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Oxidized fatty acids and cholesterol OXIDIZED FATTY ACIDS AND CHOLESTEROL
Many researchers believe that cholesterol itself does not cause heart disease, but rather oxidized cholesterol is to blame. Fats become oxidized when they are exposed to light, oxygen or heat. Because of our typical processed food diets, most people ingest a great deal of oxidized fats.
When unsaturated fatty acids (mostly found in vegetable oil) are refined and processed in their manufacture, much of these fats become oxidized. If we eat food that has been fried or deep fried in these fats, we are consuming a great deal of toxic oxidation products formed in these oils. The intense heat used for frying creates compounds including peroxides, hydroperoxides, ozonides, polymers and hydroperoxyaldehydes. These dangerous compounds inflame and irritate your artery walls, damage cell membranes and impair your immune function. They also have the ability to irritate your liver cells and start the development of fatty liver disease. Whenever you eat food that has been fried in vegetable oil, you will be taking in toxic compounds that create a lot of free radical damage in your body. Extra virgin olive oil and virgin coconut fat are exceptions to this rule.
Oxidized cholesterol is found in foods like processed deli meats, foods containing powdered eggs and powdered milk, and egg yolks if the eggs have been cooked in a way that the yolk is broken and heated to high temperatures, for example frying. Homogenized milk is more likely to contain oxidized cholesterol than un-homogenized milk, because the fat globules are smaller, and thus have a greater surface area. This leaves them more susceptible to damage by light, oxygen and heat.
Fatty acids and cholesterol can be oxidized in our own bodies too. We may eat fresh, unrefined fats, but if our body is lacking antioxidants, these fats can still become damaged. Anything that increases the amount of free radicals in our body makes us more susceptible to fat oxidation; these factors include stress, lack of sleep, exposure to pollution, ultraviolet radiation from the sun and a diet lacking raw vegetables and fruit. If we ingest, or otherwise form oxidized cholesterol in our body, this cholesterol will be incorporated into our lipoproteins; HDL, LDL and others. We know that LDL is the "bad" kind of cholesterol, but when it becomes oxidized it is so much worse. It is believed that oxidized LDL causes much more damaged to artery walls because it is able to stick to the artery walls much more readily. Lecithin helps to protect cholesterol from oxidation; it is found in high amounts in eggs and soy foods.
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