Posts Tagged ‘Cholesterol’

sprouted-nuts-seedsBooster foods are foods containing a high amount of phytonutrients which are needed to protect us from environmental toxins (car fumes, cigarette smoke, water, household cleaners), heavy metal contamination (mercury, lead, aluminum, iron. cadmium) and free radicals which damage our body’s cells.

Below are some of the less known booster foods. Below are some of the lesser known booster foods. Our defenses can be optimized by including the following booster foods in our diet:

Seaweed Vegetables: Algae, kombu/kelp, dulse, arame, wakame contain magnesium, B vitamins, protein, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, and trace minerals including iron, manganese, and iodine. Seaweed vegetables are a chelator (binder) and help the body remove heavy toxic metals. Iodine supports the thyroid. Add while cooking whole grains and soups. Spices – Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, curry, mustard powder, nutmeg. Spices have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-fungal properties. Replace salt with spices to reduce sodium in diet and add a new dimension of flavor to foods.

Nutritional Yeast – A good source of B-complex vitamins, selenium, folic acid, zinc, and chromium. Nutritional yeast is important for red cell production, maintaining the meylin sheath that protects nerve cells, regulates blood sugar, reduces cardiovascular disease, and supports the immune system (Mateljan, 2007).1 Add to soups, casseroles, dips, popcorn, vegetables, and rice to add the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast.

Nuts and Seeds – Nuts and seeds are a powerhouse of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin A, potassium, zinc, calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, and fiber. Walnuts, almonds, ground flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds. Omega-3’s support the prostrate, help with brain function, and reduce inflammation. Vitamin E helps keep our arteries healthy. Lignans can reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Calcium and magnesium improve bone health. Add them to salads, vegetables, hot breakfast cereal, or have a snack.

The recommended serving size for booster foods is 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon. Eating 2-4 servings a day of these power-packed foods will help optimize your health.

1 Mateljan, G. (2007). The World’s Healthiest Foods. Canada: George Mateljan Foundation

2 Bauman, E. (2013). Foundations of Nutrition. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College


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Oyster Mushrooms.JPEGOyster mushrooms are a mild tasting mushroom that grows on the trucks of trees.  This, along with many other mushroom varieties, have many healthy antioxidants that may help to reduce the risk of cancer, improve blood cholesterol, and boost the immune system.[1]

Oyster mushrooms contain complex carbohydrates called polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. They can up-regulate (turn on) the genes which stop tumors from growing and support tumor regression.[2]

Eating oyster mushrooms can lower cholesterol, reduce triglycerides, and have antioxidant properties that fight oxidized LDL. Unique to the oyster mushroom is the lowering cholesterol molecule, lovastatin[3] which inhibits the production of cholesterol.  In a study published in the “Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology” in 2003, rats with high and normal cholesterol were fed oyster mushrooms.  Total cholesterol was reduced 28%, LDL (bad cholesterol) by 55%, triglycerides by 34% and HDL (good cholesterol) increased 21%.

Oyster mushrooms protect cells and build immunity and have antioxidant and antibacterial properties. In addition to being high in B vitamins, the calcium, phosphorus, and iron found in oyster mushrooms is nearly double the amount found in meat.

Foraging your own mushrooms can be deadly if you don’t know what you are doing. Look for mushrooms in the grocery store that are evenly colored and firm. They keep best stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator.  When ready to use, wipe mushrooms clean with a damp cloth, trim the bottom of the stem, and sauté in butter or vegetable stock. Oyster mushrooms can be included or substituted in just about any recipe that calls for mushrooms including soups, stuffings, omelettes, rice or pasta dishes, or made into a tea.

[2] Gunde-Cimerman  N, Friedrich J, Cimerman A, Beni Ki N.  “Screening for fungi for th production of an inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductas—production of mevinolin by the fungi of the genus Pleurotus.”  FEMS Microbiol Lett 1993; 111: 203-6.

[3] http://www.drterryuwillard.com/medicinal-mushroom-part-7-oyster-mushrooms-delicious-lipid-control/

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Fiber has many roles in keeping us healthy. A study at Northwestern University of more than 11,000 people found eating a high fiber diet reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fiber binds to cholesterol in the body and pulls it out, lowering cholesterol levels. Fiber protects against some cancers.  It attaches to estrogen, a cancer-promoting hormone, and eliminates excess amounts.  Without fiber, unused cholesterol and estrogen will be reabsorbed in the body.  Fiber absorbs water and helps food move through the digestive tract quickly.  This helps dilute and eliminate potential carcinogens.  Fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing down the rate nutrients are absorbed in the blood stream.  To help lose weight, increase fiber consumption.  Fiber will make us feel full quicker.  Fewer calories will be consumed on a low fat, high fiber diet.

Contrary to belief, meat has no fiber. It is found only in the plant kingdom. Studies are inconclusive to the benefits of fiber that is added to food. Have a goal of 40 grams of fiber a day by eating high fiber foods such as beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

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Is it my imagination or is cheese consumption on the rise?  Cheese seems to be in about everything we eat from appetizers to vegetables. No, it’s not my imagination.  Americans are consuming an average 33 pounds of cheese a year – three times more than in 1970.

But that’s good, isn’t it? Cheese a healthy food – right? Let’s take a closer look. Yes, cheese is a good source of calcium and protein. Cheese is also a good source of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. On average, a one ounce of cheese (2 cubes or one slice) is about 120 calories and 70% fat, with nearly two thirds of the fat being the artery-clogging saturated fat. It has more sodium than a one ounce size bag of potato chips found in vending machines, and more cholesterol ounce for ounce than a baked chicken breast.  According to the Physicians Center for Responsible Medicine, cheese is the #1 source of saturated fat in the American diet.

Are we eating more cheese? Yes.  Is it a healthy food? No.  The amount of fat, sodium, and cholesterol found in cheese is far worse than the amount of calcium and protein cheese provides.  Better sources of calcium and protein include cooked spinach, broccoli, collards, beans, sesame seeds, fortified soy milk, lentils, vegetables, and beans. An additional benefit of these foods is they contain nutrients that will help our body fight disease.

Next time make a choice that will keep the arteries open and the blood pressure within normal range. Take a pass on the cheese and instead, add an extra helping of vegetables.

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