Category Archives: Cholesterol

Eat the Yolk!

It amazes me that people still eat egg white omelets.  I guess everyone isn’t yet aware that the low-fat diet didn’t work… and that cholesterol does not actually cause heart disease.  Egg yolks have so much to offer when it comes to health. Starting your day with whole eggs can help regulate blood sugar, so it is more likely that you will make good food choices throughout the day.  In addition, eating eggs anytime of day can help with weight management because eggs are an easy way to get satisfying protein and healthy fats into the diet. Always buy the best eggs you can afford preferably from organic, pastured chickens that do not eat soy (note that most organic eggs are from soy-feed chickens).

1. Egg yolks are a good source of  the essential mineral chromium which helps to maintain proper blood sugar levels, lower body weight, increase lean body mass, reduce triglycerides and cholesterol. (Murray,2005). Eating just two 2 eggs yolks provides nearly 400 mcg of chromium which is double the suggested amount needed per day. (Murray,1996)

2. Whole eggs are an excellent source of Vitamin K which is vital for strong bones and preventing osteoporosis. (Murray,2005)

3. A whole egg only has 65 calories 5.3 grams of fat, only 1.3 grams is saturated. One egg also has 6 grams of protein.(Murray,2005) Saturated fat is good for you but if you think it isn’t maybe this will convince you.

4. A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who eat four whole eggs per week had lower cholesterol than people who ate just one egg per week. (Murray,2005). Our hormones are made from cholesterol and it is a healing substance. Read more about the powerful benefits of cholesterol here.

5. Eggs yolks are rich in choline which is vital for healthy brain function. Choline has been shown be to be crucial for helping to prevent depression and Alzheimer’s.(Murray,1996) Whole Eggs are a good source of Vitamin B-12 and Folate which work together to protect the brain from degeneration and produce healthy red blood cells. (Murray,2005)

6. People who ate eggs rich in choline have 20% lower levels of inflammation than those who do not get enough choline. (whfoods.com,2010)

7. In a study of obese people lasting 8 weeks whole egg eaters lost double the weight of people who ate bagels for breakfast. They also lost 80% more inches and had more reported having more energy. (whfoods.com,2010)

8. Eggs rich in choline are important for heart health because choline regulates homocysteine which in excess can damage blood vessels. (whfoods.com,2010)

9. In another study children who ate eggs everyday for two months improved their LDL particle size which reduces their risk of heart disease. (whfoods.com,2010)

10. Egg yolks are a good source of Vitamin D and selenium  both of which can help prevent breast and colon cancer. (Murray,1996)

Why You Need Cholesterol

It was not until the 1960’s that Americans started to fear saturated fat and cholesterol. Our grandparents ate lots of meat and saturated fat, and they were statistically more healthy. In the early 1900’s most Americans had a difficult time keeping weight on, while heart disease was not even on the radar. Compare this picture to the present day, where people are still obsessed with low-fat diets and cutting cholesterol.  Where is the reward for all of this low-fat living? This fat and cholesterol phobia has contributed to a national obesity rate of 35%, where one-third of all deaths are blamed on heart dis
ease.  And the problem seems to be getting worse…

Where did this fat phobia come from?  Dr. Ancel Keys performed research in the 1950’s, where he proposed that countries with a higher intake of saturated fat and cholesterol have increased rates of heart disease. The Seven Countries study had a lot academic critics, but it caught on like wildfire and was adopted by the public. What no one, including the US government and the American Heart Association, took into account was that he had left out data from the other 15 countries he surveyed, making his results useless. Yes, our fear of saturated fat and cholesterol is based on a flawed and cherry-picked study.

10 Reasons You Need Cholesterol

During the past 50 years this fear of fat has caught on, and rates of heart disease and obesity have surged upward, with no end in sight. Cholesterol is a natural healing substance that has many vital functions in the human body. If you are worried about cholesterol levels from a high fat diet, here are some reasons to put your mind at ease:

  1. Cholesterol is a vital structural component of every human cell membrane and it aids in communication between cells. It’s a necessary component in making new, healthy cells, and it gives us the ability to heal from illness or injury.
  2. Cholesterol helps reduce bloating by regulating the salt and water balance in the body.
  3. Cholesterol is converted into bile in the liver, which helps us to digest fats. Many people who have been on a low-fat diet will have trouble with fat digestion.
  4. You need cholesterol to make adrenal hormones, cortisol, and aldosterone, which help us cope with the stress of day-to-day living. A low-fat diet often does not supply enough substrate to make these hormones, which leads to adrenal fatigue, feelings of exhaustion, and belly fat storage.
  5. UVB rays from the sun interact with the cholesterol in your skin to convert it to vitamin D. Cholesterol helps the absorption of Vitamin D, which is vital for proper immune function.
  6. Many studies indicate that cholesterol may act as an antioxidant to heal free radial damage. The standard American diet (SAD) is full of oxidized vegetable oils and sugars, which are pro-oxidants. These non-foods wreak havoc on your cells and cause damage that contributes to heart disease. The body produces more cholesterol in response to these inflammatory foods in an attempt to heal the damage they cause in our blood vessels.
  7. Cholesterol helps in the formation of your memories and is crucial for proper neurological function. People with low HDL cholesterol can have impaired memory and are at an increased risk of developing dementia later in life.
  8. Elevated cholesterol is a sign that your body is making more to heal damaged cells. It is key to look for the true cause of the inflammation (ie: sugar, grains, vegetable oils), not kill the messenger by taking cholesterol medication with possibly dangerous side effects.
  9. Many times a high cholesterol test is your body trying to send you an important message, so listen up! Healing cholesterol is often produced in excess when there is a lack of thyroid hormone and/or there is an autoimmune thyroid attack. Normalizing thyroid hormone levels can help balance cholesterol levels, as well as following a lower carb nutrient dense diet.
  10. Cholesterol is very important for the communication between brain synapses, which make the feel good chemical serotonin. There have been many studies where people with abnormally low levels of cholesterol have tendencies toward violence or depression.

In Summary

Cholesterol is an essential building block for the steroid hormones which help control our moods, metabolism, inflammation, immune, and sexual functions. The human body needs cholesterol in order to function, and without it we would not survive. The liver will intuitively make more cholesterol when the diet does not provide enough.

Many studies have shown that low cholesterol is a bigger risk factor for heart disease and mortality than high cholesterol. Elderly people with low cholesterol died twice as often from a heart attack, when compared with elderly people with high cholesterol.  According to Dr. Mark Hyman, higher cholesterol predicts lower risk of death from heart disease.

When evaluating your own cholesterol levels do some critical thinking about what is best for you. Follow the money trail when your doctor advises you to take Statin drugs, and ask for some hard evidence on why they are recommending them for you.

Lifestyle interventions such as a low carb, Paleo diet can help people achieve optimal lipid panel markers, in a very short time, without any dangerous side effects. Use your best judgement when you hear how foods that kept our great grandparents healthy like grass-fed meat, raw cheese, and grass-fed butter, are to blame for new diseases.

The Whole Egg

For too long, those seeking a reduced-cholesterol diet have been pitching the egg yolk, but are we tossing aside one of nature’s most nutritious foods? Listed below are a few benefits to eating the whole egg:

  • A whole egg contains 185 mg of cholesterol. True, egg whites contain zero, but an average adult with normal cholesterol can consume up to 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
  • The white of the eggs has the majority of the protein, but the yolk has all the nutritional goodies. One egg yolk contains calcium, vitamin A, vitamin D, phosphorus and folate. Take that, egg white.
  • Did you know that having eggs for breakfast can help promote weight loss? Two eggs are only 184 calories, but pack a whopping 12.6 grams of protein. Having a full tummy with that much nutrition can help stave off your cravings for a mid-morning gut bomb.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our growth and development. You can find eggs fortified with Omega-3s, increasing your intake of these awesome fatty acids.

Foods for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or  hypertension, is estimated to be responsible for 7+ million deaths every year worldwide.  According to research, Western-style dietary habits are the number one reason for essential hypertension. Think about it: People living in rural areas of China, Brazil, and Africa show no signs of  hypertension, even with advanced age. There are foods that can help this condition and then there are foods that should absolutely be avoided. Read on to find the foods that improve your blood pressure! 

Top 3 Foods to Choose:
You should eat a balanced array of fresh wholesome fruits and vegetables of all colors every day. The foods below will bring your blood pressure extra benefits.

Fish – Of all animal products, fish is the healthiest, owing to its high protein and low fat content. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish, along with other nutrients, protect blood vessels from plaque, reduce inflammation, and prevent high blood pressure. Flaxseeds, like fish, are full of omega-3 fatty acids that protect your blood vessels from plaque.

Celery juice – A time-tested Chinese remedy for high blood pressure is celery juice, which can be made with a blender or a juicer. Two to three 8 oz glasses a day for a month can help prevent high blood pressure or restore it to normal levels. In addition, celery is known to prevent gout and other arthritic conditions. Studies have found that this stalk is packed with over a dozen anti-inflammatory agents, including apigenin, a cox2-inhibiting compound similar to some anti-inflammatory drugs. Who knew celery was more than just a garnish?

Olive oil – Olive oil, long a staple of the Mediterranean diet, has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood lipids and may also lower blood pressure. According to a recent study, “Olive oil intake is inversely associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.” Translation: consuming more olive oil is linked with lowered blood pressure. Use olive oil for cooking and on salads.

Top 3 Foods to Avoid – And What to Choose Instead

In general, for healthy blood pressure cut back on salt, caffeine, white flour, alcohol, deep-fried food, nicotine, preservatives, sugars, and artificial flavoring and coloring. Specifically, here are the main offenders to avoid:

Salt – Sodium has long been implicated in chronic ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Additionally, recent studies have shown that increased salt intake is proportional to an increase in cancers of the stomach, esophagus, and bladder.

Swap for: Herbs and spices – Your best choices are fennel, garlic, ginger, oregano, black pepper, basil and tarragon, all of which possess active ingredients that are beneficial for hypertension. Vinegar is another flavorful option.

Coffee – For people who don’t consume caffeine on a regular basis, caffeine can cause a temporary but sharp rise in blood pressure. Exactly what causes this spike in blood pressure is uncertain. Some researchers have suggested that caffeine narrows blood vessels by blocking the effects of adenosine, a hormone that helps keep them widened. Caffeine may also stimulate the adrenal gland to release more cortisol and adrenaline, which causes your blood pressure to increase.

Swap for: Green tea – Scientific studies point to green tea as a food that can help reverse some of the risk factors associated with heart disease, including high blood pressure and abnormal blood clotting. Much of the research on green tea has been conducted in Japan, where men and women drink a high daily intake of green tea, and also have one of the lowest incidences of heart disease in the world.

Refined Sugar – The average American consumes nearly 240 pounds of sugar per year. Most of the excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, resulting in weight gain and elevating your risk of heart disease and cancer. Sugar makes blood pressure rise, especially in people who are overweight.

Swap for: Honey – Honey contains vitamins and minerals that are lacking in refined table sugar, making it much healthier for you. Instead of refined sweets, go for the natural delicious flavors of fresh fruits and berries.

Turn to nature for support of optimum blood pressure and heart functions. High blood pressure is a condition with serious consequences; don’t stop taking any prescribed medications and work with your physician before making drastic changes to your diet.