If high cholesterol is so bad for us then why are low-fat, low cholesterol diets so difficult to stick to? After all we wouldnt stick our hands into an open flame, yet from the various reports and statements of health experts, youd think that eating cholesterol is just as dangerous. So why do our bodies “betray” us by constantly craving fats? The simple fact of the matter is that our body needs fat, and especially cholesterol, to function properly. Not only that, but our body actually makes cholesterol for a number of important bodily functions such as repair of damaged cell membranes, production of hormones, and digestion of fats.

So why the constant pushing of this or that natural remedy for high cholesterol? The fact is that high blood cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, can cause a number of heart diseases, and can lead to heart attack, or stroke. But even here there is more to it: in fact there is “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol.” It is the ratio of these two types of cholesterol that is important.

The Good: High – Density Lipoproteins (HDLs)

As mentioned before, cholesterol is important for a number of metabolic functions, and especially for the repair of damaged cells. For this reason, it is important to have a constant level of cholesterol in our blood stream, so that it can be used wherever it is needed. HDLs are responsible for removing cholesterol from the bloodstream and delivering it to the cells that need them. Thats good cholesterol!

The Bad: Low – Density Lipoproteins (LDLs)

If HDLs are the “removal trucks” of cholesterol, removing it from the blood, then low-density lipoproteins are the “dumpsters.” They are responsible for taking cholesterol from the places in our body it is made, and dumping it in our bloodstream. This is not necessarily bad; as already mentioned, we need cholesterol in our blood so that it is available whenever and wherever it is needed. But what if it isnt needed? If the levels of LDLs in our body are too high, and our demand for cholesterol for cell repair is low, then there is more cholesterol being dumped in our blood than being removed. This is what causes high cholesterol, and it is bad because excess cholesterol forms a kind of plaque upon the side walls of our arteries. This restricts the blood flow, leading to high blood pressure, which in turn leads on to heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Therefore, a natural remedy for high cholesterol should not seek to just lower cholesterol. A natural remedy for high cholesterol should aim to increase the number of HDLs, good cholesterol, and lower the number of LDLs, or bad cholesterol. Once this is grasped, the treatment of high cholesterol becomes a lot clearer – and hopefully your arteries will become clearer too.

Trans-Fat

If LDLs are bad, then trans-fat is just plain ugly. In 2004 bantransfat.com tried to sue McDonalds for using cooking oil that contained trans fat, or partially hydrogenated oils. Bantransfat.com lost because, after all, most people couldnt see why trans fat is so much worse than other fats in our diet. Things have changed in the past two years however, and from January 2006 the FDA required all nutritional labels to list trans fat separately, and not as part of other fats. The reason is that studies have found that trans fat may be one of the main causes of heart attack and heart disease in the States. The American Heart Association advises Americans to eat as little of it as possible.

Trans fat is found in partially hydrogenated oil, which has a longer shelf life than ordinary oils. Foods that contain trans fat include fried chicken, cookies, French fries, and doughnuts, which is why many Americans can find them difficult to avoid. Most research concludes that we should avoid trans fat wherever possible, which is why the FDAs ruling is so useful for those who want to eat a healthy diet.

Along with taking the right supplements for a healthy heart, it is recommended that we all avoid trans fat as part of a healthy balanced diet.