Attention to Reducing your Cholesterol

Reduce Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

New Years with a fresh new start to keep you on your toes and modeling ideal habits for those you love.  Follow these basic steps to reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure, impacting and leading to a stronger lifestyle.

In brief, it’s important to know very basic facts.

  1. The body’s liver makes its own cholesterol everyday.  Cholesterol is a key factor the functionability of our hormones and to the elasticity of our veins and arteries.
  2. HDL is a healthy cholesterol needed to keep our hormones, organs, muscles, veins and arteries operating properly.
  3. LDL is an unhealthy cholesterol when it becomes oxidized.
  4. Reduce Stressful Lifestyle:  walk away from or limit interaction with stress triggers, avoid comfort foods that can contribute to increasing cholesterol. (salty & fried foods, dairy products, red meats)                                                                                                                              

Knowledge to influence better habits

Oxidation of LDL is due to free radicals floating around in our body which are  O+ broken off from degenerating protein called homocysteine. The positively charged oxygen then attaches itself to LDL cholesterol and plaque begins to form in your arteries and veins. Hence forth, why anti-oxidants from fruit and vegetables need to be a part of ones daily intake, to clean up the free radicals.

Check the grocery cart before before bringing home the bacon! LDL cholesterol is established through nutrition and found in hydrogenated fats and animal fat.    Hydrogenated fats can be found in margarine, shortening, cookies, and oil-frying. By switching grocery purchases of high caloric fats for fresh seasonal fruits, you are already stepping up!

It’s easy to do!  Reduce consumption of animal fats, or saturated fats; found in milk, butter, cheese, ice cream, meats and pork.  Although we need a certain amount of meats and fats  they should be consumed in small amounts.  A meat serving is 3-4 ounce (84-112 g) servings consumed once or twice a day, while a fat serving is 2 Tbsp of oil per day

3 Effective Steps to Increase HDL

  1. Walk 30-60 minutes five times a week for a total of 2 1/2-5 hours per week.  Walking twice a day for 20-30 minutes each time will increase your metabolism, strengthen bones, muscles and keep your heart pumping…increasing the HDL cholesterol, which removes LDL cholesterol from your arteries.
  2. Consume foods that increase HDL levels:  Omega-3 rish foods: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola, Walnuts, Almonds, Fish and Fiber.  Fruit and Vegetables , total of 9 1/2 cup servings a day.  Please refer to:  Daily Serving Guidelines.
  3. Beverages that assist in increasing HDL levels: Cleanse your body with lemon water or green/black/white tea throughout the day.  Wine and alcohol in moderation; 1 glass for a woman, 2 glasses for a man.
    Reducing cholesterol levels puts into place the first step to reducing blood pressure. It is important to note that attention to reducing salt levels and increasing potassium intake will impact a decreased blood pressure as well. By establishing a plan to  healthier eating and daily exercise, you will feel stronger sooner than expected!

By: K. Crocker-Scardicchio

References

Turmeric & Saffron to Cleanse & Heal Body

Turmeric cleanses the body

Go for it….Spice up your life!  Scientific research has revealed what the people of India have known for centuries! Turmeric and Saffron, whether combined with pharmaceuticals, or taken by themselves, cleanse the skin and cure what ails you; both spices functioning as natures prized antibiotics.

Turmeric and its cousin Saffron contain a polyphenol called “curcumin”, an  antioxidant that is associated with reducing nutrition related pathologies. They are bland tasting, turmeric has a rich yellow color that we associate with “Curry”  and saffron is orange and string-like. These wonderful seasonings are slowly taking on the health importance that they deserve.

Studies have determined that “Curcumin” impacts health as an: “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses.

The positive impact of the medicinal properties are mediated through the regulation of various:  transcription factors, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, protein kinases, and other enzymes”, states The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. They further attest curcumin to be the “Spice of Life” saying that, “Curcumin exhibits activities similar to recently discovered tumor necrosis factor blockers (e.g., HUMIRA, REMICADE, and ENBREL), a vascular endothelial cell growth factor blocker (e.g., AVASTIN), human epidermal growth factor receptor blockers (e.g., ERBITUX, ERLOTINIB, and GEFTINIB), and a HER2 blocker (e.g., HERCEPTIN).”   All evidenced in the country of India which has been duly of having lower occurrences of heart disease and cancer.

Saffron comes from the crocus flower

Many comparisons have shown that individuals who leave India are diagnosed with a health disease, not otherwise documented in previous family history, after moving into a western society.  Duly noted, the main difference in dietary intake was a lower to “no” amounts of turmeric being consumed in their meals.

Turmeric is not as costly as saffron and is readily available with other herbs and seasonings in stores, or in 300 mg capsule form in the vitamin and mineral grocery isle.

Introducing turmeric into meal preparation is very easy to do. 1 teaspoon added to rice, pasta, potato’s, soups and vegetables are good ways to switch from the salt shaker to a healthier spice that heals and makes your body work and function better. Saffron is more costly and commonly used in the Italian dish Risotto Milanese, however, it also provides the same healing benefit as its close relative.

MANY HOME REMEDIES USING TURMERIC

  • With a few grains, turmeric’s antiseptic properties help to heal cuts, wounds, kitchen burns and abrasions. Make a paste of Turmeric and Raw Honey; 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon turmeric.  Adjust amount to wound, apply to wound and cover with a gauze. 3 x’s/day.
  • Gently rub a small dusting of turmeric onto area of face to reduce facial hair growth. Massage into skin with a dampened tea bag.
  • A mixture of 1 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 cup yogurt rubbed onto the abdomen to reduce stretch marks during pregnancy. Rinse off after 5 minutes.
  • Added 1/4 teaspoon to individual meals through out the day, keeps various diseases a bay.
  • Mixture of 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon mustard oil rubbed into gums to combat gum infections. Rinse with warm water.
  • Accredited for reducing anemia and sore throats by eating a paste made of 1 teaspoon raw honey & 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric. 3 x’s/day.
  • Stop diarrhea by drinking, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric to 1 glass of water
  • Sick with an infection? Combine: glass of milk  and stir in 1/2 teaspoon turmeric , 1 teaspoon honey. Drink this natural antibiotic 2 times a day.
  • Medicinal use for pathologies have duly noted an intake of 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric  3x’s a day inhibits growth of tumors, improves function of pancreas, reduces incidence of heart attack.
  • Combat GERD or “Acid Reflux” by consuming 1/8 teaspoon turmeric (a 300 mg capsule) before dinner. Also consider Fast Relief: Fennel Seeds Combat Digestive Problems and

Gas Pains Drink Lemon Water

  • Heal Acne by combining in a bowl 1/2 tsp water, 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1/8 tsp salt. With a cotton ball gently dab a small amount of  paste onto acne and allow skin to absorb ingredients overnight. In the morning, gently cleanse to remove and refresh skin.
For modern western medicine practices, the excitement around the ancient asian spices brings hope on the horizon for how meal preparation can enhance an individuals overall health. The many benefits of polyphenol curcumin are continuously being researched: Inflammation, Arthritis, Irritated Bowel Syndrome, Kidney Disease etc. Present studies  have shown that curcumin inhibits the proliferation of tumor cells in cultures, human and animal studies. Curcumin’s many strengths and limitations are being seriously explored and are bringing new opportunities to healing ones body.
By, Kim Crocker-Scardicchio
Recipes

Lentil Soup
Replace the Salt Shaker
Chicken Curry
Pork or Beef Roast with Vegetables
Risotto Milanese
Spices to Lower Inflammation
Health Benefits of Saffron

References
 1.  Food Chem Toxicol. 2011 Aug;49(8):1834-42. Epub 2011 May 6.
 Safety Assessment of a Solid Lipid Curcumin Particle Preparation: Acute and Subchronic Toxicity Studies.
 Dadhaniya PPatel CMuchhara JBhadja NMathuria NVachhani K Soni MG.
 Pre-Clinical Department, Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Dholka 387 810, India.
 website:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=benefits%20turmeric%20body
2  .Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2011 Aug;25(4-5):519-34.
 Curcumin: The Potential for Efficacy in Gastrointestinal Diseases.
 Irving GRKarmokar ABerry DPBrown KSteward University of Leicester, Department of Cancer Studies, Room 503, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE2 7LX, UK.
 website:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22122768
3. J Fam Pract. 2011 Mar;60(3):155-6.
 Clinical Inquiry. Does turmeric relieve inflammatory conditions?
 White BJudkins DZ.
 Oregon Health & Science University, Family Medicine, Portland, USA.
 website:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21369559
4.  Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2011 Oct 25. [Epub ahead of print]
 Curcumin and its Formulations: Potential Anti-Cancer Agents
 Zhu HLJi JLHuang XF
 zhuhl@nju.edu.cn.    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22044005
5. Nutr Cancer. 2010;62(7):919-30.
 Curcumin, the golden spice from Indian saffron, is a chemosensitizer and radiosensitizer for tumors and chemoprotector and radioprotector for normal organs.
 Goel A
 Aggarwal BB
 Department of Internal Medicine, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA.
6. Curcumin; Indian Solid Gold http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569205

Reducing Triglycerides and Cholesterol

FOLLOW UP WITH: Cholesterol and Triglyceride Reducing Foods

Understanding Triglycerides in the correct amount   The body needs a supply of two types of  lipids/fats that circulate in our blood stream: triglycerides and cholesterol. Triglycerides are made in the liver and stored in fat cells, playing a key role in energy for muscle function. While this article in brief, takes a closer look at triglycerides it is equally important to keep its partner in mind, cholesterol, which is key for muscle cell membrane and making of hormone’s.  The liver builds triglycerides by using a glucose (sugar) with three fatty acids attached to it, however they can be made without food consumption as well.  After triglycerides are built, they can be stored in the liver, or sent to and stored within muscles.

     Three functions, of triglycerides are:
  1. Energy for all parts of the body.
  2. Insulation to help keep the body in homeostasis (balance of temperature).
  3. Provide adequate nutrition when we are sick, delivering fat vitamins (K, A, D, E).

How it works:  The liver creates triglycerides as stored energy. When energy levels become low, the hormone glucagon orders the fatty acids to be broken off of the sugar base. The sugar and fatty acids can both then enter energy production cycles

Cause and Effect:  The calorie is a measurement of heat energy. Carbohydrates and proteins contain only 4 calories per gram. Fats contain 9 calories per gram, thus providing the body with more than twice the amount of energy as sugars and proteins.  Triglycerides are the most concentrated form of energy found within the body, producing more than twice the amount of energy per gram than other forms of energy (protein and carbohydrates), which is why the body can store large amounts of triglycerides.

Clearing up the confusion:  Keep in mind that triglycerides are stored in fat cells and some muscle cells. While your body prefers to use fat as the main energy source, it should represent less than 30 percent of your diet. High-fat diets leave you at risk of obesity.  Your blood value must be <150 (less than 150).  More than 150 puts an individual at risk.

Fish, fruits, vegetables promote HDL Cholesterol to reduce LDL Cholesterol

An excess of triglycerides causes fat buildup in the liver and around the muscles, causing an increase in body fat percentage. Triglycerides are the most common type of fat found in your body and blood plasma. The body absorbs and uses all the energy consumed from food eaten throughout the day, getting rid of anything it cannot use turning it into triglycerides, storing them in your fat deposits.  As a body takes in more food than it can store, the unused food is stored as triglycerides in lipid cells, the more that this happens, the bigger the risk for the build up in the system, placing the individual at risk for diabetes, strokes and heat attacks.

Foods to eliminate in dietary intake in order to reduce triglyceride levels are:  Alcohol, Dairy, Pork, White Breads, Reduce Red Meat to 3 ounces twice a week.  

Read More: Remove Alcohol For Quick Weight Loss 

Food Pyramid for improved Health

Include these foods for improved Triglycerides Cholesterol and Triglyceride Reducing Foods and learn more about how to balance your meals by following Dietary Serving Guidelines . Increase Fish: Salmon, Anchovies, Sardines, Herring, Mackerel intake 4 times a week to improve quality of Omega 3 (healthy fat) and protein. By introducing fish into your lifestyle, the body responds to a fat that is easier to break down with protein that the organs need in order to have improved function. For fiber include 4 servings of Fruit and 5-7 servings of vegetables a day. Quality of vitamins and minerals is critical to a reduction of unwanted food that would otherwise by stored as triglycerides in fat (lipid) cells.  By doing so you can keep your HDL Cholesterol >70, the LDL Cholesterol <120 and Triglycerides <150.

Recipes to include in your diet

Tuna Steak

Roasted Pepper and Carrot Soup

Lemon Infused Chicken or Fish

Written by:  Kim Crocker Scardicchio

Shrimp Mango Salad

  

Delicous! Refreshing! A meal all wrapped into one dish. Anytime Salad that adds a refreshing twist to everyday vegetable and fruit serving.

4 cups lettuce (washed, dried tore into bite size leaves)
12 shrimps (pre-cooked and shelled) For OPTIMAL taste, grill shrimp and add to salad.
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 avocado diced
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Dressing
1 Mango (peeled, remove pith, dice mango)
Juice of 1 Lemon or 1/3 cup orange juice

For dressing: Blend mango and juice for about 30 seconds.
In a large bowl, combine all salad ingredients. Add dressing to salad and gently turn dressing into salad with large spoon.

Florence Italy’s Peposo

A very simple Italian recipe that anyone can make!  Place ingredients into a pot and allow the savory flavors come together. This recipe has been handed down through the generations from a small town of Impruneta on south side of Florence.  Many Florentines will gladly tell a story of their family’s recipe, or  how it was linked to the construction of the beautiful Basilica in the center of Florence, or how it was tied to the Medici family, when they where amongst the few that could afford the spices to make the dish during the years of 1300-1700.  Either way, you can learn how to bring a piece of Florence, Italy to your table and enjoy this delightful stew.
May be served with roast potato’s, rice or pasta!
Preparation 5 minutes. Cooking time 3 1/2 hours.
Serves 8.
  • 4 1/2 pounds (or 2 kilo’s) cubed roast beef, roast pork, or roast wild boar
  • 1 onion minced
  • Three cloves of Garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup olives
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 4-6 whole Cloves
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) or more, to taste, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 quart (1 liter)  of stewed or peeled Roma tomatoes
  • Coarse sea salt to taste
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) Chianti or similar dry red wine

Place meat and onions and garlic into a pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Allow to brown for about 10 minutes. Add wine and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add olives, capers, peppercorns, cloves and stewed tomatoes into cooking pot. Place cover and REDUCE temperature to low heat. Allow to simmer for another 3 1/5 hours. Peposo is finished when the meat is fork tender.

Stuffed Clams or Mussels

Stuffed mussels or clams, open-faced or absorbed in tomato sauce makes for great finger foods.

A favorite seafood lovers dish.  You will serve this as an appetizer or part of the main course
using the sauce over fettucine or linguine pasta.  Have more fun with this dish by preparing it with a friend, child or spouse.

2 pounds (1 kilo) Mussels or Clams (bathe in a bowl of cold water for 1-2 hours in order for sand to be expelled from inside shells.)
1/2 cup water
Stuffing. Needed supply: 4 inch (10 cm) cut string for cooking string (cotton butchers twine). Will need about 20 pre-cut strings.
2 1/2 cups cubed bread (for stuffing)
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons parsley
1/2 tsp salt

Sauce
1 medium onion diced
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 28 ounces cans of unseasoned tomato sauce

Directions for expelling sand from shellfish.

Pre-soak clams or mussels for 2 hours in cold water so that they expel the sand from their shells.

Directions for making stuffed shellfish
Scrub the shells with a kitchen brush or metal scrubber (no soaps or detergent). It’s okay for some algae to still be attached to the shell.
Over medium heat, place a large pan and add 1/2 cup water with all the cleaned mussels or clams, cover pan and allow shells to open. About 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl add bread crumbs, egg, salt, garlic and parsley. Using a fork or your hands mix all ingredients together.

Turn off heat on the stove and reserve water in the pan by taking the opened mussels or clams one at a time from the pan. If some have not opened leave them in pan and cover with lid. They will continue to open.
Place one tablespoon of stuffing into each mussel or clam. With one hand close shell with seafood and stuffing inside. While with the other hand the string is wrapped two times around the closed shell and knotted, or bow-tied.

In a large pan over medium heat, add onion and oil allow to saute for 4 minutes.
Slowly pass about 3/4 of the reserved water from the musssels into a bowl.  Stop the filtering process as any debris (sand) starts to float toward the sieve.  The debris will naturally be the last to float to the top. Discard the last bit of water.  Add the 3/4 filtered, reserved mussel/clam water to the pan with the sauteed onions and mussles.
Add all of the stuffed and tied clams or mussels with tomato sauce. Add 1/2 tsp salt to taste and allow to simmer in sauce for 20 minutes. Mussels will be served in a bowl, use fingers or fork and knife to remove string. The sauce may be added to cooked linguine or fettucine pasta. Top off with chopped parsley for presentation!

Does Your Diet Lower Inflammation?

How can foods impact inflammation? Discover which foods work best for YOU!

Inflammation, (while part of a healthy immune response), is increasingly thought to play a leading role in encouraging a number of major killers, such as:   cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. Dangerous chronic inflammation occurs when the immune system stays turned on and starts attacking healthy cells and tissues, or causing cancer genetic mutations, or the bursting of artery plaque.

What you eat, though, helps determine how much inflammation you produce. It is critical to realize the importance that Omega-3’s play in keeping at bay certain disease or in healing the body.  Doctor’s will also promote a diet rich in Omega-3’s after surgery or to reduce swelling after the body has undergone any type of trauma. Certain foods are inflammation-fighting and should be consumed in abundance (mainly plant or seafood) while other foods can promote and prolong inflammation (animal fats and white flour). Some recommendations:

GO FOR …

Omega-3 fats. These are among the BEST and most potent anti-inflammatory foods. Best sources: fatty fish like Salmon, Sardine, Anchovies and Tuna; Dark Leafy Greens: Broccoli, Kale, Chard, Spinach, Seaweed. Walnuts and other nuts; Flaxseed, Pumpkin Seeds; and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Herbs and Spices: Basil, Oregano, Cloves, Marjoram, Tarrogan, SPearmint, Capers, Prepared Yellow Mustard, Peppermint, Thyme, Saffron, Bay Leaf, Chili Powder, Turmeric, Rosemary, Curry.

Colorful produce. Red Onions, Tomatoes, Prunes, Red Grapes, ALL Berries, Pomegranates, and Oranges all are packed with  flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory properties.

Herbs and spices. Ginger and Turmeric, Cinnamon either dried or fresh, are among the most healthful spices. For herbs, sprinkle on some freshly chopped Sage, Rosemary and minced Garlic.

Peanuts, Chocolate, Red wine. Red wine has anti-inflammatory chemicals like resveratrol. Dark chocolate,  at 70% or higher cacao which protects against inflammation. Great News for the research suggests that hot cocoa will also benefit the body’s health. Eat the peanuts right out of the shell in order to maximize reseveratrol intake.

REDUCE  …

Animal fats. Foods high in whole milk dairy are:  cheese, butter, margarine, ice cream.  Additionally:  egg yolks,  red meat, poultry skin,   All which contain high amounts of arachidonic acid, a molecule used by the body to create inflammation.

Omega-6 fats. While Omega 3 fats make a healthy impact on your body, it’s been found that Omega 6’s  trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. Oils rich in omega-6 fats include corn, safflower, and vegetable oils; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings.

Trans fats. Thanks to much research and the FDA getting behind the 8-Ball, trans-fats are all but gone from packaged foods as research shows they drive inflammation. Now they’re on nutrition labels, so they’re easier to avoid.

Rancid fats. CRITICAL to anyone who leaves the kitchen “to check on something” only to return and find that they have heated oil to the point that it’s smoking.  Besides the fact that smoking oil changes the flavor of a dish, it oxidizes fats and turns them into inflammation boosters. Also, avoid old peanut butter and any old chocolate stashed away for years in your pantry.

White starches. Flour, sugar, white rice, and instant mashed potatoes, for example, all cause quick spikes in blood sugar levels, causing the production of advanced glycation end products that spur inflammation.

Excess alcohol. Avoid drinking more than one or two alcoholic beverages a day; too much alcohol can cause changes in the intestinal lining, allowing bacteria to pass through into the bloodstream, triggering inflammation.