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High Cholesterol Message Board

High Cholesterol Board Index

[QUOTE=easygoingguy;4990514]I think your test is ok even though you had coffee. Your CH of 268 is high. Are you eating meat & dairy often? I can't imagine what could make it that high except diet.

You say you need a lot of calories to "put on muscle", and since meat/dairy is a source of high calories, it would give you the calories to do so but also at a great risk of heart health that I don't think is worth it. You can body build and have low cholesterol at the same time. Research vegetarian/vegan body building.

"I'm wondering if more cardiovascular exercise and more vegetables will do the trick?"

Exercise will have no effect on cholesterol if diet is still rich in saturated fats. And YES, a diet of more vegetables will lower cholesterol- if it's replacing those animal/dairy foods. But the veggies need to be the most nutrient-dense (kale, spinach, etc). Also, foods high in omega 3's are very beneficial.

About cholesterol and statins. What I've learned. If you want the most healthy arteries the goal is to have a total cholesterol of 150 or lower. Research (Frammington, China Study) into cultures that have this low of a CH finds they have almost non-existent heart disease. The people in these cultures have almost zero heart attacks. This shows they had little or no heart disease.

So anyone can have healthy arteries and reduce heart attack risk to near zero chance with a cholesterol of 150 or lower. That's great news. But there is ONE catch:

The CH of 150 or lower must be achieved only with diet, not drugs. Otherwise the profound heart health benefits are not fully achieved. Statins can lower cholesterol, but if diet is still unhealthy, then heart disease still progresses, and up to 30% of those on statins still have heart attacks (because of poor diet). And statins long term increase risk of diabetes. Desired optimal heart health can only be 'earned' through diet. So even if you take statins, you need to still eat healthy anyway, which will lower CH anyway to healthy levels, so then you don't really need statins. Statins give people the excuse to not eat healthy as they should. I hear the excuse that since people are not going to eat healthy anyway, it's better to take statins than not. I think if people fully understood the benefits of healthy eating vrs side effects and dangers of drugs, most would change to eating healthy.

Last year I was eating lots of high fat foods like beef and dairy. I was 40 lbs over weight. My blood pressure was very high. (by the way what is your resting BP?) My cholesterol was 167. Which is not bad. But my HDL was too low. But I wanted to get to that ideal 150 range. I did not take a statin. Instead I changed my diet to whole foods, and 10% lean meats. I went from eating lots of beef, potatoes, dairy, sweet desserts to salads, leafy greens, veggies, beans, brown rice, nuts and seeds, omega 3 supplements, etc.

I lost 40 lbs and now in my healthy weight. My BP came way down. I took another blood test 4 months later. My total cholesterol was now 154!! That's the IDEAL heart attack free zone range! My HDL is normal too now.

I can't begin to tell how happy I am that I did this just from healthy eating! I exercise maybe just 30 minutes a day, usually just walking! It's healthy DIET that produces optimal health, not meds, not exercise alone! In fact, I think that exercise can make health worse if diet is poor. I explain

Besides your cholesterol levels there is another very important factor to understand- inflammation of the arteries. I think this is even MORE important then cholesterol levels. When arteries are inflamed this means the cells lining the interior of the arteries are damaged/stressed. Not unlike if you rub your arm for 10 minutes- your arm skin cells will become inflamed. The same thing happens inside your arteries when diet is poor- such as diet of fried/processed, high in fats, sugar, salts, etc. This poor diet causes inflammation of the artery cells. The body then uses cholesterol as a 'band-aid' to start the healing process of those cells. But if the poor diet continues- the cells never heal, so more cholesterol is added. Eventually the plaque builds up and breaks and causes a blockage and then heart attack.

So it's not cholesterol that's bad, it's inflammation, which is caused by the poor diet. Now you can understand that exercise alone might not help fight inflammation, and might make it worse! Once inflammation is stopped, then exercise helps healing process.

Each food has an inflammation factor- for example fried and processed foods like chips, potato chips have a high inflammation, like:

ice cream
french fries
any fried foods
farmed fish
granola bars

are all highly inflammatory. It's now known that eating this type of poor diet causes heart disease (the inflammation-cholesterol repair- plaque buildup process). And I think exercise actually makes inflammation worse!

A diet in whole foods with emphasis on nutrient-dense veggies and fruits stop the inflammation of the artery cells. And then can even reverse cholesterol/plaque buildup.

Foods with a high anti-inflammatory rating:
spices like garlic, ginger, tumeric
acerola juice
wild salmon, tuna
spinach, kale, mustard greens, collards
sweet potato

These foods above are the very highest in anti-inflammatory factor and now you can understand why they are so beneficial to artery health! They protect the artery cells from damage/stress. They should be consumed daily.

Once a healthy diet is adopted, high in anti-inflammatory nutrient-dense whole foods, then body vitals become normal and natural. ALL metabolic factors (cholesterol, insulin, blood pressure, etc) will return to normal ranges. Amazingly achieved with healthy diet! Not exercise. Not meds. You won't need Dr's, meds, stents, hospital visits, by-pass, etc!

You can check your inflammation level with a high sensitivity CRP test (blood sample) for about $50. A level <1 indicates little risk of heart disease. A 1-2 indicates moderate risk. A 3> indicates higher risk.

I took the CRP test too. My CH was great at 154. I had no idea what my level would be. I was shocked. Changing to a healthy diet really improves health. My CRP was 0.7!

Hope this helps. Hope you get your CH under control. I've found this to be a very helpful forum.[/QUOTE]

First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to respond.

You are correct, I do eat meat pretty often; it is part of almost every meal of the day. I do not eat red meat every day, so the meat I eat usually consists of chicken (I would say roughly 10lbs. a month), but I do occasionally (maybe once or twice a month) have pork loin boneless (and trimmed) ribs (with a homemade dry rub; no sauce). As far as red meat goes, in a typical month I may have a total of 4 – 6 steaks (New York strip) – I’m not sure if this helps, but they are “Level 1” steaks from Whole Foods, so the cows are grass fed most of their lives – and I may have 8 – 10 grass fed 90/10 beef hamburgers (Level 4 @ Whole Foods; I heard that grass fed and/or pasture raised beef is lower in saturated fat, and higher in Omegas).

All the other stuff you mentioned: I am not a big sweets person (no ice cream, no cupcakes, etc.), I don’t eat fried foods, however, I do eat French fries (not fried, baked in the oven) …

I know my biggest problem is that I don’t eat enough vegetables. I do go through phases where for about a week I will eat broccoli with at least one meal, or I will have a salad with dinner, but I definitely don’t eat as many raw vegetables as I should.

Something you are absolutely correct about is that I need to do cardio. I like lifting weights, but I hate cardio! I will also, as you suggested, more closely monitor my diet and increase my consumption of raw vegetables. Do you think taking a supplement, like a Green Superfood supplement would give me the things I am missing by not eating enough vegetables?

As for my resting BP, I have no idea. They did check my heart rate, pulse, liver function, thyroid, testosterone levels, kidneys function, vitamin d, and vitamin b12 levels, and they said everything was good. When the nurse took my blood pressure, she said it was “great” – Note: she said this before they did my cholesterol test, so “great” meant for a “normal” person, not someone with high cholesterol (if high cholesterol even impacts blood pressure).

The last thing I wanted to comment on is the foods that have anti-inflammatory properties: I eat a lot of spicy stuff. As a matter of fact, anytime I eat a steak, burger, vegetarian Italian sausage, or anything that goes good with heat, I either eat jalapenos or I put habanero sauce on it (Dave’s Insanity or Ghost Pepper sauce, Melinda’s Naga Jolokia, or Blair’s Mega Death!), so hopefully this will help me get back on track!

In regards to anti-inflammatory things, I am on a prescription for Naproxen for slight tendinitis in one of my biceps. As far as you know, does Naproxen provide the same anti-inflammatory benefits as the things you listed? If so, I will definitely be refilling that!

Again, thank you for taking the time to respond, and I appreciate the detailed and thought provoking post.


p.s. Congratulations on getting your situation under control. I hope I have the same success.

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