1) Eat more non-starchy Veggies (greens) and Fruits (berries), more nuts, seeds, avocados, healthy organic fat, and less processed food (e.g., lunch meat, refined vegetable oils, corn syrup, sugar, etc)
2) Eat organic, grass-fed meat, chicken and whole eggs. Organic milk fat and egg yolk are full of healthy nutrients, and much less factory farm toxins. Forget the notion of fat-free when eating organic. Just don’t overeat these calorie-dense foods. Grass-fed, full-fat yogurt beats all in terms of promoting weight loss and providing important fats, protein, minerals, vitamins and probiotic benefits.
3) Reduce total Carbs in the diet. Carbs contribute more to the obesity, diabetes and heart disease than any other food group. If you must, eat whole grain pasta, breads and crackers, steel-cut oats, barley or brown rice, which contain Fiber. Get more soluble fiber (Psyllium, jicama, whole fruits, beans) to lesson the rush of sugar to the blood and feed friendly, detoxifying bacteria. Choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes and eat the skin. Avoid refined carbohydrates like sugar and white flour. Rather, sweeten with a little raw honey, stevia, coconut sugar, etc. Improving cholesterol numbers requires losing weight, especially around the waist, and cutting carbs is the fastest and healthiest way.
4) Cook with unrefined Coconut Oil. Use extra virgin coconut oil for raw dishes, like my chocolate coconut cube recipe (see blog post). Smother salads with extra virgin olive, avocado, or macadamia oil. Don’t overcook or overeat, but don’t be afraid to enjoy healthy oils and fats. They help you absorb important vitamins like D, E, A & K. Take your vitamins along with a fatty meal.
5) Take Fish Oil (and other omega-3 oils, including Krill, algae, walnuts, flax, chia, hemp). Helps reduce triglycerides, which is more important than reducing cholesterol. Cutting carbs also reduces triglycerides. Fish oil may raise LDL slightly, but improves the quality of cholesterol greatly. The problem is damaged (oxidized or rancid) cholesterol, due to a lack of antioxidants in the diet. Some people with high cholesterol are healthy, while over half the people who die from heart attacks have normal cholesterol. Again, it’s not the quantity, but the quality. Fish oil is anti-inflammatory, reduces blood triglycerides, enables blood fat to flow more freely, stabilizes plaque to prevent heart attack and stroke, and helps relax arteries to reduce blood pressure, and improves mood. Make sure to buy the molecularly distilled version of fish oil, because old, rancid fish or cod liver oil can work against you.
6) Take B-Complex. Several B vitamins (niacin, vitamin B12, and pantothenic acid) improve cholesterol health. In human clinical studies, Pantethine (the preferred form of pantothenic acid) reduced LDL significantly (10-20%).
7) Get a Variety of Antioxidants. They keep LDL-cholesterol from oxidizing, and sticking to blood vessels. The best antioxidant foods and supplements are berries, apples, pomegranate, spirulina, spinach, green tea, red wine, dark chocolate, green coffee bean extract. Herbs and spices like turmeric, rosemary and ginger are loaded with wonderful antioxidants. Other important antioxidants include alpha-lipoic acid, grape seed extract, coQ10, etc.
The most important antioxidants are Vitamin C complex (including the bioflavonoids) and Vitamin E complex (tocopherols and tocotrienols). Start the morning by replenishing your B and C vitamins, and get a second dose of them from a high-quality Multivitamin at dinner (not a cheap drugstore multi). Evidence also points to Iodine (from kelp, sea food, and grass-fed dairy) as an important antioxidant to counteract the toxic chlorine, flourine and bromine that contaminate our waters.
8) Use Plant Sterols (like beta-sitosterol) to reduce cholesterol by an average of 10%. These cholesterol-like substances stay in the intestine and attach to the cholesterol from food or in bile, keeping it from getting recycled back into the bloodstream.
9) Take Sytrinol from citrus fruit peel. It reduces levels of bad cholesterol by up to 30% in clinical trials. You can zest foods with orange peel, or buy the supplement to make it easier. Eat almost all the orange (not the juice alone, unless you squeeze it yourself and eat the pulp). Scrape off all the white stuff in the inner peel for antioxidants and fiber, then chop up the peel and add it to drinks, salads, meats, etc. Nothing is lost.
10) Get Chromium and Magnesium: These minerals help improve insulin function, which affects cholesterol and body composition. The best forms for cholesterol health are chelated forms, like magnesium taurate, threonate or citrate and chromium picolinate.
Posted in October 2012. Amended June 2013.