Worry Free From Cholesterol
- Tuesday, 01 July 2008
A study of 12-year olds showed a build-up of plaque in their arteries. We already know high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides are associated with many health problems. Maybe now is the time to look at some important information to protect your health and quality of life!
Cholesterol and Triglycerides are a form of fat that moves through the bloodstream to your body's tissues. Triglyceride levels lower than 200 milligrams per deciliter are considered normal. Whenever your LDL ("bad") cholesterol is high, triglycerides may also be high. It isnâ€™t known if an abnormally high triglyceride level, by itself, raises the risk of heart disease. However, many people who have high triglycerides also have high LDL and low HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. This situation suggests a resistance to insulin. Insulin resistance is an underlying cause of obesity, high blood pressure, and also increases the risk of heart disease and adult diabetes.
In the U.S., cholesterol is considered high if it measures above 200. When cholesterol is above 300 it is considered very high and dangerous. To convert to Canadian measurements, divide the U.S. measurement by 38.6 and you get 5.18 and 7.77, respectively.
Over the years I have measured my cholesterol and always found it to be very low - around 100-120 (which is 2.6 on the Canadian scale). My diet consists of 95% raw food. I eat mainly raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives. Once a week I eat some cooked food. I also eat seaweeds three times a week because seaweeds are great for dissolving fat in the body.
We know that cooked fats (heated oils, roasted nuts, cooked fatty meats, fried foods....), cooked carbohydrates, refined sugars, white and refined flours, excess coffee (more than two cups daily, especially after meals) and overeating anything regularly, will over-stimulate insulin production. This, in turn, prompts storage of food in the body as fat.
Regulating your blood sugar is the first thing that needs to be done to lower triglycerides. The higher a food ranks on the glycemic index, the faster it increases glucose in the blood. High glucose levels push up insulin production which, in turn, causes the liver to release more triglycerides into the bloodstream.
The glycemic index ranks glucose at an arbitrary figure of 100. Foods with a glycemic index above 100 raise blood sugar even faster than glucose. Foods ranking over 70 are considered high-glycemic-index foods. Examples of foods high on the glycemic index list include ice cream, alcohol, commercial tobacco, pastries, potatoes (except "new" and sweet potatoes), white bread, and watermelon. Foods that rank as "moderate" (between 55 and 70) include most types of rice, pita bread, popcorn, honey and mangoes. A few low glycemic index foods (ranking below 55) include most beans, vegetables, grapefruit, apples and tomatoes. To balance and normalize your blood sugar, try eating foods low on the glycemic index for a few months.
Although weight is not always an indication, losing extra weight will also help reduce health risks. In addition to lowering your triglycerides, following these recommendations will also help lower high blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. If you have diabetes, I recommend getting your blood sugar under control immediately. Test your cholesterol and triglyceride levels one to three months after following these recommendations and they should be lower.
By the way, foods derived from animals do not cause high cholesterol or triglycerides! The causes of high cholesterol are discussed above. To illustrate my point I'll tell you a little story. I experimented for 1.5 years eating 2 meals per day consisting of organic cream, milk, cheese and fish. My cholesterol before I started was 2.7, or 104 on the U.S. scale. I usually range from 100 to as high as 130. After 1.5 years of eating fish, cream, cheese, etc. I measured my cholesterol and it was 2.6, or 100! My secret was that I ate the animal products raw, not pasteurized or cooked! This supports the assumption that highly refined foods and cooked fats are the culprits, not good quality foods derived from animals.