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(...continued) Processed carbohydrates are more of a threat to cholesterol, and especially triglycerides levels than fats.  Processed carbohydrates are concentrated carbohydrates--it's much too easy to overindulge. Take wheat, for example.   As a whole, unprocessed  grain, the only way the wheat "berry" can by eaten, is cooked in a porridge.   In that form, you'd maybe eat it once or twice a week, if that.   But look at what the food processing industry has done for (or should I say "to"?) the lowly wheat berry!   There's bread for starters, both whole wheat and white, not to mention "potato" and raisin.  Then there are bagels, english muffins, hard rolls, dinner rolls, biscuits, quick breads, crackers of all sorts, donuts, pastries, pies, cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, snack cakes, a plethora of pastas, macaroni, and noodles.   There's wheat in gravies and sauces, some soups and even soy sauce.   Now add up how many times a week (or day) you eat that lowly wheat berry!   The same can be said for corn. Corn may even be consumed more often because of its use as a sweetener by the food processing industry.   You've seen "high fructose corn syrup" on labels, right?  Sugar, whether it's made from sugar cane (again, a processed food), sugar beets, or corn, is the ultimate carbohydrate.   This "food" has been processed so much that there's no nutrition left; it's just pure carbohydrate, and concentrated at that.  Even if you don't eat much food, you get an unproportionally high intake of carbohydrates, which are a major component of triglycerides.  It's like adding fuel to the fire. It just makes it too easy for your body to make triglycerides.  And because of the decreased ability of your body to clear triglycerides and cholesterol they build up in the blood.

One last point: Cholesterol becomes a problem when it becomes oxidized, or damaged by nasty little by-products of metabolism called free radicals.  There's no avoiding free radicals, but we can protect against them with something called "anti-oxidants".  Antioxidants help cells and molecules avoid oxidation by acting like a shield and sacrificing themselves instead.  The best antioxidants are certain vitamins and minerals like vitamins C and E, Betacarotene and other carotinoids, selenium and lipoic acid.  It's a good idea to take them in a supplement (ask a nutritionist for the dose that's right for you), but it also makes good sense to get them through your food.  The best source of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Hmmm?.Let's see:  If  I eat more fruits and vegetables, I'll probably eat less of other foods like chips, soda, and cookies, right?  In other words, I'll be

►increasing my antioxidant protection for the cholesterol that I do have, and I'll be making less cholesterol in the first place because I'll be consuming less processed carbohydrates.  It's kind of like killing two birds with one stone, huh?  Not a bad deal at all!

Sample Meal Plan

Breakfast:  1 cup cottage cheese or unsweetened yogurt with ½ cup blueberries Or  1 cup whole grain cereal (such as oatmeal), cinnamon and toasted almonds

Lunch:     
Tuna salad (large can), lettuce, tomato, on a whole wheat pita pocket with Mixed green salad or cooked vegetables

Dinner:     
Grilled (or baked or broiled) chicken or steak, baked sweet potato, steamed Broccoli

Snacks:     Handful of raw almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, fruit, sugar-free yogurt, leftover chicken, turkey, etc,  string cheese

Guardian Update is the official newsletter of The Guardian Health Association ? .  It is made possible, in part, by support from Unimed Pharmaceuticals.  The information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for medical advice.  Please consult with your health care provider before embarking on any health related program.

Knowledge = Power
Peace and Good Health!!!

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