It is often said about cholesterol that it is bad for our health. But when put this broadly this is false. Cholesterol is a vital component of our body. The liver excretes it, but we also absorb it from food. The latter may lead to safe levels of cholesterol in the serum being exceeded, stressing our bodies and constituting a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Should this be the case we have to reduce cholesterol. This can be achieved simply and rapidly by maintaining a balanced, low-fat diet and stimulating digestion.
How can we stimulate digestion? Exercise on the one hand, bacteria on the other. The positive role of bacteria on our digestion has long since been proven. Any yoghurt with living cultures will have a probiotic effect which activates the digestive process. Fermented foods such as sauerkraut also aid digestion. Pasteurised foods, often referred to as “heat-treated”, usually no longer contain living bacteria. The latter were killed to stop organic processes and increase shelf-life.
A healthy bacterial community in the gut is not only important for a good digestion, good gut bacteria also offer a new way of fighting increased cholesterol levels. In recent years, many studies have shown that gut bacteria can be important partners in this fight. Probiotic bacteria, e.g. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, both available as dietary supplements, are able to absorb cholesterol, removing it from the gut. See also: Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases (2011) Vol. 21, p. 844-850).
Probiotic bacteria help us to restore the balance in the natural gut flora and normalise cholesterol levels.
US studies have found that ingestion of the Lactobacillus reuteri lactic acid bacterium reduces the number cholesterol-binding molecules. Fewer molecules equals less cholesterol!
Key takeaway: Test subjects only experienced a drop in the level of bad cholesterol (LDL). The values of good HDL cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels remained unchanged. This shows that probiotics are able to restore the balance between good and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract and prevent raised cholesterol levels. Cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, in particular, are thus prevented. Other studies suggest that probiotics might also be an effective tool in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease.