We hear it time and time again. We need to keep our cholesterol levels down.
But is low cholesterol a good thing?
Despite the hype that it’s a bad thing, it’s actually needed for:
-optimal brain function
-the synthesis of vitamin D
-the formation or structural component of every cell membrane in our body
-the production of steroid (sex and stress) hormones
Sex hormones include estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Low progesterone can elevate feelings of anxiety (😳🤯) whilst another hormone, DHEA, acts as a precursor to these hormones, and also relies on cholesterol to function.
It’s certainly no secret that shift work is taxiing on our health in more ways than one. In fact I’m sure you can appreciate first hand just how challenging it is to work irregular hours day after day after day … or should I say night?
But what about cardiovascular disease?
Does working shift work enhance our risks of developing cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension and coronary heart disease?
The simple answer is ‘yes’.
And whilst the mechanisms for doing so vary, the fundamental driver behind this, is unhealthy sleep patterns – which I’m sure every single shift worker on the planet can relate too.
But exactly how does lack of sleep raise our risks of developing cardiovascular disease?
Well it essentially comes down to an overactive sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the fight-or-flight’ stress response arm of the nervous system which instigates a lot of physiological responses within the body including the release of stress chemicals that raise blood pressure and heart rate. One of which includes cortisol.
This week I’m going to talk about one of my favourite shift working foods, that being the Avocado.
Whilst I don’t believe there is any one-size-fits-all diet for shift workers, I certainly believe some foods are better than others, particularly for those subjected to a life of constant sleep-deprivation. This is because ongoing sleep deprivation has been shown to promote intestinal hyper-permability, which is essentially the fancy word for “leaky gut”.
Leaky gut is one of the main drivers behind inflammation, and more and more research is implicating inflammation in the development of various diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. As a result, minimising inflammation in the body is absolutely key for maintaining optimal health.
From a nutritional perspective, avocados are loaded with nutrients. They are particularly abundant in vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamins B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6 (pyridoxine).