Thoughtful Thursday…Improve cholesterol numbers and lower inflammation with lifestyle and nutrition…


Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday. This GreenNote Fitness newsletter mindfully gathers and distills useful information that is supportive to our journey. It is my mission to educate, inspire, and propel you into action that moves you towards your goals and life of purpose. Take control of your journey today.

Heathy Couple

Last week’s newsletter was a deep-dive into the complexity of cholesterol, its vital role in our existence, and an understanding of inflammation and its contribution of wrecking havoc on one’s health. You can read it here, Thoughtful Thursday…4 things you need to know about cholesterol…. This newsletter contains helpful resources from medical doctors. Additionally, I’m recommending another article that does a fantastic job of succinctly and understandably explaining cholesterol and inflammation. You can read Dr. Jocker’s article, High Cholesterol on a Ketogenic Diet here.

Vital to our health is managing inflammation. The Harvard Heart Letter, Targeting inflammation: A missing link in heart treatments, explains that chronic inflammation is important to heart health because it plays a pivotal role in the development of atherosclerosis. Research suggest that among people with normal cholesterol, those with increased CRP (C-Reactive Protein) levels have several times the risk of heart problems compared with those who have low CRP.

Some measures of inflammation at a glance:

  • Fasting glucose

  • Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c)

  • Fasting insulin

  • C Reactive Protein (CRP-Hs)

For more information on determining the inflammation levels going on in your body, check out this article, Top 5 Blood Tests for Inflammation.

Now that we know which inflammation markers to look for, what steps can we take to combat heart disease? To be a healthy and thriving human beings on this planet, we come back again and again to what? A healthy lifestyle!

  • Eat an anti-inflammatory diet (take out processed carbohydrates, sugars, processed meats and limit alcohol)

  • Include magnesium and B Vitamin rich foods: this will help to relax blood vessel walls. The best magnesium rich foods include dark green leafy vegetables, grass-fed dairy, raw cacao, and pumpkin seeds. I also use magnesium lotion.

  • Manage stress (have you started your meditation practice? Breath-work? Gratitude? Yoga? Being in nature?)

  • High amounts of stress may lead to higher cortisol levels and an increase in appetite

  • Movement practice (not just 60 minutes at the gym but movement throughout the day)

  • Improve sleep quality

  • Optimize your Vitamin D levels: Low vitamin D levels are strongly associated with cardiovascular disease. It is important to get regular sun exposure and supplement with a high quality vitamin D3 to get your Vitamin D blood levels between 50-80 ng/ml. Dr. Jocker recommends taking a Vitamin D3 with K2 as vitamin K2 is extremely important for reducing calcium build-up in the vascular system.

  • Improve your mitochondria - the mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of every cell. When someone has heart disease or an abundance of small-dense lipoproteins and triglycerides they have dysfunctional activity going on in the mitochondria.

What if you just wanted to focus on improving numbers on a cholesterol test? Dave Asprey has written an article, High Cholesterol, Saturated Fats and Low-carb Diets: What You Need to Know, that addresses this question. Here is an excerpt:

  • Genes, lifestyle, and insulin resistance influence how you metabolize dietary fat, so people with identical diets can have different cholesterol numbers.

  • If you have “high cholesterol” you need to know your inflammation markers, ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol, cholesterol particle count, and triglycerides before you’ll have a real picture of your risk of CVD (Cardiovascular Disease).

  • If your doctor tries to put you on mitochondria-damaging statin drugs based on total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol alone, find a better doctor.

  • If you’ve had a recent injury or infection, your cholesterol levels will jump temporarily.

A summary of the steps Asprey suggests to improve cholesterol numbers include:

  • Reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates including fructose, sugar, bread, pasta, bagels

  • Eat moderate high-quality protein (do not eat processed meats)

  • Lose weight - this can reduce high LDL-P and small, dense LDL particles. Effective way to do this? Cut carbs

  • Intermittent fasting (IF) - a powerful way to increase your body’s energy production, fixing insulin resistance, and losing weight. IF can also reduce the small, dense LDL particles. IF will also contribute to a drop in triglycerides, up to 32%

Asprey also mentions the tests he pays attention to: I pay the most attention to three inflammation markers — lp-PLA2, CRP, and homocysteine — because if anything in my lifestyle or diet is causing inflammation, it will show up there.

Summary:

Living a healthy lifestyle is paramount to reducing our risks of poor health, including heart disease. Carbohydrate consumption must be contained as it plays a role in weight gain and inflammation. High amounts of inflammation are associated with higher risk for heart issues. Blood tests are available to measure inflammation.

Lastly, what you put into your body and mind matters. Start with paying attention to what those things are and make a choice to do one thing that will be of service for you. Do it today.

Enjoy your journey,

Lisa Schaffer

GreenNote Fitness

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