Cholesterol, a vital component of our body but falsely perceived! Have you always believed to the common idea of “the lower, the healthier” in regards to cholesterol levels? Well, the next time your physician says that and wants to put you on statins, tell him that he is wrong! It is time to overcome this cholesterol myth!
The cholesterol-lowering hysteria started in the mid-80s when it has been identified as risk factor of heart disease, and drugs companies to profit from the huge market of statins, amplified that hysteria with national awareness campaign spreading the mantra of “lower your cholesterol to avoid heart attack and stroke”. Of course millions of people fell in that scheme – nobody wants to die of sudden death.
Is cholesterol really dangerous? The answer is NO! It is produced by the liver, then travels in the circulatory system performing a variety of essential functions. It contributes greatly in the manufacture of primary human hormones for instance testosterone and estrogen, the synthesis of vitamin D, the creation and maintenance of cell membranes. All these functions are definitely vital for overall health.
Can high cholesterol cause heart attack? The answer is not a straight YES! Excessive LDL cholesterol levels in addition to calcium and other particles can build up in plaque that may obstruct arteries inhibiting the blood flow that may result in heart attack. But, cholesterol is only one of the many factors that can contribute to heart disease. These are some of the other culprits: hypertension, smoking, diabetic issues, alcohol, caffeine or drug abuse, stress, some OTC and prescription medications. In fact, many people die of heart attack while having normal cholesterol levels.
Should you take medication to lower your cholesterol levels? The answer is NO, NO and NO. Even though these cholesterol-lowering drugs “could possibly reduce” heart attacks or strokes risks, this obsession with cholesterol reduction absolutely disregards the negative effects that can arise with low cholesterol on our health, especially mental health.
Research studies have established a link between low cholesterol and depression along with many impulsive actions such as brutality and suicide.
– In 1993, a scientific study on men of 70 years old and more, unconditionally revealed that depression was 3 times more prevalent in men with low total serum cholesterol compared with the group with high levels.
– Another study on men of 40 to 70 years old revealed that the group with low total cholesterol in long-term have an increased occurrence of depressive symptoms than men with higher levels of cholesterol.
– Women also are not spared from depression when they have low cholesterol levels. This has been proved by a Swedish research including 300 women of 31 to 65 years old, all in good health. The study determined that women that have the lowest cholesterol experienced considerably more depressive symptoms compared to the others.
Why do I believe in the exactness of these studies? Because I have personally experienced the impacts of low cholesterol on mental health.
Alicia’s sad story in few words
Last year, Alicia, happy wife and mother of two girls, went to her old doctor for her annual physical exam (“old doctor” because after what happened to her, she would be fool to keep him). When she got her lipid panel results, the doctor said her total cholesterol is 225 mg/dl over the recommended level of 200. He put her on statin as prevention to heart disease he said. Few weeks later, her levels started to get down and the doctor was happy! “Keep on taking your medication and let get your cholesterol low”, he said. But, while she was following the treatment, her mood was declining. Anxiety, depression and violent behaviors follow. Her work was affected, so was her marriage and her relationship with her kids. Thankfully, her husband was patient, strong and lovely enough to support her in that awful period. For the first time of her life, Alicia went to a psychologist. Fortunately, he was clever enough, after evaluating many aspects of her life, to ask if she was taking any sort of medication and especially a cholesterol-lowering medication! “YES! What’s wrong with that? She said. Alicia was totally shocked to hear the truth. Today, she is recovering slowly and feeling better since she has stopped taking these poisons.
In conclusion, what to do when you have high cholesterol? How to get it back to normal levels? First of all, don’t be obsessed with that! Simply, follow a healthier diet like this low cholesterol diet in 15 steps by CholesterolMenu.com, avoiding processed foods loaded with trans fats and eating more fruits, veggies, omega-3 rich fish and whole grains. Exercise more on a regular basis, limit alcohol and stop smoking.
Meats have to be seared on the stove top first, to seal juices in. To sear the meat, add a small amount of oil to a large nonstick skillet, and heat over medium high heat. Fry small amounts of meat at a time, otherwise the meat will boil instead of frying. Spray the inside of the cooker with cooking spray before adding your ingredients. This makes clean-up easier. Vegetables should also be seared with herbs and spices before adding to the cooker.
To intensify the flavor of your dish, deglaze your skillet with wine or broth. Pour a small amount of liquid into the pan and stir. Scrap the bottom of the pan to get all the pieces of meat left behind. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one to two minutes. Afterwards, pour the liquid into the pressure cooker.
There’s no need to add a lot of liquid to your cooker. A lot of juice accumulates in the cooker, anyway. When you cook meat at a low temperature, the juice doesn’t evaporate like it does on the top of the stove. The steam can’t escape the pressure cooker, so it builds up under the lid, and then drips back into the pot. That’s why most pressure cooker recipes require less liquid than traditional recipes. If there’s too much liquid in the cooker, transfer the liquid to a sauce pan and reduce it.
To utilize the full capability of the pressure cooker to cook, you have to own a best pressure cooker. My favorite, the Cuisinart pressure cooker, has four programmable times, including “warm for 24 hours.” The cooker heats up to 300 degrees, and you can sear meat in it. The machine functions as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, stove top and oven. You don’t have to use a separate skillet to sear meat. Sear your ingredients, before placing it into the pressure cooker. This pressure cooker automatically keeps food warm, until it’s time to eat.
Meals cook for several hours. Most meats are cooked for seven to eight hours. The temperature should be set on high for the first hour, and then turned down until you’re ready to eat. Always cook with the lid on. Most cookers have a glass lid to trap heat, as it rises, and turn it into steam. If you remove the lid, a lot of heat will be lost. Of course, remove the cover to stir and check for doneness. If you’re cooking with root vegetables, like potatoes or turnips, you should cut them into even-sized cubes. Place them close to the sides and bottom of the cooker.
One of the things recommended is that you check the food in the pressure cooker after it has cooked for the minimum amount of time. For example, if the recipe calls for 4 to 8 hours, check the food after four. You will soon learn the way your Cuisinart pressure cooker works and can adjust the time accordingly.
There are recipes however that call for the food to be cooked at one temperature, not a fluctuation. This is especially important if you are cooking appetizers and desserts, where if you cook them at the wrong temperature or to long the food could be ruined. If you are cooking stew meat or a tougher meat, it is best to cook at the lowest temperature so that the food can soften gradually as it cooks.
There are a few safety tips that you will want to use as well:
- Always use fresh meat and poultry that has been completely thawed. If not it will take longer for the meat to reach the temperature where it kills bacteria.
- Thaw vegetables in the fridge overnight before you add them to the pressure cooker as well.
- Store meat and vegetables in separate places in the fridge, not together.
- Use a meat thermometer when cooking a whole chicken or roast to ensure the correct temperature is reached, usually 77 degrees.
- Try to never remove the lid during cooking. This slows down the cooking process by about 20 minutes every time.
- Do not put raw meat in the crock pot overnight to cook later.
- Place food in the fridge as soon as possible after cooking.
- Do not heat in the crock pot after cooking, use the stove, oven or microwave instead.
Alcohol can have a double effect on cholesterol levels. On one hand, it can be beneficial by increasing the good or HDL cholesterol. On the other, it may be harmful by increasing the bad cholesterol or LDL. How does alcohol affect cholesterol levels, depends on its high or moderate intake. Thus, excessive alcohol consumption can cause hypercholesterolemia.
According to several studies moderate drinking, especially red wine helps increase HDL or good cholesterol, thanks to its phenolics and tannins components. Thus, red wine is considered as cardio-protective. But what happens when alcohol consumption is excessive?, how it relates to the process of hypercholesterolemia?
LDL cholesterol associated with high alcohol intake
Alcohol is metabolized in the liver, the solid organ in the abdomen responsible for metabolizing fats also. When drinking is excessive the enzymes that metabolize fats must fulfill another function, responsible for the metabolism of excess alcohol. That leads to a greater concentration of fat in the liver and therefore an increase in bad cholesterol or LDL and triglycerides also.
If excessive alcohol intake is maintained over time, it can produce a liver inflammation and later fatty liver and cirrhosis.
Furthermore, the excess alcohol, increases the risk of formation of atheroma due to very high LDL cholesterol levels. It triggers as well as an increase in heart size with loss in muscle tone, which brings about an alcoholic cardiomyopathy.
It is therefore essential to drink moderately. It is advised to drink no more than two glasses of red wine per day to achieve the cardio-protective effects of it.
Alcoholism is a social disease that affects not only the sufferer, but also their immediate environment, so if you feel you drink excessively, get immediate help from a specialist. Do it for your health and those around you.
Are you feeling irritable? Do think more slowly than you should? Are you having cardiovascular problems or are you depressed? You may be suffering from the consequences of having a high level of heavy metals in your blood. There are about 12 heavy metals that are dangerous for our health, but the best known are aluminum, lead, mercury, cadmium and arsenic. They are present in contaminated foods, dental fillings, beauty products, cigarette, the atmosphere due to air pollution, etc.
How do heavy metals affect health
– By neurological disorders: such as attention deficit, autism, memory loss, anxiety, bipolar disorder or developmental delay due to the toxicity produced by heavy metals.
– In recurrent infections: heavy metals trigger infection and chronic diseases such as cancer by depriving the body of nutrients and important vitamins like zinc, weakening the immune system.
– Heart problems, hypertension: studies reveal that when you have a high blood lead level, blood clots occur in arteries causing blood pressure to rise excessively. Mercury meanwhile, is a heavy metal that causes cardiac arrhythmia.
– Sensitivity to electromagnetic fields: when cells contain heavy metals, they attract and increase the electrical frequencies, such as those produced by electrical appliances, which makes it easier to occur and develop symptoms of sensitivity to electromagnetic fields.
– Other symptoms: headaches, a low body temperature, sensitivity to products such as perfumes, paints or metallic taste in the mouth.
Detoxifying the body naturally
With no negative effect, zeolite is one of the best ways to detoxify our body of heavy metals thanks to its great magnetic attributes.
Spirulina and Chlorella
These algae attract heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium and prevent their absorption by the body.
Consuming coriander helps the expulsion of heavy metals through urine. It is efficient in mercury detox and in removing lead and aluminum. You can make a detoxifying tea by pouring into one liter of water 8 teaspoons of chopped cilantro, to be taken daily for 2 or 3 months.
There are other natural foods and supplements efficient in heavy metal detox. Get the complete guide here.
The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus. The uterus is a hollow organ, pear-shaped, which is located in women lower abdomen, between the bladder and rectum. It is where the fetus develops and grows. The cervix forms a channel that opens into the vagina, which leads out of the body. The lining of the cervix is continuous with the vagina and is called ectocervix, while the covering cervical canal or duct, which leads to uterine cavity is called endocervix. Most tumors occur in the junction of the endocervix with ectocervix. Cervical cancer develops when normal cells in the cervix begin to change and grow uncontrollably. Most cervical cancers are squamous cell carcinomas; they are named for the type of cells where it originated. Cervical cancer occurs most often in women between 40 and 55 years old. At this age, many women affected have family and work commitments, so its impact on society is not negligible.
Most women have no signs or symptoms when having pre-cancers or in the early stages of cervical cancer disorders. Cervical cancer symptoms usually do not appear until the cancer has invaded other tissues or organs.
It may have the following symptoms:
– Spotting or light bleeding between menstruation and menstruation or after it.
– longer and heavier than usual menstrual bleeding
– bleeding after intercourse or during the pelvic examination by the doctor.
– Pain during intercourse
– Bleeding after menopause (postmenopausal uterine bleeding).
– Increased vaginal discharge
When these symptoms appear, we must pay attention as those resemble to less serious diseases. Early diagnosis, especially in the precancerous stage, improves the chances of cure. If any of these symptoms occur, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.
Globally, the areas of highest incidence and mortality are for the least developed countries: Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia. The most economically developed countries have a lower incidence.
The HPV virus, which follows the route of sexual transmission is the main causal agent.
Through the combined effect of screening along with treatment from the earliest stages of the disease, mortality from cervical cancer has declined significantly over the last fifty years in developed countries.
The five-year survival (percentage of women who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) for all stages of cervical cancer is 71%. When detected at an early stage, invasive cervical cancer has a five-year survival of 92%.
Heart disease affects 82 million people in the United States, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) with about 2,200 people that die each day in the country from cardiovascular diseases, reveals the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, because there is accumulated fat in the arteries, causing cell death, indicating the National Library of Medicine (NLM). There are many causes and risk factors as smoking, sedentary, and having a diet high in calories, sodium and saturated fat. Therefore, it is necessary to educate people for adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting them aware that heart disease is highly preventable. A good start to care for your heart is by following a healthy diet. To do so, it is important to know what foods you can reduce or avoid.
To get an optimum heart health, adult’s diet must feature no more than 2,000 calories, less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium, less than 16 grams of saturated fat and 300 milligrams of cholesterol (check the list of top high cholesterol foods). Any burger chain triple these numbers.
The AHA recommends it aside. Bacon is a high fat and high cholesterol food that is mostly made from pork belly and the fatback (a fatty pork back cut). A half pound is made of 84 percent fat and has too many calories (over 1000) and lots of salt while having few nutrients.
3. Industrial Sandwiches
Preparations in chains or supermarkets are often unhealthy. And sausages are the worst option for the heart: pure fat and salt. The AHA suggests choosing deli sandwiches with vegetables. Tomato, lettuce and onion, of course, are always welcome.
The problem with donuts is not only their high caloric content, but also their high content of “trans” fats, which are the top high cholesterol culprit and very detrimental to good blood flow. 75 percent of “trans” fats we consume come from commercial bakery products.
5. Industrial Fries
Like donuts, French fries from chain restaurants have much trans fats, which harm heart health. And again, salt, the other enemy appears: a median portion of a fast food chain can contain up to 1,200 milligrams.
6. Sweet Snacks
They are the number one enemy for your weight. To replace them, the AHA recommends: fruits, carrots and celery in pieces that are easy to eat and to get a good sense of satiety. And do not forget raisins, a sweet and healthy alternative to sugary and unhealthy snacks.