Have you ever heard, “high cholesterol is bad,” “eat low cholesterol foods to avoid getting high cholesterol,” and “eggs are dangerous because of their cholesterol content…eat the whites only!”
You’re not alone.
As soon as these messages began to be circulated in mainstream America, Big Pharma and the medical system introduced the magic bullet for our ailing bodies: statin drugs!
But is this really the solution?
If you’re like me, when the media/government/medical system says something is true, believe and do the opposite. Of course, we have to use critical thinking and our own research, but this approach has never let me down.
The cholesterol controversy is a good example of our system saying one thing and the opposite being true.
- Should we avoid cholesterol?
- Do eggs, full-fat dairy, and fatty meats from grass-fed/pastured animals cause dangerous levels of cholesterol?
The answer is a resounding, “No!” based on traditional wisdom from past generations.
In fact, cholesterol is essential to our bodily health and function. Did you know your brain is composed of significant amounts of cholesterol? No wonder statins come with scary side effects such as confusion, memory loss, and even diabetes. The article linked here contains an excellent display of well-cited information regarding the dangers of statin drugs.
So, should we shun cholesterol and maybe even eat a fat-free, vegan diet? Absolutely not! In fact, cholesterol is something I make sure my family has enough of in our diet. Instead of going fat-free, we avoid processed foods, sugar (besides raw honey and high-quality maple syrup), and carbs unless those carbs are balanced with fats or protein.
Cholesterol comes along with some of the world’s most nourishing foods including:
- pastured eggs,
- freshwater fish and seafood,
- pastured/grass-fed meats,
- organ meats,
- and full-fat (raw) dairy
Cholesterol is unavoidable if you intend to eat a diet bursting with bioavailable nutrients, easily-digestible protein, and satiating fats! But, cholesterol isn’t just an accidental ride-along. Cholesterol plays many roles in keeping a body strong and healthy.
Here are 3 reasons why cholesterol should be part of our diets. Even though our bodies do produce some cholesterol, we shouldn’t just rely on our body’s own production of it:
- “[…] Humans cannot live without cholesterol” (pg 261, and all page numbers referenced, are from Dr. Campbell-McBride’s book). According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, cholesterol is needed in every cell of our bodies. It is an important part of cell membranes and is used body-wide, particularly by our brains, which take about 25% of the body’s cholesterol. Our nervous systems and eyes require cholesterol to function properly; even human breastmilk has a specific enzyme to help infants absorb nearly 100% of the included cholesterol since it is so important for the child’s developing brain and eyes (pg 261). “If you start interfering with the supply of cholesterol in the body, you put the very structure of the brain and the rest of the nervous system under threat,” says Dr. Campbell-McBride, adding that “dietary cholesterol in fresh eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods has been shown in scientific trials to improve memory in the elderly” (pg 262). So not only is it important to avoid cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins, but it is important to support our body’s use of cholesterol. Why demand our cells work so hard to produce cholesterol for us if we could just supply it through our diets?
- Sometimes, our bodies cannot produce enough cholesterol (pg 263). Due to toxicities or nutritional deficiencies, some individuals are unable to support their body’s demands for cholesterol. In a healthy person, the body produces cholesterol as needed, and blood cholesterol levels are carefully maintained by several systems in the body (pg 263).
- Cholesterol can be a factor in preventing violence and aggressive behavior (pg 264). This statement, at first, sounds silly. After all, assertive, and even aggressive behavior is at times necessary. However, if dietary changes can affect our society’s tendency to express violence, maybe healthy cholesterol can help our society become less aggressive and more relaxed and peaceful. “Research shows that people who are unable to produce enough cholesterol are prone to emotional instability and behavioral problems. Low blood cholesterol has been routinely recorded in criminals who have committed murder and other violent crimes, people with aggressive and violent personalities, people prone to suicide, and people with aggressive social behavior and low self-control. The late Oxford professor David Horrobin has stated: ‘Reducing cholesterol in the population on a large scale could lead to a general shift to more violent patterns of behavior. Most of this increased violence would not result in death but in more aggression at work and in the family, more child abuse, … and generally more unhappiness.’ People whose bodies are unable to produce enough cholesterol do need to have plenty of foods rich in cholesterol in order to provide their organs with this essential-to-life substance” (pg 263-264). Well, that escalated quickly!
Unfortunately, most of us have either toxicity issues (lead, cadmium, copper (sometimes), iron (sometimes), mercury, plastics, unnatural/damaging chemicals in our water, food, air, personal/cleaning products, et cetera) or nutritional deficiencies, thanks to our processed food, lack of resources, and stressful lives that burn off all our important nutrients. But, thankfully, God has provided us with plenty of delicious foods we are all familiar with!
Some of the best sources of cholesterol are:
- cod liver oil,
- fresh egg yolks,
- coldwater fish and shellfish,
- lard, and
- other animal fats to follow (pg 263).
So, as tradition demands, I can effortlessly imagine a breakfast of over-easy fried eggs on buttered fresh sourdough, along with some ground pork sausage that my husband makes. Then, an ideal lunch sounds like a full-fat milk kefir smoothie with strawberries and a couple of raw egg yolks, along with a salad with homemade caesar dressing and pastured chicken or wild-caught salmon.
For dinner, maybe roast beef with carrots and celery, and a side of buttered brussel sprouts. Now I’m getting hungry!
What do you think? Have you been inspired to eat more cholesterol? 🙂