LDL Cholesterol and HDL Cholesterol: What is the Difference?
By Bentley Murdock
Having dedicated my education as a nutritionist to the reversing and preventing of physical disease, one of the questions I hear most often is “What’s the difference between HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol?” Most people’s automatic answer to such a question might have a rather large gray area of differentiation, while the clinical findings tend to be much more black and white (especially when considering today’s most common origins of physical “dis-ease”).
To put it simply, HDL cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (also known as “good cholesterol”) is derived from plant origins and works within the body to serve three primary purposes: to create myelin sheaths in the brain and to aid in the proper functionality and maintenance of all brain and eye activity; to construct and properly lubricate all joints and connective tissues in the body; and to assist in the controlled detection and removal of LDL cholesterol in the body. The foods most typically associated with supplying the body with its HDL cholesterol are avocados, flax (seeds, meal, oil, etc), legumes and beans, nuts and nut-butters, seeds, and whole grains. These living plant foods are also loaded with protein, essential omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and various other essential vitamins, nutrients, and minerals.
On the other hand, LDL cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (also known as “bad cholesterol”) is derived from animal fats and oils, processed animal and dairy products, eggs, fish, and saturated fats. This type of cholesterol is received by the body and processed in a much different way. The body is able to identify the differences between HDL and LDL lipoproteins and is thus unable to utilize them interchangeably. LDL cholesterol happens to be the kind with which the body can do little else other than create structural, visceral stores and reserves of fat, which can then potentially be utilized later on as a means of survival. Since most “Americanized” cultures are consuming animal and dairy proteins in extremity of excess, this overabundance of LDL cholesterol (with its associated hormones, antibiotics, carcinogens, heavy metals, and industrial chemical compounds) has become one of the leading causes of illness and disease in the world today. Even the World Health Organization categorizes all processed animal meat as a class-1 carcinogenic—right along with radium, asbestos, plutonium, tobacco, arsenic, and alcoholic beverages. Food for thought.
Many people have a tendency to resist assigning labels such as “good” or “bad” to various foods. However, when approaching nutrition from a perspective of disease prevention and reversal, it’s actually imperative that we understand the entire functionality of each item we choose to put into our physical bodies. That being said, the presence of LDL cholesterol in the body is directly associated with the onset and persistence of plaque build-up in the body’s arterial linings (blood passageways); heart failure; cardiovascular diseases of all kinds; diabetes; growth-acceleration of cancer cells, cancerous growths and tumors of all kinds; arthritis; osteoporosis; skeletal deterioration; inflammation; alzheimer’s; dementia; and the shrinkage of essential brain-matter.
Thanks to reliable resources, such as www.NutritionFacts.org, and the science we now have, we are finally able to more easily differentiate between what truly is fact and what is cleverly-lobbied, politically-motivated, financially-influenced, and/or industry-sponsored. In the past, it was perfectly normal to vacillate between crash-diets and experimental efforts of trying to “eat a little bit better.” We live in a completely different world now. Sadly, when twelve of the top fifteen causes of death in America are entirely and exclusively diet and nutrition related, the way we select, prepare, and consume each meal has literally become a matter of life or death.
The good news is this: Baby steps in the right direction, utilizing an incremental good/better/best methodology, make a world of difference that can be seen and felt, even within an incredibly short amount of time. Each person’s unique body (every single one) was designed to mend and heal automatically from within, and when we begin feeding our bodies more whole, healing, living foods, the natural repairing process begins to take root within us. So start wherever it is you find yourself, and take one tiny step in the direction of “healistic vitality,” knowing that it’s never too late to start being good to the one-and-only body with which you’ve been profoundly blessed and responsibly entrusted.
(For more evidence-based, clinically-researched findings regarding lifestyle, medicine, nutrition, and the factual origins of disease, please visit www.NutritionFacts.org.)