Cultured Foods for the Cholesterol Conscious
One of my good friends told me her cholesterol had gone up since drinking kefir, and then she said, “That’s my good cholesterol! It went through the roof and my doctor is very pleased.” I got a few emails this week from people expressing to me that since they’ve been consuming kefir and cultured vegetables their blood cholesterol numbers normalized and other problems improved as well. This is not an unusual occurrence. I’ve heard from friends and family and people who email me, or post on my Facebook page, that cultured foods have helped their cholesterol. Those microbes in our bodies can help us with all manner of problems – and cholesterol is no exception.
I Love All The Things Good Bacteria Do!
How Bacteria Can Help Us With Cholesterol
I do love all the things good bacteria do, and here is some science to explain how bacteria can help us with cholesterol. A double-blind study with 60 volunteers, aged 18 to 65, looked at the effects of probiotics on cholesterol. Each day for 12 weeks one group received a capsule that contained 120 billion viable Lactobacillus strains, which happen to be abundant in kefir and cultured vegetables. The other group got a placebo. There was a 13.6 percent overall reduction in total cholesterol in the people who took the probiotic, compared with the placebo group. Moreover, the participants with the highest cholesterol at the start of the study reduced their total cholesterol by 17.4 percent. Their LDL cholesterol—the “bad” cholesterol—was lowered by 17.6 percent, compared with the placebo group.1 This is a significant reduction in total cholesterol. Ingesting cultured foods provides not only the Lactobacillus strains that were used in the study but also various others that add to an overall balanced gut.
Another study gave participants live yogurt with Lactobacillus. After six weeks, researchers found significant reductions in LDL cholesterol (8.92 percent) and total cholesterol (4.81 percent). The same group performed a second trial with similar results.2
One reason probiotics help lower cholesterol is because bacteria consume prebiotic (soluble) fiber in the small intestines and create acids, one of which is called proprionic acid. This particular acid reduces production of cholesterol by the liver.
Another way probiotics bring down cholesterol levels is that as bacteria grow in the intestinal tract, they consume some of the cholesterol that is present, incorporating it into their own cells. This means the cholesterol becomes unavailable for absorption from the intestine into the bloodstream, naturally lowering total cholesterol.3
Destroying Viruses And Even Possible Cancer Cells
Our bodies are constantly renewing themselves each and every day. They are destroying viruses and even possible cancer cells all day, every day, while you are going about your day. Everything goes along pretty well until you overburden your body with toxins and foods that pollute your body and overwhelm its ability to keep you well. If we overindulge in all manner of food and drink that bring stress and overwhelm the body it creates disease. So I am going to try to change you by giving you some healthier alternatives to help your body and your taste buds stay healthy and happy and then let the microbes go to work keeping you healthy.
Lactobacillus Species in Kefir
The Species Lactobacillus seems to be the microbe that really helps with cholesterol. Kefir has many Lactobacillus species.
Lb. brevis [Possibly now Lb. kefiri]
Lb. casei subsp. casei
Lb. casei subsp. rhamnosus
Lb. paracasei subsp. paracasei
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus
Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis
Lb. helveticus subsp. lactis
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefirgranum
Lb. kefiranofaciens subsp. kefiranofaciens
A Powerful Thing - a Kefir Smoothie
It's kind of a powerful thing - a kefir smoothie. It starts your day off by flooding it with lots of healthy bacteria. Then, no matter what you do that day, at least that morning you did the right thing. Your cells were flooded with nutrients. Kefir is anti-inflammatory and loaded with enzymes, probiotics, and vitamins. It's predigested and speeds to the parts of the body that are calling for the nutrients it provides. So go ahead and have your Christmas cookies, alcohol, and treats if you must. You'll probably not feel so good later, but little by little that kefir smoothie will start showing you the power it holds. It starts off my mornings and sends me soaring each day. Being healthy is pretty awesome.
Listen To My Podcast
There is so much misinformation about cholesterol. So many don’t understand how cholesterol works in the body, and how good bacteria helps keep your cholesterol in perfect balance. Gain wisdom and understanding about cholesterol and learn how you can keep it in control.
- C. Fuentes et al., “Cholesterol-lowering Efficacy of Lactobacillus plantarum CECT 7527, 7528 and 7529 in Hypercholesterolaemic Adults,” British Journal of Nutrition 109, no. 10 (May 28, 2013): 1866-72
- L. Jones et al., “Cholesterol-lowering Efficacy of a Microencapsulated Bile Salt Hydrolase-active Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 Yoghurt Formulation in Hypercholesterolaemic Adults,” British Journal of Nutrition 107, no. 10 (May 2012): 1505-13:
- Keating, “New Dairy Product Fights Cholesterol,” Online Ag at OSU, a Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources/Oklahoma State University:
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