Thursday, April 10, 2008

High Cholesteral

Recently I found out that my bad cholesteral count was high (260). Eating a lot of fats (which may be a part of my problem)and not getting enough exercise (not my problem) can cause cholesterol levels to rise. It’s also, in part, a result of my genetic makeup. Some people inherit genes associated with elevated levels of cholesterol. One type is called (glossary term) familial hypercholesterolemia. People with this genetic makeup can eat a healthy diet and exercise, and still have high cholesterol.

Anyway, I read an article in the April 9th Beachbody's Newletter by Steve Edwards ( ) and I wanted to share part of it with you.

Here is a list of 10 ways to lower your cholesteral.

1.Exercise. Once again, we're back to the very basics (isn't this our solution to everything?). But, seriously, the human body was built to move. If you don't move, it falls apart or, in this case, a more appropriate analogy might be that you gum up the works. Frequent exercise fights the buildup of cholesterol in the blood and plaque on the arteries. Exercising enough can even, to some degree, offset a bad diet. But daily exercise should be considered your main daily essential if you have high cholesterol, or even if you don't want to have it. From Turbo Jam® to P90X®, there are exercise programs to accommodate every need.

2.Eat enough fiber. Specifically, you want soluble fiber—a great source is legumes (beans, lentils, etc.)—which helps remove bad cholesterol from your system.

3.Eat fatty fish. Our diets are far too low in DHA and EPA, two fatty acids found in most fish. Among other benefits, these help fight the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. A good fish oil supplement can be an easier and safer alternative since Mercury contamination is a possibility when eating too much fish.

4.Eat less meat—or at least less meat fat. It's loaded with cholesterol. Our American meat-laden diet is probably the single biggest dietary cause of increased heart disease risk.

5.Eat less dairy—or at least less fat from dairy. You need a lot of fat in your diet but almost none of this should come from meat and dairy sources as they're loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat.

6.Switch to olive oil instead of your regular saturated fat oil. Olive oil can help you lower LDL "bad" cholesterol levels without reducing HDL "good" cholesterol levels.

7.Eat broccoli. And cauliflower, cabbage, and other stuff that looks like it came out of a mini Tolkien forest. These vegetables not only have a lot of fiber; they're loaded with indoles, compounds useful in fighting high cholesterol.

8.Eat plant sterols. The National Cholesterol Education Program states that consuming 2 grams of plant sterols per day, in conjunction with a low saturated fat diet, may reduce LDL cholesterol by 5 to 15 percent. But where do you find them? Good question. Some margarine is now made with plant sterols, but you've got to do some research because some older margarine is terrible. Chances are the good ones will tell you on the label. Natural sources include avocados and sunflower seeds.

9.Spice up your diet. Add cinnamon, chili peppers, evening primrose, and/or garlic to your dishes, as these seem to help lower cholesterol naturally.

10.Stop smoking. Duh! Hmm, okay, this one's too obvious. How about adding some oat bran to your diet? Yeah, that's better—something maybe you didn't already know. Oat bran is another one of those foods that not only have numerous nutritional benefits but also show up on everyone's list of cholesterol-lowering ingredients.

So I'm going to apply these 10 ways to lower my "bad" cholestral and in 3 months I'll give you an update on my new readings....but first let me finish this pizza!

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