Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: good cholesterol

Sugar increases risk of heart disease

The Link Between Sugar and Heart Disease

21-day sugar detoxWe now know that fat does not cause heart disease. So where does the sugar connection come in?

It all comes down to insulin, the hormone released when your blood sugar rises. When you have a meal, insulin normally sends a signal to your liver not to release fats into your bloodstream because your body is dealing with fat from the meal.

However, if you are living on that roller coaster of blood sugar swings, too much insulin is being released too often and your liver then ignores the message about not releasing fats and releases triglycerides (stored fats) into your bloodstream.  These triglycerides are contained in VLDLs (very low density lipoproteins), which are usually rendered harmless by enzymes in your blood. But the enzymes at that moment are dealing with the fat from your food so the VLDLs can end up forming plaque on your artery walls.

In 2009, the American Heart Association published a scientific statement in their journal Circulation entitled ‘Dietary sugar intake and cardiovascular health’ in which they expressed concern that sugar and refined carbohydrates can increase triglycerides (a known risk factor for heart disease) while lowering levels of HDL (‘good’ cholesterol’).

21 day sugar detox

Tips for Combating Constipation

psyllium_huskPsyllium husks are commonly used as a bowel cleanser or laxative because they are both high in fibre and mucilage, a thick, gluey substance produced by nearly all plants.

When mixed with water — drink immediately — the psyllium husks swell and form a gelatinous mass that keeps faeces hydrated and soft. It’s very important, however, to ensure that you drink sufficient water at the same time.

Another benefit of psyllium husks is that they have been found to lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, without affecting the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol.

If you suffer from irregular bowel movements, do make sure that you drink plenty of water, because dehydration can cause constipation. In the same vein, avoid dehydrating drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol.

Do try to exercise regularly. Anything from yoga, Pilates, swimming or a brisk walk around the block for 20 to 30 minutes per day may help.

Are Pulses Better Than Statins?

PulsesThe British Heart Foundation reports that annual statin prescriptions in England soared from 295,000 to 52 million between 1981 and 2008 with around seven million people in the UK now taking prescribed statins.

However, there are natural alternatives. According to researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, just eating one helping of pulses a day — like beans, lentils and chickpeas — is all you need to do to keep your cholesterol levels in check.

Just 130g of pulses ‘significantly’ reduce levels of LDL (‘bad’) cholesterol which equals around a five to six per cent reduction in the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Even better news is that these versatile, tasty and healthy foods are inexpensive, too!

Obviously you would not stop any medication without speaking to your doctor first…

Why high cholesterol foods are good for you

ShellfishCHOLESTEROL is a type of fat that exists in all our cell membranes. It is vital for functions such as nerve transmission, the formation of vitamin D and the formation of bile. Approximately 80 percent of cholesterol is produced in your liver, with the other 20 percent coming from diet.

Cholesterol is only found in animal products and not in vegetable oils such as avocado or olive. Shellfish, for example, contain very little fat, but high levels of cholesterol, while nut butters are high in fat and low in cholesterol.

Cholesterol myths

From recent research we now know the cholesterol in the food we eat is not a problem and has very little impact on your cholesterol levels. In fact, why high cholesterol foods are good for you is because the less cholesterol you get from foods, the more your body makes. Your body makes around one to two grams of cholesterol every day, which is five to ten times the cholesterol found in one egg.

When you eat more cholesterol from foods such as shellfish or eggs, your body produces less of it. The less cholesterol you eat – the more your body makes.

Cholesterol has to travel in the bloodstream and, in order to do so, is combined with a protein to create a lipoprotein, of which there are two main types: LDL – sometimes call ‘bad’, which carry cholesterol to the artery wall, and HDL – often called ‘good’, which helps to return cholesterol to the liver. High LDL causes damaged and inflamed arterial walls, also depositing saturated fats and calcium, called arterial plaque or atheroma. The balance of these two lipoproteins in the blood is more important that the total cholesterol.

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