Cholesterol: Friend or Foe?

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is part of the lipids of the family of sterols made naturally by the human body. The cellular process depends mainly on this.

Its central role in many biochemical processes is under the eye of scientists, especially since 1964 when Konrad Bloch and Feodor Lynen were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for ” their discovery about the mechanism of regulation of metabolisms of cholesterol and fatty acids ” .

However, a high blood cholesterol level promotes the risk of common cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease (ischemic heart disease).Several factors may contribute to the appearance of this condition, and to reduce this risk, one must consider these causes one by one.

Ideas received: amalgam between good and bad cholesterol

The relationship between cardiovascular disease, cholesterol in the blood and eating fat (consuming lipids) was observed from the 1960s onwards. It was then observed that a copiously lipidic diet produces a high level of cholesterol in the blood.

If this finding has been proven, further research by renowned scientists has shown that total cholesterol (HDL + LDL) is not enough to prove that there is a risk of cardiovascular disease such as infarction .

The important thing is to monitor the relationship between good (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL, IDL, VLDL) because a high good cholesterol level would decrease that of bad, and thus reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and Cardiovascular accident (stroke).

The bad LDL cholesterol

Low LDL (or Low Density Lipoprotein ) cholesterol forms the bulk of total blood cholesterol.It transports cholesterol from the liver to the cells.When not fully utilized by metabolism, it forms plaques of atheroma on the walls of the vessels.These arterial lesions, eventually, can cause cardiovascular accidents.

According to Dr. Rath, half of the men and women would have high levels of LDL and other blood components at risk of stroke.Still, according to him, these factors contained in the blood would not be the main cause of the vascular problems, as it attests this title to the fragility of the arterial wall.These blood constituents would then be only an effect of the disease.

The good HDL cholesterol

Total cholesterol consists of LDL and HDL ( High Density Lipoproteins ). The latter is called good cholesterol. Its role is to clear the bad LDL blood to the liver to be transformed and then rejected from the body. According to ” Pilot clinical study on the natural decrease in cholesterol levels “, LDL, lipoprotein … would be the ideal materials that metabolism can produce to rebuild the arterial wall injured by atheromas.

Tips for lowering LDL cholesterol

Limit fat without banning it

The lipids can be broken down into good or bad.They are called good lipids when they are unsaturated fatty acids.The latter are responsible for the increase in the production of HDL (good cholesterol), whereas the production of LDL requires saturated fatty acids found in fats among others.

HDL alone would be ineffective without its LDL half. Recent studies have shown that the prevention of cardiovascular accident risks lies in the balance between HDL and LDL.This is why the sources of fat should be chosen and consumed according to our needs.


Eating Omega 3 Rich Foods

Like other nutrients, each fat has its own specificities.This is the case of omega 3 which can not be treated as a saturated fatty acid responsible for weight gain and heart disorders.

Omega 3 works on the contrary in the equilibrium ratio HDL and LDL blood.They contribute to both the increase and decrease in HDL and LDL.Their effects on the cardiovascular system result in anti-inflammatory actions as well as their preventive action in the formation of blood clots.

Omega-3s are found, for example, in fatty fish and rapeseed oil.In March 2010, the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) advises 1.2% of the energy in omega 3.

“The constant evolution of knowledge and the progressive application of the concept of evidence-based medicine lead, in the field of nutrition, to periodically question the particular interest of many nutrients and the allegations that may accompany Their consumption.

The contribution of fatty acids from food to preventing or increasing the risk of ischemic cardiovascular disease is an inexhaustible source of data but also controversial.A bundle of experimental and epidemiological work suggests that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with beneficial cardiovascular effects.

However, different intervention studies, each carried out under specific conditions, provided somewhat mixed light. “; Sources afssa Fatty Acids of the Omega 3 Family and Cardiovascular System: Nutritional Interest and Claims


Eating eggs but good ones

The eggs contain cholesterol, more than 186 mg contained in a unit.While it is true that these numbers can generate fear, who said they contained mainly bad cholesterol?

If the eggs are derived from chickens raised in the open air, they could be even rich in good cholesterol and therefore good for health.

Since 1980, several studies have shown that eggs were not ultimately responsible for the rise of bad cholesterol.

This is the case of the results of a study delivered in 2014 which lasted more than 11 years out of 3000 participants.Result of the study: participants who ate the most eggs saw their risk of developing atherosclerosis decreased by 11%.

Eating high fiber foods

Consumption of 2 to 10g of soluble fiber per day significantly reduces LDL , according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition .

But there are 2 types of fibers: soluble and insoluble. Cholesterol- rich foods rich in soluble fiber should be preferred.These foods are complete and semi-complete cereals, whole fruits and vegetables (even eating apple seeds that are rich in pectin).It is also necessary to add oilseeds (almonds, hazelnuts …), mushrooms and legumes after soaking.Note that oats is a perfect example in the family of foods rich in soluble fiber.


What we thought about cholesterol has evolved considerably over the past decade. This is probably due to the grouping of the studies in order to give us an overview (meta-analysis).Previously, some studies had directly administered raw cholesterol to rats.This mode of administration is very far from the reality where one consumes a set of foods.So some nutrients can decrease the negative effects of another and reverse.

A balanced diet is therefore always the best solution to avoid extremes.We must not banish anything but know how to eat everything in a reasonable manner and especially according to its needs.


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