In this episode, we discuss cholesterol, an area where mainstream medicine may be a little behind. This is an area where you have to advocate for yourself. Many doctors are quick to put someone with high LDL on a statin. The corollary advice is to pass over foods high in cholesterol or saturated fats, and that’s not current either.
You can’t simply look at LDL, you need to look at HDL and triglycerides. We use the ratio of Triglycerides to HDL. Ideally, this ratio is less than 1:1. Greater than 2:1is an indicator of risk.
We must stress: you need to request the right tests from your doctor. You must ask your doctor to do a particle size test. Other cholesterol tests are outdated. A regular test won’t reveal particle size. The tests are either an NMR Lipid Panel from LabCorp or the Cardio IQ Test from Quest Diagnostics—they are the only way to know what’s really going on with your cholesterol.
For particles- the big particles are safe and not a source for concern. If you have lots of small particles, those can really harm your arteries.
We also like to see C-reactive protein (an indicator of inflammation) and hemoglobin A1C
Dietary and lifestyle recommendations
So what do you do if you want to improve your cholesterol? It’s encouraging that 80% of cases of heart disease and diabetes may actually be preventable with diet and lifestyle. Even losing as little as 10 pounds can be enough to improve your cholesterol levels. In one study, people who lost at least 5% of their weight significantly reduced their levels of LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. On top of that, 150 min of exercise increases HDL (or what we call “happy cholesterol.”)
You should also consider adding these foods to your diet:
On the other hand, you might want to avoid these:
- Seed oils/unhealthy fats: cottonseed, corn, canola, soy, safflower
- Sunflower oils contain high amounts of omega-6, a fat that is considered a danger when it comes to heart disease, highly inflammatory
- Refined carbohydrate intake is also associated with a higher risk of heart disease
We hope this is eye-opening for you. There’s a lot of false and outdated information out there, so make sure you’re getting it right when it comes to cholesterol.