7.14.2017

My Blood Lipids

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I'm sharing the fasting blood lipid panel results from my most recent annual health physical (end of June) because:

1. I eat a relatively high fat (mainly extra virgin olive oil), moderate protein and complex carbs, whole food diet, emphasizing vegetables, fruit, nuts, olive oil, and lean meat.

2. I do not restrict my food intake quantity at all, I simply make smart food choices whenever possible, such as avoiding refined flour and sugar.

3. I eat quite a lot of cheese sometimes, even by Wisconsin standards, but I don't consume other forms of dairy like milk or butter.*

4. I eat at least a dozen eggs each week, yolks and all.

5. I drink beer, though usually in moderation.

6. I drink coffee as needed.

7. I don't smoke (and can't believe some people still do!).

8. I don't take any prescription pharmaceuticals of any kind, only a few OTC vitamin supplements.

9. I exercise two or three times per week, but not religiously or overly intensively, and I try to stay generally active the rest of the time.

10. When I do occasionally eat junk food, I never feel guilty about it (just gross!) because it is usually driven by my achievement of specific weight loss goals (or birthdays and other "special occasions").

11. I meditate daily for 15-20 minutes, usually first thing in the morning (after drinking my coffee, so as not to cause an inadvertent power nap), though I have no strong reason to believe this is correlated with my blood lipids.**

12. I lost 35 pounds over the past year or so and kept them off by adhering to the above lifestyle guidelines.

13. My lifestyle habits are modest and achievable for most generally healthy people my age (almost 50!), and I want to help people avoid heart attacks and strokes (total cholesterol above 150 mg/dL significantly elevates a person's risk for these diseases, even though the medical establishment says less than 200 mg/dL is "desirable").

14. The conventional medical community still doesn't fully value the potency of good lifestyle as a major contributor to heart health, preferring to pump you full of powerful prescription drugs or implanting high tech devices into your circulatory system (cha-ching $$$), and that's a shame.

15. These are impressive lipid results by North American medical standards, resulting probably slightly from my good genes but mostly from an excellent lifestyle, and I'm not beneath a little bit of prideful gloating.

If you are interested in learning more specifics about my optimal lifestyle for healthy lipids, drop me a comment below, especially if you are struggling with unhealthy cholesterol levels. I promise to respond within 24 hours.

Back in the early 2000s, I co-authored and published a paper in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine on the effects of a whole food diet plus nutritional supplements on lipid profiles in human subjects. CLICK HERE to see it.

Note that the above individual blood lipid results apply only to me and everyone is different. But I'm also just an average Joe, as they say in the vernacular, and blood lipids are closely tied to lifestyle habits in almost every scientific study on the matter.


*Note: According to the author and brainchild of the infamous China Study research project, one T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., dairy protein, especially casein, is considered highly detrimental to health, including cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels. However, if this is true, I appear to be a statistical outlier. I love cheese! There may be some health promoting probiotic effects from the bacterial cultures used to make cheese, but it's still the fermented excretions from a cow's udder, you know?

**Note: Decreasing stress may be linked to improved blood lipid profiles, and meditation certainly helps with stress relief, but I also try to minimize external stress by limiting my exposure to stressful people and situations.

1.04.2017

The Mediterranean Diet and Brain Shrinkage

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Adhering strictly to a Mediterranean diet could prevent your brain from shrinking as you age, a new study suggests.

HERE is a detailed article about the study from the New Scientist magazine, if you want to get deep into it.

Here is my summary, if you don't.

Some Scottish researchers surveyed a cohort of 401 elderly people (who have been followed as part of a larger ongoing health study since the late 1930s) about their dietary habits and then they MRI scanned their brains. People who followed a strict Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and olive oil (and with less dairy and red meat), had 50% less brain shrinkage than people from the cohort who ate a typical Scottish diet (rich in haggis...just kidding).

Interestingly, these researchers found that fish consumption didn't necessarily correlate with bigger brains, as some previous studies have suggested.

Everyone's brain shrinks as they age. Eating a Mediterranean diet might slow that shrinkage and prevent neurological declines and pathologies like Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Tons of studies tout the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, so it can't hurt and it might help.

That's all I have on this right now. Like I said, click the link for more.