While many health “experts” continue to downplay the risks of high cholesterol, its not the benign stuff that so many people are trying to say it is. Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have uncovered a link between the fatty compound and cancer. The recent study published in the medical journal Cell Stem Cell uncovered more information about this dubious link.
The researchers found that dietary cholesterol was linked to an increase in the proliferation of some intestinal cells (stem cells) that resulted in a significantly increased risk of the formation of tumors in the intestines. The scientists essentially identified the mechanism in the body that responds to cholesterol in the diet by increasing the risk of cancer. But, perhaps most shocking was the fact that animal subjects eating a high fat diet had a whopping 100-fold increase in tumor formation.
The new findings demonstrate how essential a low cholesterol diet is to the treatment of cancers, particularly gastrointestinal cancers like colon or rectal cancers. The Standard American Diet, most ketogenic diets and most other high protein diets (like Atkins) tend to be high in dietary cholesterol—the exact opposite type of diet we should be eating for gastrointestinal health and the prevention of cancer.
Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy, organic substance that is present in the body and serves many important purposes, including: making vitamin D, manufacturing the many bodily hormones we need, forming cell walls and others. While many health coaches and bloggers have been downplaying the problems linked to excessive cholesterol, suggesting we shouldn’t even be factoring it into our health, the reality is that the research still suggests a strong link between high cholesterol and heart disease and cancer risk. And, while we continue to be fed the story of good cholesterol (HDL) vs. bad cholesterol (LDL), research in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Cardiology suggests that “good” cholesterol may not protect us against heart disease at all.
And, many people have been duped by these well-meaning, often self-proclaimed health experts, into believing that dietary cholesterol doesn’t matter at all either. But research, including the study in Cell Stem Cell suggests otherwise. Dietary cholesterol caused a 100 times increased risk of gastrointestinal tumor formation. That’s not something to take lightly and it’s certainly suggests that dietary cholesterol is not the harmless stuff we’ve been told.
Some of the foods that contain high amounts of cholesterol include: eggs, butter, margarine, fried foods, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, sausage, hot dogs, bacon, cheese, milk, cream and other animal products.
In addition to reducing your consumption of these products, you can also lower your cholesterol by increasing the following foods: legumes (chick peas, black beans, edamame, kidney beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, split peas, white beans, lentils and other types), nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, walnuts and other types of nuts), seeds (flax seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and other types of seeds), oats and oat bran, barley, vegetables, fruits and other plant-based foods.