Eat These Low Cholesterol Foods for a Healthy Heart
We are being told to lower our cholesterol with low cholesterol foods, and the general consensus is the lower the better. President Eisenhower, when he had his first heart attack, had a total cholesterol level of 164. He had his cholesterol check many times a year and eliminated the saturated fats and conscientiously ate foods the were supposedly good for your heart. Subsequently he had a number of heart attacks, only to eventually die from heart disease.
Things haven’t really changed over the years. People are still trying to eat low cholesterol foods and yet the government statistics still show that every year more than 1 million people have heart attacks, and ½ a million people die each year from the disease.
Why do you have high choleserol even though you eat low cholesterol foods?
In understanding your body’s physiology, you have to realize that the body needs cholesterol for many metabolic functions. The makeup of the cell membranes need cholesterol in order to perform their metabolic function. The myelin sheath surrounds the nerve cells and keeps the nerve impulses flowing. Hormones such as DHEA, testosterone, estradiole and progesterone all depend on cholesterol. In my practice, I have seen many people go on eating predominantly low cholesterol foods only to see their cholesterol go up. We can now understand the reason for this surge. The cholesterol is produced in your liver, and when there is not enough cholesterol to fulfill the body’s needs, the liver will consistently produce more in order to keep healthy metabolic levels. This is not a bad thing. I will list foods that are low in cholesterol, but are nonetheless healthy for your heart.
Low Cholesterol Foods
Vegetables: high in fiber, and chlorophyll and plant sterols. Excellent source of anti-oxidants which help combat inflammation in the blood vessels.
Fruits: high in anti-oxidants and phenols. Also a great anti-inflammation checker.
Whole grains: such as oatmeal due to its soluble fiber content has been show to help reduce cholesterol.
Goji Berries: according to Chinese studies, goji has the ability to combat two key factors that promote heart disease: oxidized cholesterol and high blood pressure. Goji berries has the ability to increase the body’s production of SOD which is the body’s own antioxidant and helps to reduce the oxidation of cholesterol. Goji berries themselves have an ORAC value of around 25,000. To put this in perspective, a cup of blueberries have an ORAC value of 250. (The ORAC value is the way we measure the level of antioxidant potential in foods.
Acai Berry: the acai berry is as potent an antioxidant as the goji berry, however, it also contains a significant amount of omega-3,6,and 9 which has a very potent ability to reduce the inflammatory effects of cholesterol. Acai has been shown to be able to raise the HDL’s (good cholesterol) and lower the LDL’s (bad cholesterol).
Grapes: the tannins and reservatrol found in grapes and in red wine are a major component of the Mediterranean Diet and have been shown to aid in the reduction of cholesterol and heart disease.
Olive oil:has built its reputation as one of the best low cholesterol foods since it contains unsaturated fatty acids and is also a major player in the Mediterranean Diet.
Walnuts: are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts in general can have shown to reduce cholesterol by 8% and raise the HDL’s by a whopping 15%.
Salmon: is high in EPA and DHA and omega-3 fatty acids. It is recommended to eat salmon three times per week.
Together with a diet that eliminates trans fats, and proper exercise and of course no smoking, heart disease can be eradicated. We must develop a health building strategy that is built on sensible research based nutrition and not be swayed by the public media.
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