Let’s get this straight. Moderately high cholesterol — in the low 200s — is not necessarily a risk factor for heart disease. And foods that are naturally high in cholesterol do not necessarily raise your blood levels of cholesterol, either. These are myths I’ve discussed many times before.
Most of your cholesterol — 85%, in fact — comes from your liver. So you don’t need to completely avoid animal products like yogurt, cheese, and eggs in order to have low cholesterol. Or even a little beef or chicken. The key is to keep your intake low and balance it with plenty of vegetables and fruits. This keeps your liver from being congested and churning out more cholesterol than your body needs.
High-cholesterol foods have been given a bad rap. This is unfortunate, because some can be downright beneficial. Take eggs, for instance. They protect your heart and brain and lower high blood pressure. And they can do this without raising your LDL cholesterol levels.
Last June, I wrote an article explaining how egg yolks are higher in choline, a nutrient that can protect you from breast cancer and memory loss, than any other food. It explained how adding eggs into your diet can be much more beneficial than harmful.
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Now a new study makes eggs even more attractive. This study said eggs can reduce your blood pressure. And high blood pressure does put you at increased risk for heart disease.
Canadian researchers found that enzymes in the stomach and small intestines make several different ACE inhibitors when they come into contact with particular proteins in eggs. These are very similar to the ACE inhibitor prescription drugs prescribed by many doctors to lower blood pressure.
So far, research has been limited to laboratory tests. I expect we’ll see human studies in the future. Meanwhile, if you enjoy eggs and have high blood pressure, try eating one or two eggs a day. By the way, fried eggs had higher ACE inhibiting activity than boiled eggs. We don’t know why. But enjoy them however you want.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand
Wu, J and Majumdeer, K, “Angiotensin: Converting enzyme inhibitory peptides from simulated in vitro gastrointestinal digestion of cooked eggs,” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Feb 11, 2009.