There’s a lot of misinformation and misconceptions about cholesterol and its impact on our cardiovascular health. Eating good, clean fats in your diet is NOT bad for you. In fact, elevated cholesterol levels in elderly people actually INCREASES life span and DECREASES the risk of cognitive decline and dementia like Alzheimer’s Disease. Recent studies show that consuming 1 tablespoon of coconut oil daily can slow the progression of and even reverse the signs of Alzheimer’s. Think about it – cells of the brain are lined with phospholipids. Did you catch that? phospho-LIPIDS. Lipids=FAT. Phospholipids that coat all of your nerve cells help increase the conduction of nerve impulses down the nerve cells so that they can communicate with each other and your muscle cells more efficiently and more rapidly. Side bar – cholesterol is also necessary to produce all of your sex hormones like testosterone. So if your loved one is suffering from “Low T” and taking supplements for it, you may want to revisit what your having for dinner tonight. ?
Now on to this inflammation. I hear you saying “but I don’t have any inflammation”. If you eat the typical American or western diet, NEWSFLASH – yes you do. We were taught for so long to eat “low fat” – translation high additive diets – and to eat fake chemical-laden margarine instead of real butter and to use vegetable oils to cook. ALL of those things contribute to inflammation. Typically “low fat” food items have added salt, sugar and chemicals to enhance the taste so that you will eat it. These additives are huge part of what is causing our dramatic increase in health problems in our society today.
Recently the American Heart Association released that they were lowering the dietary sugar intake recommendations for kids because of the association with heart disease. THEN the American Medical Association published in their newsletter that back in the 1960s ‘scientists were paid to minimize the effect of sugar by the sugar industry on heart disease and to play up saturated fats and blaming fats for heart disease’. So the truth is that sugar is to blame and has been all along!! I have known this for years and I’ve tried to explain this over and over again to close friends and family – some listened and some didn’t – that we’ve all been hoodwinked. I’m so glad that this information has finally come to light.
Additionally if the label simply states sugar and not sugarcane then the source of the sugar is more likely genetically modified beet root than actual sugar. That doesn’t even consider the (genetically modified) high fructose corn syrup which is typically what is used as the main ingredient in most all processed foods these days. Too much to get into today but we will dive into that at another time as it’s very important to know what you’re eating and what it is really doing to you. Also remember that simple carbs like bread convert rapidly into sugar once you eat it. So remember that the next time you’re eating out and they bring you that infamous bread basket while you wait for your meal.
Of course, the best way to reduce inflammation, oxidation and free radicals is to eat a diet high in organic vegetables, fruits, clean fats, and protein – in that order. It’s best to stay away from processed foods in general. Anything in a box or bottle will likely have some of the common offenders present – even your salad dressing and sauces. So stay on your toes and stay on the perimeter of the grocery stores. Pretty much everything that you need will be along the perimeter or outside walls of the grocery store – veggies, fruits, meats, eggs, dairy and out! Most of the stuff that is found on the aisles throughout the middle of the grocery store could possibly survive a nuclear war and has no business being eaten.
By the way cooking with vegetable oils is actually a no-no for several reasons. I know, I know! That goes against everything we’ve been taught for the last few decades but hear me out! Remember what happened in the 1960s?! We have to renew our minds around that. Firstly, many vegetable oils are genetically modified. Find out why that matters here. Even that magical Olive Oil has likely been adulterated or mixed with other vegetable oils UNLESS the bottle clearly states otherwise. Secondly, vegetable oils oxidize when heated. It is this oxidation and the free radicals that it produces that causes microscopic damage to the lining of your blood vessels, joints, and other tissues. That’s why there is all this hype now about eating, drinking, or taking anti-oxidants and their benefits. Anti-oxidants counteract oxidants or oxidation. The prefix anti- comes from the Latin word meaning “against” or “opposite of”. Anti-oxidants are great but if your consuming them on top of an inflammatory, oxidant filled diet, that’s like giving a whale a tic-tac! It won’t do as much as it would if you removed the culprit. 100% Olive oil is great on a cold salad where you would benefit from all of it’s wonderful properties but don’t heat it up! Other oils and fats that have higher smoke points (they can tolerate higher temperatures before oxidizing) are better to cook with like avocado, coconut, palm oil, or small amounts of grass fed butter or clarified ghee, organic tallow (beef fat), duck fat, nut based oils like peanut (if you’re not allergic), and others.
Other factors that you probably eat every day contribute to inflammation. Gluten. Yes, all of the hoopla is warranted. Let me briefly explain…. Even if you don’t have celiac disease or a documented gluten allergy, you could still be sensitive to the presence of gluten and its effects on your body as a whole. Here’s how. Normally the cells that line your intestines are tightly knitted together and there is a gate keeper, zonulin, that keeps those cells in line and close together.
Gluten (the protein found in wheat, flour, etc) acts directly on zonulin and forces the gap between your intestinal cells to widen.
This allows large, undigested molecules to slip straight into your blood stream unprocessed. These molecules aren’t supposed to be there so your body recognizes them as foreign invaders and deploys cells form your immune system to attack them. The problem with that is that oftentimes these immune system cells fly around all willy nilly and cross react and attack your normal tissues and cause damage. So if you’re suffering from allergies, auto-immune diseases (or they run in your family), or chronic aches and pains, you may SERIOUSLY want to consider removing gluten from your diet. I will devote another post in the future with more detail about the hows and whys.
In the meantime bring on the bacon!
(Organic, pasture raised, no nitrate added, no preservatives, uncured bacon in moderation?)
Happy Healthy Living!
Until next time….
Take Home Tidbits
- Good, clean fats are good for you.
- Sugar is NOT….
- Coconut oil can help slow the progression and may even reverse the signs of dementia.
- Cooking with vegetable oils causes oxidation.
- Gluten contributes to generalized inflammation.
Comments or questions? Feel free to post them below.
The Doctor is in…