To Yolk or To Eggwhite

From A1c%, to cholesterol, triglyceride labs, to CRP – there are numerous tests we draw to understand how our diet is affecting our overall health. While research shows that 90% of heart disease is caused by modifiable diet and lifestyle factors, there is still a lot of confusion of what foods to eat and which to avoid. (1) Zooming in closer, I am going to layout some thought starters on cholesterol/cardiovascular labs, and propose some advice on how to hit optimal targets.

Strawberry Scrambler - 2 eggs, 3 strawberries, fresh parsley, ginger, coco nibs, salt/pepper #antioxidants #swee

Yet, first let’s get the elephant out of the room: high cholesterol is a symptom of some sort of inflammation in the body. It is not necessarily caused from eating egg yolks, and or other high quality cholesterol containing foods. Conclusions from research based in the 1960s suggested that cholesterol was caused from high cholesterol (animal) foods and saturated fat. However, more recent data, and stronger research puts this myth to bed. While 25% of the population may respond to a higher cholesterol intake, the increase does not impact heart health or the LDL to HDL ratio. In other words, I have no problem starting my every day with eggs and or bacon/sausage, and some sort of vegetable of course, even as a type 1 diabetic with an increased risk of heart disease. I digress.

Long-term studies on saturated fat and heart health are just as comforting, if not more. Low carbohydrate diets tend to be high in fat, including saturated fat, and have shown health benefits beyond lowering cholesterol including weight loss, decrease in triglycerides, fasting blood glucose, blood pressure, waist circumference, c- reactive protein/CRP (indicator of inflammation), to name a few. (2)  So once again, understand you are doing no harm to yourself when you consume saturated fat and high quality cholesterol foods.

Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Diet and overall health marry this quote perfectly.

To improve heart health first know your numbers, and what they mean, and how to interpret them. The total cholesterol is not the be all. Nearly half of the heart attacks, take place with people with low cholesterol. With all my clients, I hear their story, understand their lifestyle and interpret labs with this angle:

What is total cholesterol? HDL? LDL? Total triglycerides? The I take it a step further and measure: Total cholesterol/HDL? Triglycerides/HDL ratio?

With these results, I also want to know if my client has lost weight recently, and how long the weight has been stable, and/or if the client is postpartum. All the above can affect the lab results. Further more, let’s use some hypothetical lab results and play with the interpretations:

 

CHOLESTEROL 160 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <170 mg/dL
TRIGLYCERIDE 61 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): <100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >499 mg/dL
HDL CHOLESTEROL 70 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): >50 mg/dL
LDL CHOL (CALC) 78 mg/dL
Optimal (not to be construed as a target for drug therapy): < 100 mg/dL
Highly Abnormal (please review with your medical team further): >189 mg/dL

As you can see beneath each result are optimal ranges. However, going off what I want to know, I will calculate a few ratios.
Trig/HDL = 0.87
– Ratio is ideal 1:1 or less. If it’s 2.5-3.0 there are some said lifestyle changes to made. If it’s >3 may indicated insulin resistance and increased heart disease.

Total cholesterol/HDL = 2.285
– Goal is to be below 5. Closer to 5 or above, can be an indication of cardiovascular diet/lifestyle modifications.

Ideally want HDL to be above 70 mg/dL for immunity and overall health outcomes.
– HDL increases with exercise, grassfed butter, cream, and coconut oil. HDL is made from fat, so we need to eat clean and quality fat for the raw materials. A little alcohol can also increase HDL.

A high LDL can be a sign of maybe some low thyroid, as well as, miss managed stress, sleep deprivation, high blood sugars, or too many carbohydrates in the diet.

If Triglycerides are high, review the amount of carbohydrate in the diet. Research has shown by limiting carbohydrates to 120-150g per day, can improve triglyceride levels, unrelated to weight loss. (3)

Understand what foods to eat and avoid:

  • Avoid man-made foods, including vegetable oils. Indeed, vegetable oils/margarine were once recommended for heart health.
  • Avoid eating large portions of foods that are high in omega 6 fatty acids. For example: nuts and seeds should be treated like a condiment. Please note the emphasis on “large.” Nuts are healthy and have many wellness benefits, but any good thing, can be overdone.

Feed your heart the nutrients it needs:

  • Eat whole real food, more often than not,
  • Have wild seafood twice a week (omega 3 fatty acids),
  • Eat antioxidant-rich foods at every meal (think produce, coffee, chocolate). An awesome goal to strive for, is 2 cups of vegetables at meals and 1 cup at snacks. Enjoy fruit, but keep quantity less than vegetables.
  • Enjoy polyphenol- rich foods such as cocoa, coffee, spices, tea, wine, vegetables, fruit.

Treat yourself with the care it deserves:

  • Sleep like you are getting paid for it. In a way you are!
  • Get spiritual – religious or not. But make the goal of getting in touch with yourself, being present, and finding calm in our busy lives.
  • Be kind with your thoughts and actions. Our feeling shape who we become.

Above all, remember that it is hard to manipulate nature. I always tell my clients, “Mother Nature cries everytime we throw out a yolk.” Keep things simple. Eat real food, and try to not over think it.

PS – the picture is a Strawberry Scrambler – 2 eggs, 3 strawberries, fresh parsley, ginger, coco nibs, salt/pepper #antioxidants #sweet

RELATED TOPICS

Eat Your Heart Out

Paleo & Cholesterol Concerns

A client just sent me an email last night w/ some lab work. While she is just one person, using a real food template for her diet, there is many other stories and research out there that can help calm any worries in eating healthy yet cholesterol containing foods and attaining ideal cardiovascular health. Email verbatim below; and with her permission. Thanks Eileen for sharing and being transparent for my readers as well.

“Hi Kelly! I know I usually e-mail you from my Gmail, but I had a health assessment at work and wanted to share my results below. I’ve always had pretty low cholesterol and despite eating 3-4 eggs a day since I first saw you ~18 months ago, I still have healthy cholesterol. I just wanted to share, not that you needed proof, but in case there are any doubters out there—the screenshot below is proof!” (Click image to enlarge).

unnamed

Cholesterol Cutting Foods

Harvard Medical School has recommended 11 foods including nuts and fatty fish that make easy work of lowering cholesterol.

 

The newly published list contains quite different foods that are all capable of lowering cholesterol but do so in different ways.

Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Others give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL, and some contain plant sterols and stenols that block cholesterol absorption.

All the 11 cholesterol fighting food groups are listed below.

  1. Oats
  2. Barley and other whole grains
  3. Beans
  4. Eggplant and Okra
  5. Nuts
  6. Vegetable oils
  7. Apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits
  8. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols
  9. Soy
  10. Fatty fish
  11. Fiber supplements

Harvard Medical School elaborated on this list with information on potential sources of these food groups and data on their nutritional value.

It recommends that people turn to oat-based cereals like Cheerios to boost their consumption of oats to the recommended level of 20 to 35 grams a day. The average American only gets about half that amount.

For other food groups Harvard Medical School gives precise details of their cholesterol fighting impact. It says eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can reduce LDL by about 5 percent while 25 grams of soy protein (10 ounces of tofu and 2.5 cups of soy milk) can lower LDL by a similar amount.

To reduce LDL even further Harvard Medical School recommends foods fortified with sterols and stenols. Just two grams of plant stenols or sterols can lower LDL by about 10 percent.

Fiber supplements also make the list but the accompanying text says they offer the least appealing way to get soluble fiber. Beans, whole grains, oats, eggplant and okra are other soluble fiber alternatives on the list.

When comes to deciding on which foods to choose from Harvard Medical School advises people to take a broad approach. Just as investors should have a wide portfolio to cut risks people should eat from a wide portfolio of cholesterol fighting foods to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Source click here

Have a healthy and fit day!

A New Twist on an Old Saying

Beans, beans, the magical fruit! The more you eat, the more you … may reduce your cholesterol.

It may not be as catchy as the popular children’s rhyme, but beans (which are actually vegetables) may indeed be magical for your health. Rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, folate and iron, popular dried beans include black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pink beans and pinto beans.
The 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 3 cups of dried beans per week to reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 16 percent. Most Americans eat about a third of this amount. Recent research shows eating one-half cup of pinto beans daily can reduce serum cholesterol by 8 percent.
Full of complex carbohydrates yet fat-free, beans can play a role in weight management by making you feel full without a lot of calories.
Beans are a great source of insoluble and soluble fiber, with 6 to 8 grams in a half-cup. They promote a healthy digestive tract, may reduce your risk of some types of cancer and can help control diabetes and maintain healthy blood glucose levels.
Produced by ADA’s Public Relations Team