Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cholesterol Busters!!

One of my goals this year is to get my husband off of statin drugs that he takes for his cholesterol. Fortunately, he is not very dedicated in taking them every day. Statin drugs are bad news...long term effects can be Parkinson's and Alzheimers. I want to grow old with my hubby and have a conversation. I know we cannot control everything in our future, but I believe we can take steps to direct it. This year, we're taking the path to renewed health. Jesse and I will be doing the 28 Day Jumpstart to health living program, put together in part by nutritionist Ti Caudron, in a few more days...counting down to the 15th!
Diet plays such a key role in how we feel. Our hormones are affected big time, and so is our cholesterol level. I recently read an article that offered some key foods that help lower cholesterol levels. Consider incorporating these foods into your nutrition program if you have high cholesterol.
SPINACH - Happily, right at the top of the list is SPINACH. I probably eat 5-6 cups of baby organic spinach leaves daily. Spinach contains lutein, which is found in dark green leafy vegetables in general. In addition to lowering cholesterol, lutein has a reputation for guarding against age related macular degeneration - a leading cause of blindness. One half cup of lutein rich vegetables a day can guard against heart attacks by helping artery walls "shrug off" cholesterol invaders that cause clogging. I should be pretty good to do considering how much spinach I eat weekly!
EVOO - extra virgin olive oil is the VERY BEST omega 3 oil you can add/use to all your recipes that are not seared at high heat. (High heat can cause EVOO to produce free radicals - avoid those!) Extra virgin olive oil will also help raise your HDL, or good cholesterol.
GARLIC - we happen to love garlic in our family. If you are sauteeing carrots or broccoli, mince some fresh garlic and toss as you toss your vegetables in the skillet with EVOO.
NUTS - 1.5 oz. of nuts (approximately 1.5 shot glasses) offer nutrients that help lower cholesterol. Don't over do - note how little is recommended. Nuts are fattening eaten in large quanties. Walnuts are recommended, as well as almonds. Almonds are also a rich source of magnesium, and most of us lack magnesium - which causes a whole slew of other problems.
OATS - rich in beta-glucan, this fiber rich food helps transport the LDL (bad cholesterol) right out of your system.
BEANS - high in fiber, again, help excrete LDL.
SALMON - also rich in Omega 3s. Other fish rich in Omega 3s are good as well, such as sardines. I do believe I am having salmon for Valentine's dinner! A great choice for my heart.
I am saving the best on the list for last....
CHOCOLATE!! But of course this would be dark or bittersweet chocolate. Not that sweet milky stuff. Rich in antioxidants, it increases HDL, and helps prevent blood platelets from sticking together, and may help keep arteries unclogged.

If you have high cholesterol do try to avoid statin drugs. If you would like a copy of the health newsletter that warns of these drugs I will be happy to email it to you. Controlling with diet is best. Since I began my journey back to health last fall my cholesterol levels have plummted 45%.  It's pretty amazing...since all I did was cut white carbs 80%, eat spinach pretty much 5 out of 7 days a week, balsamic vinegar/EVOO dressing and cut way back on coffee...oh, and again ...white carbs and simple sugars, ie. bakery and sweets, breads.
My goal is to have a fully functioning brain when I am old. I have seen what Alzheimer's is doing to dear family members, and it is difficult. Healthy food = healthy body = healthy brain!

To your health!
Rita S.

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