if the risks out­weigh any po­ten­tial ben­e­fits.

Choles­terol is not some­thing we need to fear. Good health is de­ter­mined by more than blood test re­sults. Good health is about mak­ing daily choices that lead to im­proved en­ergy, vi­tal­ity and en­thu­si­asm for life. The most re­ward­ing and pow­er­ful thing we can do is to start tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for our own health.

In the next is­sue of GHGTM, the ar­ti­cle, The Choles­terol Con­tro­versy Part 2, pro­vides a sim­ple over­view of blood choles­terol lev­els and de­scribes the changes in the med­i­cal com­mu­ni­ties’ opin­ion on choles­terol.

Dr He­lena Popovic is a med­i­cal doc­tor, a lead­ing au­thor­ity on how to im­prove brain func­tion, in­ter­na­tional speaker and best-sell­ing au­thor. He­lena runs weight man­age­ment re­treats based on liv­ing not di­et­ing, and is the au­thor of the award-win­ning book ‘Neu­roSlim­ming – let your brain change your body’. For more in­for­ma­tion, re­fer to He­lena’s web­site.

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