Good Nutrition Advice

For a healthy body and mind

Tag: LDL

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

Cinnamon hope for type II diabetes

cinnamon and type 2 diabetesA recent review published online in The Annals of Family Medicine has revealed that patients with Type II diabetes showed improved blood glucose and cholesterol levels when they took cinnamon in a pill form.

The researchers examined data from 10 randomised, controlled trials involving 543 patients with type 2 diabetes, comparing patients who took cinnamon supplements with those who didn’t.

Results showed that Type II diabetes patients who took cinnamon supplements had lower blood sugar fasting levels compared to patients who did not take them.  Their levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels dropped, and HDL (good) cholesterol levels rose.

The participants in all 10 trials took the cinnamon supplements in addition to their diabetes medicine — a combination that lowered their fasting blood sugar levels by approximately 25 milligrams/deciliter.

From aching muscles to digestive disorders

Cinnamon also contains anti-inflammatory properties that may be helpful for pain and stiffness in muscles, joints and for menstrual problems. In Oriental medicine it is used as a digestive tonic and helps soothe the abdominal region, relieving gas, nausea and diarrhea. Animal studies have shown it is a carminative, or gas reliever. Also, catechins, compounds found in cinnamon, help relieve nausea.

Cinnamon is also regarded as an aphrodisiac and anti-fungal agent and calms the nerves. Taken as a tea, it can help people suffering rheumatism from exposure to cold weather.

A word of caution…

Cinnamon also has an anti-blood-clotting effect, so care should be taken if it is being used in combination with other blood-thinning medications. Large quantities should also be avoided during pregnancy as it may have adverse effects on the uterus.

References: Cinnamon Use in Type 2 Diabetes: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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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