Learn To Love Your Cholesterol

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Cholesterol has been given a bad rap.  This essential substance is vital for:

*healthy cells

*reducing inflammation and repairing tissue damage

*hormone production

*stress adaptation

*proper digestion

*vitamin D synthesis

*memory and brain health

Every cell in our body maintains its integrity due to the cholesterol that makes up its cell wall.  The cholesterol component helps keep the cell wall fluid and permeable for the effective exchange of nutrients and wastes.  Without cholesterol our cells would not function properly.  This could result in poor cellular energy production and greater systemic fatigue. 

Because cells make up tissues which make up organs which make up us, unhealthy cells will lead to unhealthy us.

Cholesterol also acts as the body’s bandaid to minimize tissue damage caused by inflammation, high blood glucose and trans fats from vegetable oils and damaged fats.  

The damage to arteries from these oxidative insults results in the body producing more cholesterol to act as an antioxidant, lining the arteries in an attempt to quell the inflammation and protect the arteries from further damage.  

The problem arises from continued high blood sugar and damaged fats that then cause the protective cholesterol to oxidize and become sticky, leading to clogged arteries. 

Hence, the rescue team becomes the bad guy.

The precursor to hormones is cholesterol, and we certainly all need and want adequate hormone production to keep us young, vital and sexy. 

Not only is cholesterol needed for the production of our precious estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, but also for cortisol which allows us to deal with everyday stressors.

Bile is needed for the digestion of fats.  The liver synthesizes bile from cholesterol.  Inadequate cholesterol will lead to low bile production, sluggish bile, poor fat digestion, and typically gallbladder problems.

We need the healthy fat digestion that bile provides for absorption and utilization of the fat soluble vitamins D, K, A, and E.

Speaking of vitamin D, our bodies have the ability to produce this vitamin when the sun hits our bare skin (without sunscreen).  As the sun meets the cholesterol, present in our every cell, the two perform a biochemical dance to produce vitamin D.

Our brains contain the highest concentration of the cholesterol in our bodies.  It is vital 

for a healthy brain and nervous system.  Cholesterol is a vital part of the wiring that allows for learning and memory.

Studies show that older adults with higher cholesterol, better maintain their cognitive function.  

Lack of sleep has been correlated with poor memory.  One reason may be because sleep allows the brain to replenish its level of cholesterol.

Low levels of cholesterol have also been associated with mood disorders such as depression and mood swings.

Now that you know how important cholesterol is in maintaining good health, how do you insure that your liver is functioning optimally to produce the cholesterol you need?

  1. Keep your diet low in sugar, and add fiber like flaxseeds, chia seeds, nuts and seeds.
  2. include lots of fibrous vegetables like dark leafy greens.  The more bitter the better for your liver, like arugula, brussels sprouts, swiss chard and dandelion greens.
  3. Add local raw honey to lower inflammation and nourish your liver and gut.
  4. Try a shot of apple cider vinegar in the morning to help alkalize the body’s PH and nourish the digestive tract.
  5. Warm water with lemon will thin the bile and aid in liver function.
  6. Milk thistle is a powerful herb that gives the liver a boost.
  7. Go easy on alcohol and reduce toxins to unburden the livers job of detoxifying.
  8. Practice de-stressing techniques so your liver does not need to be constantly pumping out cholesterol to provide you with the stress hormone cortisol.
  9. Move your body everyday.  
  10. Let go of anger which we hold in the liver.  Practice forgiveness of self and others.

I for one embrace organic free range eggs, and avocados are my favorite food.  A ketogenic diet may not be for everyone, but many people have improved their health by eating higher amounts of healthy fats and cutting way back on carbohydrates.

As usual, a personalized diet and lifestyle plan is best…but don’t be afraid to eat an avocado.

Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies are cashing in on statin drug sales, and many conventional doctors are right there with them advocating for lowering cholesterol levels in their patients by using these highly damaging drugs.  Studies show statin side effects include muscle damage, (including the heart muscle), increased risk of diabetes, liver damage and memory loss.   

Not to mention lower hormone production, thereby reducing your ability to handle stress, adding insult to injury for those managing menopause.

For guidance and support on your journey to better health and vitality, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com or call me at 301-332-5732.

 

Reduce Stress, Balance your Brain

As you proceed through your stressful day you may find your mind wandering, or have difficulty focusing in general.  That may be because stress causes the non-dominant side of your brain to shut down 70% of its functioning.  Say you are left brained (logical and unemotional), when stressed you loose 70% of your creativity that comes predominantly from your right brain.  Likewise a stressed right-brained creative person will find it more difficult to tend to the details, and think logically.  Neither one of these scenarios is desirable, and none of us need our brains to shut down.

So, is the answer to grab a Red Bull or 5 Hour Energy drink?  I think not.  That will only cause further stress, adrenal exhaustion and carbohydrate cravings.  Read that as fat around the belly.  Instead I recommend the following stress reducing, energy balancing and brain integration techniques.

  1. Meridian Tracing.  By tracing the Central and Governing meridians—Chinese Medicine subtle energy channels—you spark the flow of energy that enables you to feel centered (Central)  and empowered (Governing).  While standing, touch your pubis bone and trace up lightly (outside your clothing) to just below your bottom lip, touch there.  That is the Central meridian, repeat 3 times.  Then trace the Governing meridian by touching your tailbone and tracing up your spine, (shifting your hand as if you were zipping up a dress), so you can continue up the back of your head and over the top to just above your upper lip and touch there.  Repeat 3 times.  Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.

  2. Massaging the K27 acupuncture points.  Stimulating these Kidney points helps release endorphins to relieve pain, and encourage deep breathing to reduce stress.  It is considered a master acupuncture point for balancing the health and functioning of the body.  Locate the points just under the collarbones, and rub in a circular motion.  You should feel a slight indentation and possible soreness.  Rub with enough pressure to work through the soreness while breathing deeply for one minute.  Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.

  3. Ear Rub.  By rubbing the fold and lobe of the ears you stimulate acupuncture points that relate to areas all over the body.  While reducing stress with this relaxing technique, you are also clearing blocks in your energy flow to help you focus during the day, or relax at the end of it.  Starting at the tops of the ears (where they connect to the head), gently rub along the inside of the fold of the ear all the way to the lobe and finish with a gentle tug on the earlobe.  Repeat this 3 times.  Do this in the morning, midday and evening before bed.

  4. Cross Crawl.  This simple movement pattern stimulates the corpus callosum in the brain, which connects the right and left hemispheres, allowing them to communicate, and the brain to work as an integrated whole.  Standing with both arms raised overhead, bring the left knee up and the right hand or elbow down until they touch, replace the left foot back to the floor and the right hand overhead.  Repeat with the right knee and left hand or elbow.  Continue this movement for one minute.  This is great to do anytime during the day when you feel stressed, depressed, angry, mentally fuzzy, or just need to stand up from your desk and “move”.

  5. 4 Square breathing.  Deep breathing into the belly shifts you out of the “stress” sympathetic nervous system and into the “rest” parasympathetic nervous system, which brings immediate relief from stress.  Close your eyes and mouth.  Breath in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts.  Repeat 4 times. Do this as often as needed throughout the day.  It will also help with insomnia.

These five techniques are great to do in the morning upon arising to get you going for the day, during the workday around the “afternoon low” to clear your head and help you focus, and at night before bed to relax and de-stress you for sound sleep.  Give them a try, your brain and nervous system will thank you…as will your co-workers and spouse.

For guidance and support along your journey to better balance, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation at nina.lynn@me.com or call me at 301-332-5732.