FEBRUARY IS HEART MONTH!
FEBRUARY IS HEART MONTH!
February is heart month and as heart disease rates are on the rise, we find ourselves asking what we can do. If you have been told you need to lower your cholesterol, you may want to ask more questions! Cholesterol may not be the greatest marker of true cardiovascular risk, and lower cholesterol is not always better!
Elevated cholesterol may not be a bad thing?
Right! Research tells us that Lipoprotein particle size is a bigger focus than our overall number of particles. The small dense particles are more prone to oxidation and therefore plaque. Cholesterol is a necessary fat for producing hormones (serotonin, testosterone, Co-enzyme Q10), vitamin D, and bile. The production of cholesterol by the body is an essential component to several biological processes. It is true that Cholesterol is made in larger amounts following an injury to the vessel, in which case it acts like a band aid to the body, and can lead to plaque.
What should people focus on to prevent heart attack and stroke, if not on lowering cholesterol?
We need to switch our focus to lowering inflammation. This includes avoiding processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats in the diet and focusing on anti-infammatory and anti-oxidant rich foods instead as well as dealing with stress!
What foods should people avoid?
It is important to avoid trans fats and fried foods. Trans fat is formed through an industrial process that adds hydrogen to vegetable oil, which causes the oil to become solid at room temperature.Trans fats contribute towards cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer. In the United States if a food has less than 0.5 grams of trans fat in a serving, the food label can read 0 grams trans fat. This hidden trans fat can add up quickly, especially if you eat several servings of multiple foods containing less than 0.5 grams a serving. Be sure to look on labels for partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Since inflammation is the root cause of high cholesterol, what foods can help fight inflammation?
1. Think rich red and purple food for a healthy heart!
The purple pigment anthocyanins aids in reducing the risk of arteries to harden and improve overall blood flow. After 24 weeks of consuming 320 milligrams per day of anthocyanins — found in berries and grapes – study participants found a 12% to 22% reduction In harmful inflammatory compounds.
2. Increase use of anti-inflammatory your herbs and spices!
Herbs and spices are some of the most nutrient dense and medicinal foods on the planet. Ginger and turmeric work to fight inflammation while rosemary is a potent antioxidant.
3. Replace sugar with fat!
A misguided shift to low-fat diets has ended up with excessive sugar and we now know even carbohydrate foods without added sugar such as rice and bread can have unfavorable impacts on risk for CVD and obesity.
4. Replace processed fats with whole foods fats
Butter has CLAs, vitamin A, D, E K, minerals, and beneficial fatty acids while margarine is made from trans fats! known to increase blood levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol. Not only that, it also lowers levels of HDL or good cholesterol. Studies have found trans fat to cause heart disease, Type II diabetes and other more severe health problems. Trans fat is also the culprit as to clogged arteries.
5. Boost anti-inflammatory support and keep vessels lubricated with omega-3s
Wild caught fish, pasture-raised egg yolks, and moderate amounts from leafy greens, flax seeds, chia seeds, aid to reduce inflammation in the vessels and maintain vessel elasticity.
Want to do even more for your heart? Check out our Heart Health Meal Plan today!