Is your body is struggling to make enough cholesterol on a vegan diet? Common symptoms include: dry skin, low libido, poor digestion, depression and more. Here are some simple tips that will help your body synthesize cholesterol in the right amount.
If you are somewhat well versed in the nutritional side of veganism, you’ve probably have heard that it isn’t necessary to consume cholesterol from animal foods, because our liver and own body cells produce it.
This is true and they do this because cholesterol is an extremely essential molecule.
It’s needed to produce sex hormones, vitamin D, and bile, and maintain the structure of every single cell in the body.
On a vegan diet, although we’re not consuming cholesterol from animal foods, there are still ways cholesterol balance can be thrown off.
Maybe your body is struggling to make enough, and you’re experiencing symptoms like:
…and other signs that something is compromising your ability to produce enough cholesterol.
On the flip side, it’s possible to have high cholesterol levels even on a vegan diet and this of course can be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
I don’t think this topic is covered enough in the vegan health community. You find out “Oh, the body produces all the cholesterol it needs? Okay cool, I don’t have to worry about it.”
But my opinion is, because there are so many different ways to eat on a vegan diet, if your goal is to stay healthy long term, then you need to pay attention to nutrition. Everything we eat and everything we don’t eat has impact on our health.
So here are some simple tips that will help your body synthesize cholesterol in the right amount.
Tip #1: Don't Burden Your Liver With Junk Food & Alcohol
The liver is responsible for synthesizing cholesterol, but it has many other jobs in the body. It acts as a gatekeeper that receives molecules from our food, sends them off to different parts of the body or stores them, and it also metabolizes toxins.
PLEASE do not constantly eat food that contains refined carbs and oils, because your liver will not be happy with a huge workload of calories that doesn’t come with any useful nutrients at all.
Refined carbs and oils can also cause inflammation and damage to the walls of blood vessels. One of the jobs of cholesterol is to come in and patch up injuries. If your favorite vegan junk foods are causing chronic inflammation this cholesterol band-aid can build up and build up to the point of causing an obstruction, leading to heart attack or stroke.
Eat natural whole plant foods so your liver won’t be overworked and your blood vessels won’t become damaged. Same goes for alcohol, it’s a toxin, and it damages every cell and tissue it comes into contact with.
Tip #2 Consume Enough Dietary Fat
Because cholesterol is so important, the body can use a variety of different fats, carbs, and proteins to synthesize it. But dietary fat in particular seems to have the most impact when it comes to cholesterol levels.
Plant foods rich in mono and poly-unsaturated fats lower blood cholesterol, whereas foods higher in saturated fats tend to raise cholesterol levels.
There aren't very many plant based sources of concentrated saturated fats, but all nuts and seeds contain small amounts. Therefore by including these in your diet, you can benefit from small amounts of saturated fat that will make it easier for your liver to produce the right amount of cholesterol.
A concentrated source of saturated fat is coconut meat. You can also include this in your diet, however don't go overboard with refined coconut oil as this can raise cholesterol too much.
Tips #3 Ensure You’re Meeting Micronutrient Needs
Vitamins and minerals are needed at every step of every chemical reaction and being deficient in any micro will compromise your health.
Cholesterol isn’t easy to construct—there’s more than 30 chemical steps required to build one molecule of cholesterol.
So eat whole plant foods, and eat the most nutrient-rich of them on a daily basis. That’s what my main diet, the MicroVore Diet, is all about and the recipes you’ll find in that meal plan and here on my blog are extremely high in nutrients.
There are also nutrients that are difficult to get from plant-foods so I’ve linked a recommended supplement list as well.
Tip #4 Get Enough Sleep
Yep. Pretty standard advice! Rest your body so all organs and systems can do their job to keep you healthy and producing adequate levels of cholesterol.
Take Home Points
-Stay away from vegan junk food
-Consume enough dietary fat
-Eat nutrient-rich plant foods
-Take the recommended supplements (3 Essential Supplements On A Vegan Diet)
-Get enough sleep
These tips are useful for any health goal! From clearing up acne to improving digestion, and of course, ensuring a good cholesterol balance in your body!
Want help improving your health and losing weight on a plant-based diet? Explore my eBooks!
Fruit. Fat. Forage. is a 5 day raw food cleanse designed for detoxification and rapid weight loss! Read testimonies here.
The MicroVore Diet is a 14 day (and beyond) plan that contains micronutrient-rich and macro-balanced recipes for health and steady weight loss! Read testimonies here.
Thanks for living vegan and have a healthy day!