How to reduce cholesterol
Lamendola, health and fitness expert (see my photos below)
Having "high cholesterol" is not, in itself a
problem. It is a symptom of one or more problems that threaten you.
Don't focus on the cholesterol numbers and assume you are healthy if you get
them within "normal range."
Cholesterol is a generic name for a family of compounds.
You can get lost studying all the ins and outs of this topic, so this
short article will focus on the practical information you need to know to
be "heart healthy." Don't worry about whether you have too high
of the "bad cholesterol" or too little of the "good
cholesterol." Your focus should be on the lifestyle choices that your
cholesterol reflects, not on the cholesterol itself.
You can control your cholesterol problems, even if you are
genetically inclined to have lousy cholesterol readings. Certain factors
do affect your cholesterol levels, but some of them are not the factors
most people traditionally consider, and others are shrouded in myth. We
will cover the following factors:
Why does that marathoner have off-the-scale cholesterol?
Because his over-exercise causes his body's hormones to go way out of
whack. The kind of damage done by long hours of pounding the pavement not
only affect cholesterol, but do soft tissue damage that leads to cancer
and other illnesses. In any case, over-exercise causes cortisol to rise
and cortisol has a negative effect on your cholesterol profile.
Excess stress raises cortisol, whether that stress is
emotional or physical. So, take time to chill out, and don't sweat the
petty stuff. Exercise per the guidelines below.
There is no one magic diet that works for everyone. Nor is there a single diet that
works best for one individual over a long time. Pay attention to your genetics, and to
your ethnic group's traditional foods. If you are African American, that
does not mean overcooked vegetables or pork rinds. Such garbage came on the
nutritional scene only recently and is not African cuisine. Ditto for
"Italian" cuisine that's loaded with sugar and other garbage.
One myth holds that egg yolks are bad for you. This is not
true. There is no evidence that eating cholesterol gives you a bad
cholesterol profile. Cholesterol simply cannot survive the digestive
process. Some men eat bull testicles to raise their own testosterone levels,
but guess what? The digestive process prevents that. Ditto for cholesterol.
Total fat affects your cholesterol levels. So, keep fat to about 25% of your
caloric intake and you should be OK. Here's the unvarnished truth about egg
yolks. The lecithin in the yolks of free-range eggs is so high that eating
them actually reduces your low-density cholesterol (the bad kind) and raises
the high density cholesterol (which the body uses to encapsulate the bad
stuff and send it to the liver for disposal). Free-range hens have a
different diet than do factory hens, and they have a much lower stress
Remember, cholesterol isn't your only worry when it comes to eating fat.
Make sure to eat unsaturated fats and avoid saturated fats as much as
possible. Eating small amounts of meat will give you all the saturate fat
you can handle--adding butter and other garbage to your diet will exceed
your body's limits for handling saturated fat. Good sources of unsaturated
fats are walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and any oils that are liquid at room
temperature (don't go overboard).
Did you know that the peanuts offered on airlines are
LESS fattening than the fat-free pretzels? It's true. Stay away from fat-free foods--they
make your insulin levels do a yo-yo, and that makes your cholesterol profile
go out of whack.
You need to build muscle and burn fat. Live the lean lifestyle, and you will be way ahead in the cholesterol game.
Building muscle burns fat, so lifting weights is a very good activity. If you are not
familiar with weights, hire a personal trainer for month or so. If you can't afford that,
let me know and I'll suggest other things. If you do buy weights, I recommend an Olympic
weight set. It's safer to use than the cheap plastic sets, and you can do more with it. If
you don't have much space or money, then a cheap plastic set will do just fine. I had such
a set for over 20 years before selling it to someone else.
The two keys to beneficial exercise are consistency and change. You must treat exercise
time as an appointment. Always keep it. And don't do the same exercises all the time.
Change it up every few weeks, or even sooner. A third element is intensity. If you get the
first two, however, you can leave intensity for the serious athletes and bodybuilders.
Find physical activities and enjoy them.
To avoid exercising, listen to your body. I train hard with
free weights 4 or 5 days a week. I have three groupings of body parts I work
on a rotating basis (chest/tri, back/bi, shoulders). I do squats twice a
month. Allow a muscle group to rest 72 hours before hitting it hard again.
Your workout shouldn't take more than 30 to 45 minutes. Ditto for running.
This hormone, which both men and women need, is antagonistic
to cortisol. You raise your testosterone in these ways:
Now, go forth and conquer your cholesterol.
Note: If you are under treatment for
cholesterol, share this article with your doctor and ask for further advice
on lifestyle choices you can make. Work with your doctor to get you off
cholesterol medication (if you're on it) once those lifestyle choices begin
having an effect. Learn about your medical condition and what to do, and use
this information to help your doctor determine the correct protocol.
keep your doctor informed of what measures you are taking. Be upfront and
honest with your doctor, whose job it is to help you. Make it your job to
help your doctor do that.