Sunday, March 22, 2009

Planning to Lose Weight This Year?



Supplement With Honey!


(NaturalNews) Losing weight has never been sweeter, as long as you use the right sweetener. A new study indicates that the use of table sugar or mixed sugar leads to weight gain. However, honey does not lead to weight gain. Diets including sugar were found to increase the levels of HbA1c, indicating higher levels of glucose in the blood. Diets including sugar were also found to increase triglycerides, an aspect of blood fat that is known to damage arteries. In this study, researchers from Waikato University in Hamilton, New Zealand fed three different groups of rats diets with no sugar, eight percent mixed sugars, or ten percent honey. The animals fed honey gained about as much weight as those fed no sugar at all, while those eating sugar gained significantly more weight. A diet of ten percent honey causing no more weight gain than a diet including no sweetener at all? Astonishing.

This finding is one reason to make honey a regular dietary choice. But there are many more reasons. Honey provides our bodies with much more than the hollow calories of sugar, corn syrup and other processed sweeteners. Honey is a natural substance, the only one in our diets made up of concentrated nectar from blooming plants. It contains trace amounts of protein, plus riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. It also contains antioxidants, some found only in honey, which include pinobanksin, chrysin, catalase and pinocembrin.

Honey provides a stable source of energy as it enters the bloodstream while sugar enters it so quickly that blood glucose levels fluctuate rapidly. Honey has a healthier glycemic index (GI) compared to sucrose, high fructose corn syrup and other common sweeteners. The GI rating measures the effect of foods on the blood sugar level. The lower the GI rating, the more gradual the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream. Eating diets low on the GI scale is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. So replacing other sweeteners with honey, particularly honey in combination with whole foods, could be associated with improved health.

Honey is also sweeter and more flavorful than sugar. A teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories while a teaspoon of honey provides 22 calories. But because honey is more intensely sweet, most people use about a third to a half less honey than sugar, actually reducing the calorie load.
Purchasing locally sourced honey helps support beekeepers, who are having difficultly staying in business due the impact of bee diseases and pests, agricultural chemicals, and Colony Collapse Disorder.

There's evidence that some imported honey is actual packer's syrup, not pure honey, so beware of low cost products. Every one of us, whether we consume honey or not, relies on bees to pollinate the crops we eat each day. Supporting reputable beekeepers helps to insure that there will be enough bees to put fruits, vegetables and nuts on our tables.


What are some ways to incorporate honey in a weight loss program?

1. Ayurveda, the respected system of traditional Indian knowledge, recommends using honey to cure obesity in a variety of ways. Start the morning with a glass of warm water mixed with a tablespoon of honey and fresh lemon or lime juice. This drink can be taken several times a day, up to a half hour before each meal. Mint tea or ginger tea with honey is suggested. Raw ginger slices with honey can be eaten to stimulate the metabolism. The herb guggul may also be combined with honey and ginger, and used two to three times a day.


2. The ancient Unani healing system often used honey as a base. For weight loss, honey was combined with cinnamon. Current versions of this remedy suggest drinking a concoction each morning made by boiling a half cup of water with a half teaspoon of cinnamon powder and a teaspoon of honey. Since boiling honey destroys important enzymes, modify this recipe by pouring boiling water over the cinnamon then stirring in honey, to taste, after the water has cooled somewhat.


3. A small amount of honey helps you look forward to replacing an unhealthy meal with a fruit smoothie. Place approximately a quarter-cup each of three types of fruit (such as pineapple, mango, grapes, apple, banana, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, etc) in a blender along with a tablespoon of honey and several ice cubes. Process until fruit and ice are smooth. Top with yogurt or nuts for protein.


4. Many herbal teas are known to assist in weight loss, in addition to the mint and ginger teas suggested above. Honey added to the tea not only improves the flavor but helps curb hunger. Green tea raises the metabolic rate, nettle tea reduces appetite and chickweed tea is said to diminish cravings.


5. Use honey to support a healthier exercise routine. The University of Memphis found that honey is a highly effective pre and post exercise energy source. Researchers studied the performance of athletes supplemented with honey during endurance cycling trials. The cyclists' power and speed were significantly improved using honey compared to those using a placebo. Honey was found to boost performance equal to glucose, a more common carbohydrate source. But honey promotes steady blood sugar, helping sustain energy and promoting recovery, while glucose does not.


6. Replace expensive, unhealthful energy drinks with those you make yourself to support a more active lifestyle and lose excess weight. Mix 1/3 cup unsweetened grapefruit, cranberry, pomegranate or other tart juice with 1/3 cup honey. Add 6 cups of water. If necessary for exercise in hot weather, add a few grains of sea salt. Blend well, distribute in sports bottles and refrigerate till ready to use. Or steep four tea bags of your favorite herbal, green or flavored black tea in two cups boiling water. Add five additional cups water and 1/3 cup honey, stir well and store in sports bottles in the refrigerator till ready to use. Experiment by mixing teas, juices, supplements, water and honey in your own proportions for a sports drink that supports your exercise program and provides a healthy boost of energy.


7. The Hibernation Diet was developed by a pharmacist and sports nutritionist. The initial results were published in the Journal of Medicinal Food and are now in a book by the same name. This diet supports liver and adrenal function. A central feature of the diet is taking a dose of honey before bedtime. Check (
www.benefits-of-honey.com/hibernati...) to see if you meet the criteria for this approach. Remember, it's about balance. Honey should be a small part of your overall diet. If you use no sweeteners, you might want to add a spoonful of honey to your diet for the benefits it offers.

If your diet currently includes sugar, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame or other sweeteners, consider making honey your sweetener of choice but keep your focus on the taste and appeal of whole foods eaten in moderation.

by: Laura Weldon, citizen journalist

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Healing Power of Honey

My family is originally from Hungary where natural remedies are handed down generation to generation. We were raised using these natural medicines. I remember as a child, if we had a sore throat...gargle with salt water...we always had an aloevera plant growing so we could break off a piece and apply to a wound or sunburn to help the healing process...and there was always honey in the house - if we had a cough, we'd have to take a teaspoon of honey...as a child I hated honey. Now that I'm a mom, I too use honey remedies with my son and husband!

Here's a great article on the healing power of honey.

by: Kelly Joyce Neff, citizen journalist
Key concepts: Honey, Raw honey and Water


(NaturalNews) Raw honey – which has not been pasteurized or filtered, and ideally taken directly from the hive – is a treasure chest of nutritional value and medicinal remedies. It contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals and is a natural and powerful medicine, both internally and externally.

The list of honey's beneficial functions is a long one. Honey increases calcium absorption; can increase hemoglobin count and treat or prevent anemia caused by nutritional factors; can help arthritic joints, when combined with apple cider vinegar; fights colds and respiratory infections of all kinds; can help to boost gastrointestinal ulcer healing; works as a natural and gentle laxative; aids constipation, allergies and obesity; provides an array of vitamins and minerals; and supplies instant energy without the insulin surge caused by white sugar. Many have found raw honey helpful for its positive effects against allergies and hay fever, and one or two teaspoons last thing at night can help with insomnia. As an antiseptic, honey is also a drawing agent for poisons from bites or stings or infected wounds, and has outperformed antibiotics in treatments for stomach ulcerations, gangrene, surgical wound infections, surgical incisions and the protection of skin grafts, corneas, blood vessels and bones during storage and shipment.

"Raw honey is exceptionally effective internally against bacteria and parasites. Plus, raw honey contains natural antibiotics, which help kill microbes directly. Raw honey, when applied topically, speeds the healing of tissues damaged by infection and/or trauma. It contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes, as well as sugars, all of which aid in the healing of wounds."

So writes Dr. Cass Igram, D.O. in The Survivor's Nutritional Pharmacy. In a fascinating modern development, scientists and doctors are beginning to rediscover the effectiveness of honey as a wound treatment. In recent years, honey has been used effectively in clinical settings for the treatment of fist-sized ulcers extending to the bone, as well as for first, second and third degree burns. Complete healing has been reported without the need for skin grafts and with no infection or muscle loss. It can be applied full strength to such conditions, covered with a sterile bandage, and changed daily. When the wounds are clean, honey acts as a healer. This also is the same procedure for infected wounds, ulcerations and impetigo. Garlic honey can also be applied directly to infected wounds, which will help clean up the area of infection.

Dr. Peter Molan, professor of biochemistry at Waikato University, New Zealand, has been at the forefront of honey research for 20 years. He heads the university's Honey Research Unit, which is internationally recognized for its expertise in the antimicrobial properties of honey. Clinical observations and experimental studies have established that honey has effective antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Astonishingly, it painlessly removes pus, scabs and dead tissue from wounds and stimulates new tissue growth. "Randomized trials have shown that honey is more effective in controlling infection in burn wounds than silver sulfadiazine, the antibacterial ointment most widely used on burns in hospitals," explains Dr. Molan.

Dr. Molan believes that if honey were used from the start in cases of septicemia, there would be far less tissue damage resulting. "The remarkable ability of honey to reduce inflammation and mop up free radicals should halt the progress of the skin damage like it does in burns, as well as protecting from infection setting in", says Dr. Molan. "At present, people are turning to honey when nothing else works. But there are very good grounds for using honey as a therapeutic agent of first choice."

Researchers believe that the therapeutic potential of honey is grossly underutilized. With increasing interest in the use of alternative therapies and as the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria spreads, honey may finally receive its due recognition as a wound healer.

Indeed, it works: Raw honey makes a sterile, painless and effective wound dressing. Apply it directly to open cuts, abrasions and burns, and cover it with a piece of gauze. The results will occur quicker than with conventional alternatives, such as salves and creams.

Honey is also exceptionally effective for respiratory ailments. One Bulgarian study of almost 18,000 patients found that it improved chronic bronchitis, asthmatic bronchitis, chronic and allergic rhinitis and sinusitis. It's an effective treatment for colds, flu, respiratory infections and a generally depressed immune system. Whereas sugar shuts down the immune system, a good quality honey will stimulate it into action.

Here are some more ways to utilize the healing power of honey:

BURNS - Apply freely over burns. It cools, removes pain and aids fast healing without scarring. Apart from being a salve and an antibiotic, bacteria simply cannot survive in honey.

BED WETTING - A teaspoon of honey before bed aids water retention and calms fears in children.

INSOMNIA - A dessertspoon of honey in a mug of warm milk aids sleep and works wonders.

HYPERACTIVITY - Replace all use of white sugar with honey. White sugar is highly stimulating with no food qualities. Honey provides the energy without the "spike."

NASAL CONGESTION - Place a dessertspoon of honey in a basin of water and inhale fumes after covering your head with a towel over the basin. Very effective!

FATIGUE - Dissolve a dessertspoon of honey in warm water or quarter honey balance of water in a jug and keep in the fridge. Honey is primarily fructose and glucose, so it's quickly absorbed by the digestive system. Honey is a unique natural stabilizer: Ancient Greek athletes took honey for stamina before competing and as a reviver after competition.

FACIAL DEEP CLEANSER - Mix honey with an equal quantity of oatmeal, and apply as a face pack. Leave on for half an hour, then wash it off. Great as a deep cleanser for acne and other unwanted blemishes.

POOR DIGESTION - Mix honey with an equal quantity of apple cider vinegar and dilute to taste with water. This is also wonderful for the joints – and promotes weight loss.

HAIR CONDITIONER - Mix honey with an equal quantity of olive oil, cover head with a warm tower for half an hour then shampoo off. Feeds hair and scalp. Your hair will never look or feel better!

SORE THROATS - Let a teaspoon of honey melt in the back of the mouth and trickle down the throat. Eases inflamed raw tissues.

FOR STRESS - Honey in water is a stabilizer, calming highs and raising lows. Use approximately 25 percent honey to water.

ANEMIA - Honey is the best blood enricher by raising corpuscle content. The darker the honey, the more minerals it contains.

FOOD PRESERVATIVE – If you replace the sugar in cake and cookie recipes with honey, they'll stay fresher longer due to honey's natural antibacterial properties. Reduce liquids in the mixture by about one-fifth to allow for the moisture present in the in honey.

OSTEOPOROSIS – Research has shown that a teaspoon of honey per day aids calcium utilization and prevents osteoporosis – probably not a bad idea for anyone over 50.

LONGEVITY - The most long-lived people in the world are all regular users of honey. An interesting fact, yet to be explained, is that beekeepers suffer less from cancer and arthritis than any other occupational group worldwide.

MIGRAINE - Use a dessertspoon of honey dissolved in half a glass of warm water. Sip at the start of a migraine attack, and, if necessary, repeat after another 20 minutes.

CONJUNCTIVITIS - Dissolve honey in an equal quantity of warm water. When cooled, apply as a lotion or eye bath.

COUGH MIXTURE – Combine 6 ounces (170 grams) liquid honey, 2 ounces (55 grams) glycerin and the juice of two lemons. Mix well. Bottle and cork firmly, and use as required.

Raw honey may become granulated, as some does after a week and another maybe only after several years. If the granulations bother you, simply place the honey into a pan of hot water (not boiling) and let it stand until becoming liquid again.

Kelly Joyce Neff has an interdisciplinary degree in Celtic Studies which includes work in cultural anthropology, history, linguistics, language, and literature. She is a traditional midwife and herbalist, a reiki master, and an active craftsperson. She lives in San Francisco.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pat Dempsey helps you Increase your drives

My husband, Pat Dempsey is a former ReMax World Long Drive Champion Sr. so needless to say he knows the golf swing well. He has 3 tips with 3 easy exercises you can do to help improve your game. You'll gain more distance with your driver if you practice. But remember, perfect practice = perfect play. These tips apply to men and women...basics fundamentals don't differentiate between male or female.

You can check them out here: Pat Dempsey PowerTips. Once you've practiced and applied them to your game, let us know how you're doing or give us a call and we'll help answer any questions you may have.

Tee it High & Let it Fly!
Barbara

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol and Blood Pressure

by: Brian Swift, citizen journalist
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(NaturalNews) Lowering your cholesterol and avoiding high blood pressure is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Most people discover their LDL cholesterol (Low Density Lipoprotein) to HDL cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein) ratios when applying for health insurance or medical insurance. But lowering your cholesterol with a prescription from your doctor is not always the best way. Try the below natural methods for lowering your cholesterol and living a healthier lifestyle.

1. Regular Exercise - With regular exercise you can help your body to reduce stress, lose weight, increase metabolism, burn more calories, and more. Steady and regular exercise has been found to help lower cholesterol and reduce triglyceride levels. With regular exercise you can lower your body mass index and achieve a healthy weight. This helps you to reduce your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

2. Cut Out Trans Fats - Trans fats are found mostly in fried foods, pastries, cookies, and other similar foods. Avoiding these types of foods limits your calories, fat intake, and helps lower your cholesterol. The American Heart Association`s Nutrition Committee recommends limiting trans fat to one percent of your daily calorie intake.

3. Remove Stress From Your Life - Stress and anxiety cause chemicals to be released into your body, raise your blood pressure, and reduce blood flow to your heart. Avoid stressful situations and use techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and other similar techniques. This helps your body to deal with stress and minimize the effects on your body.

4. Lose Weight - Being Overweight changes your metabolism and the way your body deals with fat and cholesterol. Losing weight in a slow and steady manner improves your health and lowers your cholesterol. Natural dieting results in consistent weight loss and reduces your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

5. Emphasize Healthy Social Relationships - Focus on stress-free, fun and relaxing family and friendship activities. These should fit with a healthy lifestyle and steer away from unhealthy and stressful social behaviors including arguments, drinking, inactivity, and overeating.

6. Get a Pet - Many studies including have shown that caring for a pet reduces stress. A 10 year study performed at the Stroke Research Center at the University of Minnesota found that owning a pet lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, helps with depression, and reduces risks of dying from a heart attack or other diseases.

7. Avoid Red Meat, Eggs, & Whole Milk - Red meats, whole milk, and egg yolks are concentrated cholesterol foods. They should be avoided and replaced with some of the healthier foods that are low in cholesterol. Some examples can be found below.

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Stock up on foods containing Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids raise HDL and lower LDL cholesterol levels. Some good sources include salmon and herring fish, walnuts and almonds, dried cloves, and flaxseed oil. Many of these foods also contain antioxidants and vitamins.

9. Try Oat Bran & Brown Rice Bran - Both oat bran and brown rice bran contain high levels of soluble fiber. Soluble Fiber binds fats and absorbs cholesterol.

10. Blueberries, Garlic, & Apples - These three foods are tasty and can be easily combined with many other foods in home-made recipes. Garlic and Blueberries lower blood pressure and cholesterol. The fiber pectin in apples decrease the amount of cholesterol produced in the liver. Using these ingredients in your meals can make a healthy impact on your cholesterol.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/re...
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/...
http://www.americanheart.org/presen...
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/m...
http://health.yahoo.com/cholesterol...
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?...
http://ezinearticles.com/?Top-10-Na...
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/art...

Monday, March 16, 2009

10 Commandments of Cholesterol Control

My husband & I both are fighting high cholesterol. We don't take any medication but we have changed our diets...a little. What we have done is add more fruits and veggies to our meals. Pat, my husband has been great, he continues to exercise daily as well. I personally have fallen of the exercise wagon and it's been a struggle getting back on. Sharing knowledge and personal experiences have seem to be the only way I can get motivated. I've found great articles on the subject that I would like to share with everyone.

(ref: Prevent www.prevention.com )

What to do if your cholesterol levels are High

You've been diagnosed with high cholesterol. Now what? It's a perfectly valid question, the same one facing millions of Americans at this very moment. Your doctor has probably recommended dietary changes, perhaps more exercise, maybe even medication. But you know you can do more. You're just not sure what, or when, or how. That's why we've created the Ten Commandments of Cholesterol Control. They're the basic steps anyone can follow, no matter what their current cholesterol profile, to get the numbers they want. Some of the commandments may seem more important to you than others, depending on your current health status. For now, feel free to focus on those most relevant to your situation. You can return to the others later; at the very least, they'll help you stay informed and inspired as you wage your own cholesterol war. Just remember that by adopting all ten commandments, you establish a solid foundation for lifelong cholesterol control. They'll support whatever treatment plan you ultimately choose to follow. There's no better time to get started than now!


1. Know Where You Stand
You've heard the old saying about no news being good news? Well, it doesn't apply to cholesterol. Getting it checked on a regular basis is essential to your long-term good health. After all, high cholesterol has been linked to cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, people who have a total cholesterol of 240 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) are twice as likely to experience a heart attack as people who have a cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL. Knowing your level, and tracking it as you begin treatment, just makes sense. In a nutshell, all adults age 20 and over should have their cholesterol checked at least once every 5 years as recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. You may require more frequent screening if you have certain risk factors for heart disease or if your test results are cause for concern.
Generally, doctors like to see total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL, with LDL (bad cholesterol) below 130--the high end of the "near-optimal" range--and HDL (good cholesterol) above 40. If your test results aren't consistent with these levels, your doctor may recommend a retest. If they're still not where they should be, your doctor may want to discuss treatment options. The truly good news is that in many cases, cholesterol is easily managed, even without medication. But you need to know your starting point, and you need to monitor your progress toward healthy levels. Even for those whose cholesterol is within the range considered normal, knocking a few points off their readings can slow fatty buildup in the arteries and possibly reduce any buildup that's already there. The bottom line: In the pursuit of cholesterol control, knowing your numbers is an absolute necessity.


2. Learn All You Can
Once you've been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your instinct may be to jump right into whatever treatment plan your doctor recommends. Unless your cholesterol has gone through the roof, which may require immediate intervention, you're better off taking time to think through your situation and your treatment options. By exercising some control up front, you're more likely to develop a cholesterol management plan you can truly live with. Perhaps a good place to begin is with an assessment of your personal risk factors for heart disease beyond high cholesterol. Which ones are within your control? For example, you may not be able to change your age, gender, or family history. But you can improve your eating habits, get more exercise, and quit smoking. These are the sorts of lifestyle changes that should become part of your cholesterol management plan, no matter what other treatments you may choose. Likewise, you'll want to learn as much as you can about cholesterol itself. Your body needs cholesterol to perform certain vital functions. In fact, lowering one type of cholesterol, HDL, can be bad for your heart. What's more, while many foods contain dietary cholesterol, most of the blame for elevated cholesterol levels rests squarely on the shoulders of saturated fat. Of course, you'll also want to educate yourself about the available treatment options. Conventional medicine has much to offer to people with high cholesterol--but so do alternative therapies. Indeed, the choices can seem overwhelming. Before you settle on a specific treatment or combination of treatments (in consultation with your doctor), you should know whether it's effective and safe and how soon you can expect to see results.


3. Get Rid of Those Extra Pounds
If you weigh more than you should, slimming down may produce a significant drop in your cholesterol level. Research suggests that being overweight disrupts the normal metabolism of dietary fat. So even though you may be eating less fat, you may not see a difference in your cholesterol profile until you unload the excess pounds.
In fact, shedding just 5 to 10 pounds may be enough to improve your cholesterol level. Just don't go the crash-dieting route. A slow but steady loss of 1/2 to 1 pound a week is healthiest and easiest to maintain. Since 1 pound equals 3,500 calories, you could meet the pound-per-week rate by eating 500 fewer calories per day, burning 500 more calories per day through exercise, or--the best option--a combination of the two. Findings from the landmark Framingham Heart Study confirm that such modest weight loss is worth the effort, for reasons beyond cholesterol control. According to the study, taking off--and keeping off--just 1 to 2 pounds a year may reduce your risk of high blood pressure by 25 percent and your risk of diabetes by 35 percent. Incidentally, many of the lifestyle strategies that help rein in unruly cholesterol can also take off unwanted pounds, and vice versa. If you're significantly overweight, be sure to consult your doctor before embarking on any weight loss program.


4. Lace Up Your Walking Shoes
Whether your goal is to lower your cholesterol, shed some extra pounds, or both, regular exercise can help you get there. We're not talking about high-intensity workouts, either, though boosting your intensity can elevate HDL cholesterol. Walking and other, more moderate physical activities are good for your heart, too. In fact, one study suggests that walks of any duration may help reduce heart disease risk. For the study, British researchers recruited 56 sedentary people between ages 40 and 66, then divided them into three groups. One group took a long, 20- to 40-minute walk each day; another group walked for 10 to 15 minutes twice a day; and the third group took 5- to 10-minute walks three times a day. Over the 18 weeks of the study, the once-a-day walkers saw their LDL cholesterol drop by 8.3 percent; the twice-a-day walkers by 5.8 percent. The researchers concluded that walks of any length can be beneficial, as long as they're done at a moderate intensity--that is, a brisk pace at which you can still carry on a conversation. We mention walking because it's the most convenient form of physical activity. But really, any form of aerobic exercise--running, bicycling, swimming, whatever gets your heart pumping--can help lower heart disease risk. Whichever activity (or activities) you choose, just make sure you're doing it for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. If you've been relatively inactive, check with your doctor before launching any exercise regimen. Your doctor may be able to help you choose an activity that suits your current fitness level.


5. Become Acquainted with the Good Fats
When you were diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor likely advised you to reduce your fat intake. In general, cutting your dietary fat will lower cholesterol. But as with any rule, this one has exceptions. Evidence suggests that eating more of some fats and less of others is better than simply cutting way back on all fats.
Peanut butter, avocados, olive and canola oils, and most nuts are mostly monounsaturated fat. Research has shown that monounsaturated fat can help lower LDL and triglycerides (another type of blood fat) while raising HDL. It's a much healthier choice than saturated fat, found primarily in animal products--meats, butter, full-fat milk and cheese. Saturated fat can elevate your cholesterol level more than anything else you might eat. Also included in the good fats category are the omega-3 fatty acids, found in abundance in fish such as mackerel, albacore tuna, and salmon. The omega-3s appear to lower levels of VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) and triglycerides. Studies have shown that when people cut back on saturated fat and consumed more fish oil, their LDL dropped. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least 2 servings of baked or grilled fish a week. That said, omega-3s are not a magic bullet. When study participants consumed more fish oil without altering their saturated fat intake, their LDL levels stayed the same or increased. In order to reap the cholesterol-cutting benefits of omega-3s, you need to limit your saturated fat consumption. Remember, too, that eating foods low in total fat can help restrict saturated fat.


6. Discover Fiber's Cholesterol-Cutting Capacity
It's no secret that vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels and lower heart disease rates than meat eaters. That's in part because vegetarians consume so much fiber, which is found exclusively in plant foods--fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. The soluble kind appears to pack the greatest cholesterol-lowering punch. Research has shown that consuming about 15 g of soluble fiber a day can lower LDL cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent. It works by binding with cholesterol-containing bile acids in the intestines and escorting them out of the body. A specific kind of soluble fiber, pectin, not only lowers cholesterol but also helps curb overeating by slowing the digestive process. Munch on apples and other pectin-rich fruits, and you're likely to eat less, lose weight, and rein in your cholesterol. Coincidentally, foods high in fiber tend to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as calories. Just make sure you don't top your fiber-rich whole grain toast with a huge dollop of butter.

7. Take a Good Multivitamin
Even if you're getting more good fats, avoiding bad fats, and filling up on fiber, your diet may have some nutritional gaps. A multivitamin/mineral supplement can help cover your nutritional bases and possibly lower your risk for heart disease and stroke. Look for a multi that delivers 400 micrograms of folic acid, 2 mg of vitamin B6, and 6 micrograms of vitamin B12, advises Robert Rosenson, MD, director of the preventive cardiology center at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago. In studies, all three of these B vitamins have played important roles in protecting heart health. In a Harvard study involving 80,000 nurses, for example, those with the highest intakes of folic acid were 31 percent less likely to develop heart disease. Folic acid works by decreasing blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that's an emerging risk factor for heart disease and stroke. While many foods contain foliate (the naturally occurring form of folic acid), including orange juice, kidney beans, broccoli, and spinach, you'll be certain that you're getting the recommended amount by taking a multivitamin.
The same study found that the women who consumed the most vitamin B6 reduced their risk of heart disease by one-third. Like folic acid, B6 helps to hold down levels of homocysteine. In older people, effectively controlling levels of homocysteine may depend on adequate stores of vitamin B12. After age 50, the human body sometimes absorbs less B12 from food. According to Johns Hopkins researchers, older people who took a multivitamin containing B12 had lower levels of homocysteine. When you're shopping for a multivitamin, steer clear of those that contain iron. According to Rosenson, men and postmenopausal women don't need extra iron. Iron stores have been linked with a higher rate of heart attacks and strokes.


8. Explore Your Treatment Options
When you were diagnosed with high cholesterol, you and your doctor probably discussed an appropriate course of treatment. It's important that you continue to work with your doctor and inform him of any therapies that you decide to try on your own. The fact is, both conventional and alternative medicine have a range of cholesterol-combating strategies available. Which ones you choose depends on your current cholesterol profile, your general health, your lifestyle, even your perspective on treatment. Some people feel perfectly comfortable taking cholesterol-lowering medication, while others do all they can to avoid it. For people who have advanced heart disease or who've already had a heart attack, conventional therapies such as drugs and surgery are vital, at least at the start of treatment. Later, you and your doctor can discuss lifestyle strategies and alternative therapies that may support your recovery and possibly stop the disease from progressing. For those with mild to moderately elevated cholesterol, lifestyle strategies and alternative therapies may make drugs and surgery unnecessary, Rosenson says. These days, many physicians urge patients in the mild-to-moderate category to try controlling their cholesterol through dietary changes and increased physical activity. If those measures alone aren't enough, or if a patient already has coronary heart disease or is at high risk for it, physicians reach for the prescription pad. Together, you and your doctor can come up with a treatment plan that matches your needs and lifestyle--and that delivers the results you want.


9. Find Ways to Short-Circuit Stress
To win the cholesterol war, managing stress is as essential as eating healthfully and exercising regularly. When you're tense and anxious, you're more likely to neglect the actions that help lower cholesterol in the first place. After spending 12 hours at the office working frantically to meet a deadline, do you really want to devote another hour to preparing a nutritious meal or walking on a treadmill? Probably not.
What's more, stress and its companion emotions--tension, anxiety, anger, depression--trigger the release of chemicals that constrict arteries, reduce bloodflow to the heart, raise blood pressure, and elevate your heart rate. These changes, in combination with uncontrolled cholesterol, can put you on course for a heart attack. To block your body's stress response, simply removing yourself from the stressful situation can help. Go for a short walk, practice deep breathing, perform a few simple stretches, meditate--whatever enables you to relax and regroup. You'll feel better, you'll think more clearly, and you'll spare your heart from harm. No matter how busy you are, set aside a few minutes every day to reflect on yourself and your life. Are you satisfied with the direction you're taking? Are your needs being met? By tuning out the world and turning inward, you remind yourself of what matters most, and you rise above the stressful distractions that undermine your health in so many ways. While staying in touch with yourself can help you set priorities and adjust your life's course, don't sacrifice family and social relationships. They give your life balance and enable you to cope with stressful situations. Of course, maintaining ties to family and community takes some effort, especially in an era when technology drives our interactions. But it's worth doing, since research has shown that people with fewer social connections are more prone to illness and more likely to die young. On the bright side, the more social connections you have, the better your chances of living longer--free of heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.


10. Make a Commitment
Several men and women manage to take charge of their cholesterol and achieve their ideal numbers. Many of these people had experienced some life-changing event that forced them to commit themselves to a healthier, cholesterol-lowering lifestyle. To win the cholesterol war, you must make that same commitment--resolving to take care of yourself, to make necessary changes, to live healthfully every day. Your family and your friends can support you, but ultimately, you're the one making the decisions that will have an impact on your health, for better or worse.