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  • Writer's pictureFranck Banza

Why African countries have the lowest cholesterol in the world.

What can we learn from their healthy habits that lower their level of cholesterol?

According to The Lancet Journal, the UK's cholesterol is ninth highest in the world by contrast to African countries which have the lowest cholesterol level in the world. Here at Super Bio Boost we would like to invite you to explore some of the health habits from these African countries that have positive effects on the level of cholesterol in their bloods.

For those who don’t already know what Cholesterol is, let’s start with some key definitions first. Cholesterol is a type of lipid (fat) made by the liver and found in the foods we eat. To be healthy, you need cholesterol because it performs several essential functions for the proper functioning of your body.

  • Nearly 90% of the cholesterol in our bodies is devoted to the membranes of our cells

  • It acts as a constituent of certain sex (testosterone) or adrenal (cortisone) hormones

  • It directs the development of certain cells in the foetus

  • It promotes the formation of synapses in our brains

  • It is an ingredient of the bile, a liquid that mixes lipids with water to digest dietary fats

  • It is the precursor of vitamin D

Cholesterol is transported in the blood by “lipoproteins” or LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), low density proteins, and HDL (High Density Lipoprotein), high density proteins. “Total cholesterol” includes HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, which are called good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL).

LDL lipoproteins, which are harmful to the body, bind cholesterol to the walls of the arteries and lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. LDL therefore tends to block the arteries, and it is responsible for 60 to 80% of the cholesterol circulating in the blood (

In our previous article, we talked about how the Maasai people have a diet rich in Selenium and Omega 3 fats. Could that be the main reason? Not entirely, but it is definitely a contributing factor. According to the Mayo Clinic there is strong evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce blood triglyceride levels. There also appears to be a slight improvement in high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol. Chen, C. at.. (2015) states that Selenium has modestly beneficial effects on blood lipid levels in a population with relatively low selenium status. This clearly shows how these two micronutrients have a positive impact on the cholesterol level. However, Asian countries are the biggest consumers of fish and sea foods rich in Selenium and Omega-3 fats but they also have one of the highest cholesterol levels in the world. This means that there must be something else that African countries do on the top having a diet rich in Selenium and Omega 3 fats. We can argue that the low level of cholesterol in African countries can be attributed to low consumption of animal-source foods, and refined carbohydrates, which has considerably increased in recent years in Asian countries.

However, food is not the only factor that affects the level of cholesterol and we have looked at what could be the additional factor that makes the African countries one of the lowest in cholesterol level compared to the rest of the world. The Ivorian writer, Gérard AkéLoba, once stated that Africans laugh when they are happy, angry or unlucky (Emmanuel Ngwira & Ken Junior Lipenga, 2018). Laughter has the same benefits of a cardio workout and it gets our hearts pumping and burns the same amount of calories as walking, and most importantly, it lowers LDL cholesterol (bad) and raises HDL cholesterol (good).

Despite having around 22% of the average wealth per capita of the rest of the world, African countries have around 74% of the average 'happiness' of the rest of the world. There are many contributing factors on the cholesterol level, but as it can be seen, laughter may be one of the main factors that makes the difference in Africans’ wellbeing.

Let’s learn to be happy every day like Africans do as it brings a lot of health benefits. Laughter is a reflex and requires no intellectual effort. Many studies have shown that laughter activates the reward areas of the brain. Laughter is therefore associated with something positive and leads to the production of endorphins contributing to well-being.

Laughter relaxes the muscles of the body, moreover, laughter increases the heartbeat and causes dilation of blood vessels. Blood circulation is therefore better.

For these different reasons, laughter makes it possible to:

  • Reduce stress;

  • Reduce anxiety, insomnia and depression;

  • Strengthen the immune system;

  • Physical exercise;

  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease because it lowers blood pressure;

  • Increase self-confidence and positivity;

  • Developer of social relations;

  • Improve well-being;

  • Increase life expectancy.

Need to add some sense of humour to your life? Check out funny videos online, sign up for a joke-a-day email, or watch funny movies.

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