The Cholesterol + Diabetes Connection, Natural Ways to Tackle Both
February is American Heart Health Month; a good time to raise awareness and remind us of various heart related conditions that connect to other disease.
Many of my clients initially come to me with blood sugar and hormone issues that their ready to work on and some have also been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Their often surprised how these two diagnoses, diabetes and high cholesterol are connected.
Cholesterol, diabetes and even high blood pressure all stem from the same lifestyle and eating habits and with some genetics play a part. When you consume to many carbohydrates that turn into sugar your body simply can't keep up. Chronic stress and inflammation happen, symptoms pop up and all this can create this viscous cycle of disease.
These underlying symptoms are a good thing, a warning sign. When you feel tired and can't lose weight your body is telling you, "Something isn't right, pay attention to me"...
All these symptoms and diagnoses point to the same thing - sugar.
Excess sugar leads to inflammation, hormone imbalances, insulin resistance, poor sleep, low energy, weight gain, etc. This is by no means a blame game or time to feel guilty about choices you make, look at it as a window looking into where you're at now and what needs to change.
"When you eat too much sugar, your liver makes more LDL while lowering the amount of HDL in your body. The extra calorie from a sugary diet also leads to more of something called triglycerides, a type of blood fat that plays a role in your cholesterol health. It forms when you eat more calories than your body needs to burn for energy." Cleveland Clinic
Now for some great news!
The same lifestyle shifts can help women treat or even eliminate many health diagnoses.
Appreciate when this light goes on and your body tells you it's time to make some changes.
When I start working with clients who want to address their symptoms, we begin with her morning routine. Improving hydration, daily movement, balanced diet rich in vegetables, stress reduction and emotional support.
Dr. Mark Hyman, talked about this topic in The Doctors Farmacy Podcast What You Need to Know About Cholesterol Testing and Reducing Risk for Heart Disease. If this resonates with you, take 20 minutes to listen in.
Dr. Mark Hyman touches on the following topics:
What is cholesterol?
The myth around cholesterol and dietary fat.
How lifestyle, environmental influences, and genetics influence cholesterol
Key contributors to heart disease
Tests to determine your risk for cardiovascular disease.
How to lower your risk of heart disease and fix your cholesterol
The benefits, side effects, and risks of taking statin drugs.
If you want to lower cholesterol and better manage your diabetes, diet is key.
Here’s the top foods and nutrients that can naturally tackle both diagnosis:
Cholesterol Reducing Foods:
Omega-3 fats – Foods high in omega-3 fats can help increase HDL cholesterol and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Food’s high in soluble fiber – Soluble fiber binds cholesterol in the digestive system causing it to be excreted by the body. Include fruits, vegetables, sprouted nuts and seeds and other fiber rich foods. Olive oil – Helps raise HDL cholesterol. Garlic and onions – These two cholesterols reducing foods, help lower LDL cholesterol because of their sulfur containing compounds which help cleanse the arteries. Herbs – Add a variety of spices such as basil, rosemary and turmeric to your food which contain antioxidants that are cardio-protective and help lower cholesterol naturally.
The Leanest Cuts of Beef:
1. Sirloin Tip Side Steak. Taken from the sirloin tip or the top of the round.
2. Top Round Steak. Cut from the hip (part of the round) and considered flavorful and more tender than other cuts from the round.
3. Eye of Round Steak. Like the cuts taken from the tenderloin, but tougher and less juicy.
4. Bottom Round Steak.
5. Top Sirloin.
Foods that Raise Cholesterol:
*Avoid these bad cholesterol foods at all costs*
Sugar and refined carbohydrates – Both stimulate the liver to produce more cholesterol and increase inflammation. Alcohol – Also stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol, increasing cholesterol levels and inflammation. A glass of red wine per day may be cardioprotective, but anything more than that will increase your cholesterol. Hydrogenated fats – Vegetable oils are pro-inflammatory and may increase cholesterol. Caffeine – Too much caffeine can increase cholesterol. Limit coffee or tea to no more than 1-2 cups per day. Trans fats – Increases LDL cholesterol, inflammation, and risk of cardiovascular disease.
Top 5 Cholesterol Lowering Natural Remedies:
Taking the right supplements and natural remedies can help lower cholesterol levels if combined with a healthy diet. *Consult with your doctor before supplementing.
Fish Oil (1,000mg – 2,000 mg daily) - EPA and DHA (omega-3 fats) found in fish oil help reduce overall cholesterol levels.
CoQ10 (200-300 mg daily) - If you are on cholesterol lowering medications, take CoQ10 daily because these medications decrease levels of this important enzyme.
Niacin (1,500 mg daily) - Niacin (vitamin B3) reduces LDL cholesterol by 25% and increases good cholesterol by 35%
Red Yeast Rice (1200 mg two times daily) - Reduces cholesterol by up to 32%. Take with CoQ10 to prevent deficiency.
Garlic (500 mg daily) - Increases HDL cholesterol and lowers total cholesterol.
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Exercises to Balance Cholesterol:
Exercise with weight training and burst training can boost HGH (human growth hormone) which can improve HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol.
Bottom line, you are in charge of your health.
If your doctor has mentioned a statin, ask if more tests can be run to dig deeper. The Cardio IQ Advanced Lipid Panel is an advanced cardiovascular diagnostic test that uses spectroscopy to uniquely provide rapid, simultaneous and direct measurement of LDL particle number and size of LDL particles, as well as direct measurement of HDL and VLDL subclasses.
The same principles to help you manage diabetes and keep blood sugar in balance also work to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and help women balance hormones and reach a healthy weight.