How Dietary Fats Affect Cholesterol Levels



"Hello everyone! Welcome to today's video, where I’ll be discussing effective strategies for lowering cholesterol through diet and lifestyle. In fact, I’ll be sharing a series of videos about how to lower your cholesterol, but today we are going to focus on saturated fats.  

 High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease, so it's crucial to make healthy choices to maintain optimal levels. And cholesterol levels often improve when our diet and lifestyle improves, so the more we can do, the more we can improve our overall health and vitality, which makes it a win win. 

And whenever I learn new things, I often think - what small change can I make today, or tomorrow, where can I make a shift, add food, or eliminate it, add an activity, or change what I’m already doing. Think of your diet and lifestyle habits like you would dominos, sometimes you do one good thing, and you might feel better in other areas of your life, and the same it true vice versa, so 

Ways to incorporate Heart-Healthy Fats:

  • Replace saturated and trans fats with healthier options like unsaturated fats found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
  • Include omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, or plant-based sources like flaxseeds and chia seeds.

Seed oils, such as soybean oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil, have been widely used in the food industry due to their affordability and availability. However, there are concerns regarding their impact on the body, particularly in relation to cholesterol levels. Here's why:

  1. Omega-6 Fatty Acid Content: Seed oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which are a type of polyunsaturated fat. While omega-6 fatty acids are essential for the body, an excessive intake of them, especially in relation to omega-3 fatty acids, can lead to an imbalance.
  2. Pro-inflammatory Effects: Consuming a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids, with a low intake of omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds), can promote an imbalance in the body's omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. This imbalance may contribute to chronic inflammation, which is associated with various health conditions, including cardiovascular disease.
  3. LDL Cholesterol Oxidation: Seed oils, particularly when used in cooking and subjected to high heat, can undergo oxidation. Oxidized LDL cholesterol is more likely to contribute to the formation of plaque in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis. This oxidative damage to LDL cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease.
  4. Lower HDL Cholesterol Levels: Consuming a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids from seed oils may also lower levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps remove excess LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream, so low levels of HDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.
  5. Omega-6 to Omega-3 Ratio: Maintaining a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is important for overall health. However, the Western diet tends to be disproportionately high in omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3s, primarily due to the widespread use of seed oils in processed and restaurant foods.

To promote a healthier balance, it is recommended to reduce the consumption of seed oils and focus on incorporating healthier fat sources like olive oil, avocado oil, which have a better omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Additionally, prioritizing whole foods and cooking at home using minimally processed ingredients can help reduce reliance on seed oils.

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