About Low-Cholesterol Heart Healthy Diets

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Low-cholesterol diets are not as heart healthy as many believe, as the body requires cholesterol for a variety of functions, and elevated cholesterol levels are often caused by other problems in the body. Understand the relationship between cholesterol and heart health with healthy advice from a nutritional consultant and clinical herbalist in this free video on diets.

Part of the Video Series: Nutrition & Diets
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Charlotte Skiles. I'm a nutrition consultant and clinical herbalist with Eat in Peace Wellness Consulting, located in Austin, Texas, and right now I'm going to talk to you about low cholesterol, heart healthy diets, and how they do not exist. Ultimately, what we have in this country is that cholesterol has become a scapegoat for cardiovascular disease. It's something that we can easily measure, and it's something that we can easily lower with drugs, and so we say "Yay! Success! You're now safer and healthier in this body of yours." And the reality is that low cholesterol diets, there is really nothing heart healthy about them. We evolved eating these animal foods. Cholesterol is only found in animal foods, and so when you talk about going on a low cholesterol diet, you're talking about the removal of those from the diet, and they're really essential to our wellbeing and the function of our bodies. So cholesterol performs a number of functions in the body, and your liver makes more than you could ever imagine eating. In fact, there's feedback loops that exist. When you eat cholesterol, your body doesn't have to make as much, so we're set up to balance ourselves. So even the idea that cholesterol is affected by the diet is not based in reality from that standpoint. There's only three percent of the population that doesn't have that feedback loop in place, and that's found out a very young age. And that's the true familial hypercholesterolemia that we hear of. So cholesterol, once again, it is vital to the functioning of the body. It is the precursor for every sex hormone, every stress hormone, many communication molecules in the body. It stabilizes the cell membranes, in terms of cellular function, and what we want are cells with integrity, and cholesterol plays a key role there. It also helps with receptors, so that, once again, cells can communicate. Plays a key role in what's called cell membrane fusion, which is where cells link up and exchange products. Cholesterol is an important part of our health, and whatever your cholesterol level is, is normal. I don't really think that there is such thing as a high cholesterol level. Now there may be a reason why the cholesterol is elevated, and that is something to have a conversation about. Typically that person is very inflamed and are suffering from inflammation processes going on in the body, and cholesterol comes out as a healing substance. So, my point here is that we're shooting the messenger in terms of the cholesterol conversation. So there is no diet out there that is low cholesterol and heart healthy, in my professional opinion.

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