Gray Matter


How to Reduce Bad Cholesterol

bad cholesterolIf you’re old enough to remember, eggs had a bad reputation for quite a few years. If I’m not mistaken, it started in the early 1990s. To this day, there are doctors that recommend limiting the consumption of eggs. While eggs may contain bad cholesterol, they’re not as evil as they’re made out to be.

I recently became interested in how to reduce bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein or LDL) for both my wife, Josie, and I. She had blood work done and her doctor told her that she needed to reduce her bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Since I eat less plant-based food than Josie does, the doctor’s advice would probably go doubly for me. I haven’t seen a doctor myself (about cholesterol) since 1997.

Bad Cholesterol

There are supposedly two ways to reduce bad cholesterol, without using statins. The first is to consume food without cholesterol. The other is to consume more food with good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein or HDL). It’s very difficult to avoid cholesterol entirely and that tactic only helps about 20 percent of the people who try it.

The best way to fight the bad cholesterol, in my opinion, is to increase the good cholesterol. That means eating specific types of food. An article at Medical News Today mentions some of them. I understand it like this:

We already cook with extra virgin olive oil, and we eat salads with olive oil vinaigrettes as our salad dressings. I can’t stand eggplant (Josie likes it) and I can only eat cabbage (any kind of cabbage) if it isn’t boiled. Otherwise, it gives me too much gas.

Berries are expensive and don’t last long. I don’t know if it’s because this is Hawaii or not. Most food in Hawaii is more expensive than on the mainland. Fish is expensive unless we catch it ourselves. We’re not prepared to do that and it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for us to try.

I didn’t mention the other items in the article, like losing weight, quitting smoking and avoiding trans fats. Most of it simply requires common sense. If we add more good cholesterol food, both of us should automatically lower our bad cholesterol levels and lose weight at the same time. After all, we can only eat so much food. We both quit smoking in 2016. We already avoid trans fats and have been doing so for at least as long.

A Vegetarian Lifestyle

Neither one of us wants to entertain the idea of a vegetarian lifestyle. There are too many things we like that are good for us, aside from the cholesterol itself. To be honest, there’s also a lot that isn’t good for us.

The only thing we really intend to cut out intentionally is fast food. It’s expensive here anyway. We’ll eat more fish, if we can, and limit how much of the other kinds of meat we seem to eat regularly.

Other Things to Think About

What follows are only my opinions, based on my own research. Take them for what they’re worth.

To this day, there is nothing linking the cholesterol we consume from animal products with the serum cholesterol in our blood. As animals ourselves, we produce our own cholesterol as well. That means that reducing animal products may or may not have any effect on our cholesterol levels.

High levels of bad cholesterol isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. The problem is homocysteine, an amino acid we get from animal meat, and deficiencies in vitamins B6 and B12 and folate. Homocysteine grates the surfaces of the arteries and causes the cholesterol to stick and build up. The vitamins remove the homocysteine, keeping the artery walls smooth.

In simple terms, triglycerides are stored in our fat cells as a result of consuming more calories than we burn. Losing weight is the only way to dispose of triglycerides and shrink fat cells.

Again these are only my opinions. If you want to stay healthy, regardless of cholesterol and triglycerides, eat a lot of leafy, green vegetables like spinach and lettuce (and many more). If you want to reduce cholesterol naturally, consume red yeast rice and fish oil every day. Of course, you should consult a doctor to make sure they don’t conflict with anything else you may be taking.


Photo Attribution: Moira Nazzari at Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in March 2020.

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: October 3, 2020 (UTC)
Categories: Food and Drink, Health

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