There are a ton of misconceptions surrounding cholesterol and heart disease. Rather than going with the conventional flow, following a low-fat diet and filling that statin prescription, I encourage you to protect your heart using the real food, supplementation and lifestyle modification approach...no side effects and better results!
Protect your heart naturally in 7 ways:
1. Eat less sugar and fewer processed carbohydrates. To review, at the root of heart disease is inflammation which is caused by sugar and refined carbohydrates which make little lesions in your vessels.
2. Embrace healthy fats. They are your heart’s best friends because they nourish, lubricate, and coat those little cuts, repairing your vessels and decreasing internal inflammation. Your heart needs healthy fat sources like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, heavy cream and butter (yep—heavy cream and butter are heart healthy! So long as they’re not “fat-free” (a true oxymoron)). Confidently consume a couple tablespoons of any of these at every meal and snack to support your heart by reducing internal inflammation.
3. Ditch inflammatory fats which CAUSE inflammation. "Vegetable oil," canola oil, hydrogenated oil, corn oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, margarine...skip these and strive to get your fat from the natural, healthy sources listed above.
4. Aim for PFC balanced meals and snacks. When you aim to eat more healthy fat and fewer carbs, you’ll naturally begin to eat in PFC balance. Check out this foundation blog post series to find out the benefits you’ll reap once you begin to embrace this way of eating.
5. Supplement to support your heart. CoQ10, Fish Oil, Probiotic and L-Glutamine supplements are the essentials. These protective supplements are crucial and when it comes to protecting your heart, they should not be overlooked. You not only want to stop promoting inflammation by keeping out the sugar and carbs, but also want to heal any existing inflammation. These four help to reduce inflammation. CoQ10 is a heart protective antioxidant that produces energy for every cell in our body. The heart muscle contains the highest amount of CoQ10... and statin drugs deplete your body of this important antioxidant! If you’re on a statin drug, you must supplement with CoQ10 at minimum. I would also recommend vitamin D, magnesium and a comprehensive multivitamin to support your heart. AND be sure you’re not putting any ol' supplements into your body since many, especially fish oil and probiotics, can cause harm and be detrimental to your health if they aren’t high quality (the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve!). Because we are licensed healthcare professionals, we are able to carry pharmaceutical grade supplements that are backed by research in our online store. Your best bet is the Daily Essentials bundle which contains these heart health supplements.
6. Destress. Wouldn't that be nice, you say? Many of us brush over the importance of stress management, and it’s time we took it seriously. Stress increases your blood pressure and can cause damage to your arteries, create irregular heart rhythms and cause weakened immunity. Be kind to your heart by taking moments to breathe deeply throughout your day and find stress management strategies that work for you (journaling, talking to a friend or counselor, yoga, prayer, meditation, or whatever else you find calming...).
7. Get your heart pumpin’! You don’t have to run a marathon to support your heart, and in fact, I don't recommend it, as it can be a promoter of inflammation. It’s better for your heart (and metabolism!) to do shorter, more efficient workouts (interval training/HIIT, CrossFit style).
For the full rundown on cholesterol, make sure you read my posts, "5 Lab Tests for Heart Health (and How to Interpret Them!)" and "7 Things Your Doctor Didn't Tell You About Heart Health."
For more on heart health, check out the following resources:
- This TV segment where I present my top five heart healthy foods that will help to keep inflammation down, thus protecting your heart.
- The books Cholesterol Clarity, The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease and the Statin-Free Plan That Will, The Cure for Heart Disease: Truth Will Save a Nation and Toxic Oil
- The articles Heart Surgeon Speaks Out on What Really Causes Heart Disease, Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease, The effect of the statins is not due to cholesterol-lowering and The Truth About Statin Drugs.