There’s no denying the strong relationship between blood cholesterol levels and the extent of cardiovascular disease(s), including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart attack (inadequate blood to the heart), stroke (blockage of a blood vessel in the brain), angina (chest pain), and blood clots (blockage I nthe blood vessel). It’s well-established scientifically that higher blood cholesterol levels are related to these diseases. It’s also an established fact that dietary cholesterol (cholesterol in food, found only in the animal products of meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products) and saturated fat (hard and white) raises blood cholesterol levels.
HDL, or high density lipoprotein, is the “good” cholesterol; LDL, or low density lipoprotein, is considered “bad.” HDL levels above 45 is excellent; below 30 is a concern, especially when they’re part of a lipid profile that includes triglyceride (another type of fat) levels above 200. The National Cholesterol Education Program says that lowering cholesterol levels to between 150-200 milligrans per deciliter not only lowers the odds of future heart attacks, but actually prolongs life.
To avoid cholesterol-containing foods, consume lots of cholesterol-free fresh vegetables, fruit, whole grains (such as millet, barley, buckwheat, brown rice, etc.), and beans and peas. Note: Nuts and seeds are also cholesterol-free, but because they’re high in fat, they should be eaten in moderation. Managing stress and exercising regularly are two other "natural" ways to control your cholesterol levels.
Larry Scherwitz, PhD, and Deborah Kesten, MPH, are international lifestyle and health researchers and Certified Wellness and Cardiac coaches. They also are the award-winning authors of Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul, The Healing Secrets of Food, and The Enlightened Diet. Call them at 415.810.7874, or visit them at www.Enlightened-Diet.com to take their FREE What’s Your Eating Style? Quiz, and to learn more about their Whole Person Nutrition Program for wellness, weight loss, coaching, and books.