Unusual Way To Improve Cholesterol Health
Most of us have been advised to keep an eye on our cholesterol levels. And it turns out that there are good reasons to do that. But just not the reasons we’ve been told. Unfortunately, because of a widespread misunderstanding about cholesterol, far too many people are doing the wrong things to get cholesterol levels down. In this article, we’ll see how you can actually improve your cholesterol health.
A lot of us have been misled into believing that cholesterol is bad. But nothing could be further from the truth. Cholesterol is an essential nutrient. Our brains contain cholesterol and need it to function well. Our nervous systems are insulated by cholesterol. Our digestive systems require cholesterol to make use of the food we eat. And all of our sex hormones - like testosterone - are built from cholesterol.
Simply put, cholesterol is vital. Without it, you wouldn’t survive for even a few minutes.
Medical researchers discovered decades ago that when people have extremely elevated levels of cholesterol in their blood, that may signal disease. But that doesn’t mean cholesterol is bad. Instead, it means that there may be an underlying problem and cholesterol is the way your body tries to fix the problem.
Cholesterol is an anti-oxidant and a substance that helps to repair damage in the body. When there are large amounts of cholesterol in the blood, that may mean there is damage in the blood vessels.
But there’s more to the story than just cholesterol. That’s because cholesterol needs special proteins to move around in the blood. Those proteins are called LDL and HDL. And it turns out that what is the best predictor of health is not total cholesterol, but the ratios of LDL and HDL to total cholesterol. When LDL is high and HDL is low, that signals problems.
Sulfur And Cholesterol
In previous articles we’ve looked at some of the things you can do that decrease LDL and increase HDL. But today I’m going to share with you one of the real “big guns” when it comes to improving cholesterol health. That thing is a nutrient called sulfur.
Sulfur is one of the most important minerals in the body. Many experts rank it as the fourth most important mineral for human health. So it should come as no surprise that adequate dietary sulfur would have health benefits. And it should also come as no surprise that a deficiency of dietary sulfur could have negative health effects.
When it comes to cholesterol health, the science is clear. Adequate dietary sulfur improves health and insufficient sulfur causes problems, including high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL.
Garlic is a sulfur-rich food that has been known for thousands of years to be a true health food. People who regularly eat garlic experience plenty of health benefits. For men, in fact, the health benefits are double because garlic helps to improve men’s hormone balance.
Among the many benefits of garlic, for many years it has been known that garlic improves cardiovascular health. Men who eat garlic regularly have fewer heart attacks and strokes. And not surprisingly, they also have health cholesterol levels.
Numerous studies have shown that eating garlic improves cholesterol levels. One study showed that garlic reduced total cholesterol by 7 percent and LDL by 10 percent. That meant that there was a significant increase in the HDL to total cholesterol ratio, which is a sign of good health.
While there may be many reasons why garlic may benefit cardiovascular health and cholesterol numbers. But sulfur is undoubtedly one of the reasons.
Garlic is in the allium family and closely related to another sulfur-rich food: onions. It should come as no surprise then that onions also have been proven to offer cardiovascular health benefits and improve cholesterol numbers.
One study found that men eating an onion per day for 90 days were able to increase HDL values by 30 percent. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, in that study the men had to eat a raw onion every day. But the good news is that other studies have shown similar benefits from cooked onions.
So along with garlic, eating onions regularly is a good idea.
Another family of foods that are rich in sulfur are brassicas. Brassicas include things like cabbage, broccoli. and turnips. Among them, kale is one of the stars.
Studies have shown that kale in particular has an impressive ability to improve cholesterol health. In one study participants eat kale for 12 weeks (every day). The result was an increase in HDL by 27 percent and a decrease in LDL by 10 percent. That’s a very good thing.
Other brassicas haven’t been studied as well as kale, but chances are, all brassicas will have similar effects. So eat your broccoli and kale regularly.
It turns out to be ironic that eggs were demonized for so many years. I write that it’s ironic because far from worsening cholesterol health, eggs actually improve cholesterol health for most people.
It’s possible that one of the reasons that eggs can improve cholesterol health is because they contain abundant sulfur.
In addition, eggs are also a rich source of choline, which is another nutrient that is proven to improve cholesterol health.
Although the pharmaceutical companies want to sell you dangerous drugs, it turns out that there are much safer and more effective ways to improve your health. When it comes to cholesterol health, it’s important to remember that cholesterol itself isn’t bad, but high levels of LDL and low levels of HDL may indicate an underlying problem. Drugs can’t necessarily fix that, but healthy, natural solutions might.
In this article we’ve looked at the evidence for how the nutrient sulfur can improve health and how cholesterol numbers will reflect that improvement. The best sources of dietary sulfur that are proven to improve cholesterol health are garlic, onion, kale (and other brassicas), and eggs. By eating these things regularly, you’ll be doing yourself a favor.