Cholesterol: what is it, why you need not fear eggs and quality saturated fat, and what you can do about elevated ldl (part 2)
In part one of this series, we’ve looked at cholesterol being a natural substance produced in the human body every day, and one vital for health. Now, let’s talk about LDL cholesterol: how it can become elevated in your blood and what you can do about it. We’ll also look at the difference between LDL (so-called bad cholesterol) and HDL (so-called good cholesterol).
Given cholesterol is indeed a health-supporting substance in the human body, a key reason LDL cholesterol can become elevated in your blood is because your liver is producing more of it to do its job – repair and support.
When inflammation (the body’s response to tissue injury) and free radical damage (unstable atoms causing cellular damage that leads to disease) take hold in the human body, LDL cholesterol is sent to all our body’s tissues to help keep our cells and organs healthy.
So.…what causes inflammation and free radical damage?
Welcome to the second article in The OCD series. I’m Francesca Eldridge, a Nutritionist who has lived with OCD since I was 10. In my teen years and late 20s, I hit rock bottom with my OCD – it was so distressing and debilitating it left me feeling suicidal and at one point, partially housebound. Now, after investing time and money in creating my own mental health tool box, I have lived largely symptom-free of OCD since 2012, other than one short relapse in 2015. And I offer support to people suffering from OCD who want to get their lives back.
When I got started on my recovery, OCD had been dominant in my life for 15 years. I also had a myriad of health issues, from constant rumination, insomnia, migraines and PMS, to obsessions and compulsions that dominated my daily life and held me back.
The first article in the OCD series discussed the role of protein in supporting your nervous / mental health and how eating more protein foods supported my recovery. In this article, I discuss the types of fats that nourish your nervous system and your mental health. And I'll share how mega-dosing with supplemental omega 3 supported my recovery from OCD.
Serves 2, prep time 30-40 mins
Coconut oil (for frying) and olive oil (for baking and dressing)
*4-5 fresh or frozen mackerel fillets – availability may vary by season and region/country
Dense, wholegrain bread for the croutons – I use rye sourdough, use GF bread if you prefer.
100g Gruyere cheese, cubed (if you’re dairy-free, no worries, skip this...if you eat dairy, the Gruyere does add a special flavour)
*1 romaine lettuce, finely chopped
*8-10 cherry tomatoes, halved
*1 chopped red pepper (small cubes)
*8 spears of steamed asparagus, cut into thirds
*¼ red onion, chopped finely (add more if you really love onion!)
*Bonus – these* are all liver-nourishing foods!
-Heat the oven to 160-degrees Celsius and cut the bread into chunky pieces (croutons).
-Toss the bread in olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Bake on a lower heat for about 30 mins (maybe less if using GF bread), to get the croutons really crunchy.
-Fry the mackerel fillets in coconut oil for about 3 mins each side, on medium to high heat.
-While these cool, prepare the salad ingredients: steam the asparagus spears and chop the red onion, red pepper, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cooked asparagus, and cube the Gruyere cheese. Combine all these ingredients in a large salad bowl.
-Flake the cooked mackerel fillets into the salad, using your hands.
-Add the croutons and combine all ingredients. Dress with a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a good drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and some freshly cracked black pepper.
If you fancy, you could add two or three finely chopped anchovy fillets to the salad.
Here's to omega 3 - the highly beneficial fats found in small, oily fish, flaxseed oil, butter, free range eggs and grass-fed and wild meats. Omega 3 plays so many important roles in supporting your health, including:
Omega 3 fats also show promise for reducing the symptoms of depression, post-natal depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, ADHD and schizophrenia. And with mental health problems on the increase, it's notable that many of us are deficient in omega 3, largely because of the way our food choices have changed so much in the last several decades.