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Cholesterol For
A Healthier Heart
This information is not meant to conflict with your doctors advice, which you
should obtain before making any major changes in your lifestyle.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Unless you
have a congenital heart defect, the single factor most affecting your hearts health and
whether or not you will develop coronary heart disease, is your blood cholesterol level.
Although men are most at risk, women should also be concerned about their cholesterol
levels, especially women past menopause. Heart disease is still a major cause of death in
You can lower your cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease easily,
without drugs, in a fairly short period of time by making appropriate lifestyle changes.
Before you can make these necessary changes, its important to understand what
cholesterol is and why it can be deadly when high levels are found in the blood. To
better understand, and start on the road to a healthy heart and lower cholesterol, lets
define our terms:
Cholesterol: According to the American Heart Association, cholesterol is a wax-like fat
found in all the cells in the human body. It is a vital constituent of cell membranes and
nerve fibers, and also serves as a building block for many hormones and important
tissues. The liver produces cholesterol and it is found in certain foods. Having too much
cholesterol in your body can be very dangerous.
Lipoproteins: In the bloodstream, cholesterol is transported to and from the cells on
special carriers called lipoproteins. There are different kinds of lipo-proteins: low
density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL):
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)The Bad Cholesterol: LDL is the primary carrier of cholesterol
in the blood. If you have too much LDL, it can build up a plaque-like substance in the
arteries, and eventually create a blood clot or barrier that stops the flow of blood. If this
happens near the heart, a heart attack results. If it occurs closer to the brain, a stroke. This is
called atherosclerosis or heart disease.
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)The Good Cholesterol: About one fourth of blood
cholesterol is carried by a different kind of lipoprotein: HDL. The experts dont always agree
on how HDL works. Some think HDL carries the cholesterol away from the arteries and back
to the liver where the body eliminates it. Others think HDL acts as a scavenger, removing
excess cholesterol and fat from artherosclerotic clots, slowing their growth. What is not

disputed is that high levels of HDL lower the risk of heart attack, and conversely, low levels
of HDL increase the risk. In summary, the goal is to have low levels of low density lipoprotein
and high levels of high density lipoproteins.

Tryglycerides: This is the fat in your blood. It comes from the food we eat, but it is also
produced by the body. People with heart disease have high triglyceride levels. But not
everyone with high tryglyceride levels have heart disease. To reduce the risk of heart
attack, it is important to maintain low levels of tryglycerides.
Saturated Fat: The American Heart Association believes that saturated fat is the main
dietary culprit in raising blood cholesterol. The degree of saturation in saturated,
polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and oils depends on how many hydrogen
atoms are in the chemical chain. The more saturated a fat, the harder it is and the more
cholesterol it will form in the body. Animal fats, hydrogenated shortenings and
margarine, and palm and coconut oils are all saturated fats, which stimulate the
production of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and raise total cholesterol levels.
Polyunsaturated Fat: Polyunsaturated fats come from vegetables or seeds, and include
safflower, corn, soybean, cotton seed, sesame, walnut, and sunflower oils. They lower
LDL and serum cholesterol levels, but use them in moderation. Too-plentiful use of
polyunsaturated fats can lower beneficial HDL and boost tryglycerides.
Monounsaturated Fat: Monounsaturated fats lower total cholesterol and LDL levels as
effectively as polyunsaturated fats without lowering HDL or raising tryglycerides. They
are found in canola and olive oil, and should be added to the diet in a ten- to fifteen
percent ratio.
Use only poly- or monounsaturated oils, and in limited amounts. Many margarines
and spreads are made from these oils and should be used instead of spreads made from
saturated fats, such as butter, lard or hydrogenated shortenings.

1. Have your serum cholesterol tested.

Levels can vary because test methods can give slightly different results. Plus, the labs
conducting the tests can vary. Have two or three tests done at two-week intervals, then
average the results. Generally, safe levels are considered to be 180 milligrams per
deciliter or less for people under age 30, and 200mg per deciliter or less if youre over
age 30.
If your total cholesterol level is higher than this or you have a family history of heart
disease, get a lipid profile. This measures your triglycerides, and high density
lipoprotein levels. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL should be below 4.5. To calculate
the ratio, divide the total cholesterol by the HDL. For example, if your total cholesterol is
200 and your HDL is 50, divide 200 by 50. Your ratio is 4.

Cholesterol Levels
Less than 200 milligrams per deciliter
200-239 milligrams per deciliter
240 and over


LDL Levels
Less than 130 milligrams per deciliter
130-159 milligrams per deciliter
160 or higher


HDL Levels
40-50 milligrams per deciliter
50-60 milligrams per deciliter
Less than 35 milligrams per deciliter

Average Male
Average Woman

2. Modify your diet.

The typical American diethigh in calories, cholesterol and fatis the single largest
risk factor affecting your heart. It is also the easiest to modify. Food preferences are not
instinctive; they are learned behaviors. Simple dietary changes, such as those
recommended by the American Heart Association, will quickly and dramatically lower
cholesterol levels.
Although it may seem overwhelming at first, you can learn to choose healthy foods
that are good for your heart. If your diet has been very bad, make changes a step at a
time. This allows you to incorporate each step into your lifestyle, where it will become a
natural, healthy habit.
Its helpful to make a chart listing your present diet on one side and your goal on the
other, with cholesterol and fat values beside each item. Hang this chart on your
refrigerator and keep track of each food you eliminate or add to your new diet. This will
provide positive feedback and encouragement as you approach your healthier heart
target. Following are specific healthy changes you can make in your diet.

3. Reduce cholesterol intake

to less than 300mg per day.
Only foods of animal origin contain cholesterol. Egg yolks are probably the best
known source of cholesterol. Organ meats such as liver, tongue, heart, brain and kidneys
are cholesterol-rich. Such high-fat dairy products as whole milk, cream, sour cream,
butter, ice cream, and most cheeses are cholesterol-laden treats to be avoided, as are
luncheon meats, chicken skin, marbled steaks, roasts and chops, sausages, etc. Eat
shrimp in moderationits low in fat but high in cholesterol.
If you must eat red meat occasionally, keep the portions smallthree to four ounces
of cooked meat, no more than three times a week. Red meats include beef, lamb, veal,
ham, and pork. When you buy meat, be aware that the more expensive the cut, the more
fat it contains because meat is graded by fat content. Prime grade meat is as high as 50 to
60 percent fat, while choice grade is 35 to 40 percent fat. Instead, select good grade meat
and trim all visible fat from the meat before cooking. These leaner meats are as flavorful
and tender as the other grade meats when prepared properly. Choose extra or super
lean when buying ground beef or buy ground turkey. Instead of red meat, substitute fish
or white meat poultry without skin. Exceptions: goose and duck, which are very high in
saturated fats.

4. Reduce your fat intake.

Limiting cholesterol intake without limiting saturated fats can still result in high
cholesterol. If all the calories you eat in one day equals 100 percent, then the percent of
calories from fat should only be 30 percent, and within that 30 percent, less than ten
percent should come from saturated fats, five to ten percent should come from
polyunsaturated fats, and ten to fifteen percent should come from monounsaturated
Read labels carefully to determine both the amount and type of fats in packaged
foods and baked goods. Fat contains nine calories per gram or 100 calories per level
teaspoon. To determine the number of calories that come from fat, multiply the grams of
fat in a serving by nine then divide by the total calories in the serving.
In an attempt to make them more user friendly, the FDA has made significant
changes in the nutrition information labels on packaged foods. These new labels make it
easier to differentiate between low fat and high fat content foods; they do all the
calculating for you. These new nutrition fact labels note the total calories per serving, the
total calories from fat per serving, and even break the fat down into percentage of
saturated or bad fat, versus poly- and monounsaturated fatsthe preferred fats.
Another way to reduce your fat intake is to check the ingredients in your margarine.
Many contain hydrogenated oils to keep them firm. Buy a margarine with liquid
vegetable oil as the first ingredient on the label and containing partially hydrogenated
oil. Avoid those made with hydrogenated oil or containing coconut oil, palm oil or lard.
Broil, bake, or boil, instead of frying foods in fats. Place meats on a rack while
roasting or baking so the fat will drain. Buy a nonstick skillet and use a vegetable
cooking spray to coat the pan. Make pot roasts, stews, and simmered meat sauces a day
ahead. Chill, then scrape off the fat that rises to the top before reheating.
Use skim milk and lowfat or nonfat milk products. If you are used to whole milk,
mix it with skim milk for a few days to get used to the lighter texture and taste, then
switch to skim milk only. Use nonfat plain yogurt to replace the sour cream and butter
on potatoes and the mayonnaise in salad dressings.
Dont try to completely eliminate fat from your diet. Your body needs a certain
amount of essential fatty acids, which it cant make and must get from food. You could
potentially sabotage your diet as wellpeople tend to abandon diets that dont contain
enough fat because fat not only gives food flavor but provides a feeling of fullness by
slowing the emptying of food from the stomach.

5. Eat foods rich in EPA or omega-3.

New research centers on a group of beneficial oils: omega-3 fish oils (or EPA),
evening primrose oil and linoletic acid from soybean oil. By thinning the blood and
making platelets slightly less sticky, these essential fatty acids reduce clot formation in
the coronary arteries while lowering tryglyceride and serum cholesterol levels.
EPA, or omega-3 fish oils, are mainly found in cold-water fish: salmon, bonito,
pompano, halibut, cod, flounder, haddock, sardines, tuna and mackerel. EPA is a
precursor to prostaglandin-3, a hormone-like substance that controls clotting and artery
spasms. Obtain these beneficial results by eating EPA-rich fish two or three times a
week. If you dont like fish you may supplement your diet with two to three grams of
fish oil per meal. Scientists have demonstrated that the anti-clotting effect depends on

the dosage of fish oil in relation to other kinds of polyunsaturated fats, not the absolute
amount of fish oil consumed. So do not alter the amounts of polyunsaturates in your
diet when you add fish oil.
Several studies indicate the body converts the eight percent linoletic acid in liquid
soybean oil into the same omega-3 fatty acids as those found in fish oils. Another
vegetable oil containing about ten percent linoleic acid is canola oil. Evening primrose
oil contains about nine percent gamma linolenic acid, which lowers cholesterol and LDL.
Evening primrose oil can be purchased in capsule form at the health food store.
Recommended dosage: one gram per meal.

6. Cut down or eliminate

refined sugar from your diet.
Although sugar has no cholesterol and is fat-free, once digested it is converted into
triglycerides, which affect the production and deposit of cholesterol in your arteries.
Also, refined sugars empty calories have almost no nutritional value.

7. Drink alcohol in moderation.

Although alcohol contains no cholesterol and saturated fats, it has the same effect on
your blood as sugar, rapidly converting to triglycerides in the bloodstream, which in
turn are converted into cholesterol. Alcohol is also a mild depressant of the heart
muscle, so anyone with heart disease of any kind should use alcoholic beverages
Whats moderate and how much is too much? Moderate is defined at about one and
one-half ounces of alcohol. More than that has a negative effect on heart function.

8. Cut down or eliminate salt in your diet.

Sodium elevates blood pressure, causes excess fluid retention and worsens
symptoms of congestive heart failure. There is enough salt in the foods you eat to
provide the small quantities needed by your body, so adding salt is not necessary. Salt is
an acquired taste and habit. Start by cutting back before quitting. Never salt food before
tasting it. Experiment with different flavors while cooking: garlic powder (not garlic
salt!), pepper, onion, and other herbs and spices make good salt substitutes. Replace the
salt shaker with a spice shaker or use lemon juice. Read the labels on processed or
packaged foods and select items labeled low sodium, low salt or no salt added.

9. Eat a high-fiber diet and be sure to

drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Cellulose and other insoluble dietary fibers found in grains, fruits and vegetables are
helpful in cutting cancer risk, lowering blood pressure and maintaining regularity.
Water-soluble fiberthe kind contained in fruits, barley, oats and rice bran, dried beans
and peasappears to lower cholesterol by absorbing certain fatty substances in the
gastrointestinal tract. This increases the livers output of bile, a digestive fluid composed
of cholesterol, and it lowers overall cholesterol production. Eat oat and rice bran in the
form of hot and cold cereals, muffins, breads and pancakes. One-half to one cup of beans

eaten daily as a main meal, as a soup, or tossed into salads will make your cholesterol
levels plummet. Plus their versatility makes it easy to eat plenty. And dont forget
apples, which contain the water-soluble fiber pectin.
Keep hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. You dont have to
start with the full eight glasses. You can start to increase your water consumption over
the period of a week to let your body adjust. See whats right for you, but start today.

10. Be sure to get an adequate supply

of minerals in your diet.
Magnesium is one of the most promising minerals in blood-pressure control studies,
yet the average American consumes only about 40 percent of the recommended daily
allowance of magnesium. Low-magnesium diets are linked to high blood pressure and
cardiovascular disease. While certain foods, such as leafy green vegetables, seafoods and
whole-grain cereals are rich sources of magnesium, other factors rob your body of
magnesium: phosphates bind magnesium in the bowel and prevent its absorption.
Diuretics, digitalis and other heart medications, as well as antibiotics interfere with
magnesium absorption. Stress also increases your magnesium requirements.
Potassium supplements and additional calcium can protect against elevated blood
pressure in salt-sensitive people. Good sources of these minerals are fruits and
vegetables, grains, beans and nuts, or add a chelated mineral supplement to your diet.

11. Eat brewers yeast.

Brewers yeast, long a staple in health food stores, prevents chromium deficiency,
which is related to heart disease. Brewers yeast contains a complex of chromium and
several amino acids. It also contains high levels of choline and inositol, constituents of
lecithin, which regulates blood cholesterol.

12. If it doesnt pose a health risk, take niacin.

As reported in the journal of the American Medical Association, niacin, a B-complex
vitamin, can effectively lower total cholesterol, LDL and triglyceride levels. It also
elevates HDL levels in the blood when taken in high doses. Because these doses can
cause skin flushing and itching, start with low doses and increase slowly to a level of
1,000mg to three grams daily. People with liver disease, gout or peptic ulcers should not
take large doses of niacin.

13. Learn about herbal extracts.

Herbal extracts of ginkgo, hawthorn, cayenne pepper, ginger and European
mistletoe have proven successful in treating cardiovascular conditions by dilating
coronary vessels, reducing elevated blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol.

14. If you smoke, quit now.

Cigarette smokes carbon monoxide dramatically increases the risk of heart disease.
Smokers who quit begin to reduce their risk of death almost immediately. After one
years abstinence, HDL blood levels will be approximately those of a nonsmoker. Its

never too late to quit. Compared to those who continued to smoke, people in their midfifties or older who quit dramatically reduced and even halved their risk of heart attacks.

15. Eliminate the stress and tension in your life.

Lower your levels of stress. Cholesterol value rises during emotional stress,
adrenaline causes harder heart contractions and artery spasms, and the liver produces
more blood sugar. Prolonged stress reactions can lead to complete exhaustion of the
nervous system. Learn to reduce the number and intensity of stressful incidents in your
life. Use stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, progressive relaxation, positive
thinking, and self-hypnosis to help you deal with stress.
The personality traits of anger and hostility cause high blood pressure and heart
disease, worsen migraines and aggravate preexisting ailments. Hostile people more
frequently experience very high blood pressure and adrenaline surges when confronting
daily challenges that merely annoy most people.
Get rid of the old beliefs that you need hostility to get ahead in the world, or that you
cant change your hostile ways. Release critical, judgmental attitudes towards others.
Dont get upset over little things. Learn to express affection and admiration for family
members and friends. Monitor situations that trigger irritation, aggravation or anger and
learn to respond with understanding, compassion and forgiveness. If you do become
angry, dont eatexcess chemicals generated by the body can cause fat in the meal to
deposit in the blood vessels, potentially triggering a heart attack.

16. Learn to express your emotions.

Major depression activates physiological processes that decrease the resilience of the
heart muscle. Symptoms are extreme sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest and
pleasure in most activities, insomnia, apathy or suicidal thoughts. If you suffer from any
of these symptoms, begin to take immediate steps to relieve the depression. When sad,
go ahead and cry. Tears shed in grief or sorrow carry off stress-related chemicals.
While it is important to express your darker emotions, it is just as important that you
try to be more cheerful and optimistic about life. Studies show that optimists tend to be
less bothered by physical symptoms than pessimists because they cope more effectively
with problems and experience fewer stress-related symptoms.
Laugh. Laughter has positive physical effects on the heart muscle, acting as a gentle
massage and helping to keep the blood flowing while lowering blood pressure. It blocks
feelings of apprehension, panic and depression, and helps you maintain a balanced

17. Develop close personal ties

to friends, family and community.
Loneliness and social isolation is a high risk-factor for heart disease. The socially
isolatedunmarried, divorced or widowed people with few close friends and little or
no social contactsare three times more likely to have serious heart disease. Safeguard
your heart by developing close personal ties to friends, family and community.
If circumstances keep you from having a close, loving relationship with another
person, get a pet. Stroking and caring for animals helps you be more optimistic and has

a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. Pet owners with heart conditions have
half the mortality rate as those without pets.

18. Exercise!
Regular aerobic exercise provides protection against heart disease by conditioning
the heart and circulatory system. It also improves the oxygen efficiency of the heart,
lungs and muscles. And it reduces other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high
cholesterol and LDL levels, and alleviating depression. Exercise at least three times a
week for a minimum of 20 minutes at your training heart rate, which is 85 percent of the
maximum heart rate based on your age.
Avoid highly aggressive or competitive exerciseits stressful and can injure the
body. The best aerobic exercises are brisk walking, swimming, stationary cycling or
outdoor bicycling, cross-country skiing, rowing, and aerobic dance. Exercises such as
yoga and tai chi provide spiritual and emotional boosts as well as beneficial exercise for
the body.

19. Bring your weight to where it belongs.

Being more than 20 percent over your ideal weight increases your risk of developing
heart disease and high blood pressure, and multiplies other high-risk factors, such as
sedentary lifestyle, smoking, high-fat, high-cholesterol diets, and hostile personality
traits. Diet and exercise can reduce the fatty tissue in the body. Chapter Six outlines a
weight loss plan.

20. Take aspirin.

One 325mg aspirin tablet taken every other day can help prevent heart attacks and
benefit those who have already had a heart attack, reducing their chance of a second
heart attack. Aspirin inhibits the manufacture of a substance that makes platelets sticky,
causing blood clotting. People with bleeding tendencies, peptic ulcers or allergies to
aspirin should only take it on the advice of their physician.

21. Use self-hypnosis

Daily use of self-hypnosis mind programming will support your goal of lower
cholesterol. The final chapter tells you how.

Reduce Cholesterol Summary

1. Have your serum cholesterol tested.
2. Modify your diet.
3. Reduce cholesterol intake to less than 300mg per day.
4. Reduce your fat intake.
5. Eat foods rich in EPA or omega-3.
6. Cut down or eliminate refined sugar from your diet.
7. Drink alcohol in moderation.

8. Cut down or eliminate salt in your diet.

9. Eat a high-fiber diet and be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
10. Be sure to get an adequate supply of minerals in
your diet.
11. Eat brewers yeast.
12. If it wont cause a health risk, take niacin.
13. Learn about herbal extracts.
14. If you smoke, quit now.
15. Eliminate the stress and tension in your life.
16. Learn to express your emotions.
17. Develop close personal ties to friends, family
and community.
18. Exercise!
19. Bring your weight to where it belongs.
20. Take aspirin.


The final chapter explains how to use the following affirmations as self-talk and how
to include them in a self-hypnosis format for daily mind programming.
A healthy heart is now my reality. Every day, I am healthier and healthier.
I now use the unlimited power of my mind to reduce my cholesterol level.
Consciously and subconsciously, I choose perfect health.
I know how to relax completely and release tension from my body and mind.
My positive, loving attitude keeps my heart healthy.
Every day in every way, I love and care about my heart, my body and myself more and more.
I exercise my body regularly to keep my heart healthy.
My body knows exactly what it needs to stay healthy.
I eat only healthy foods.
I eat more fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
I avoid cholesterol, fat and sugar.
I visualize perfect health.
I maintain a state of calmness and tranquility.