Thoughts on Cholesterol.

I got my annual blood work done for 2011 and my cholesterol came back with some less than optimal results.

HDL (Good Cholesterol): 55

LDL (Bad Cholesterol): 127

VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein): 25

Total Cholesterol: 207

My results say that a level between 200 -240 is “considered borderline elevation and possibly represents increased risk of heart disease.”

Not really words that I like to hear.  Granted, I’m not that far over the range of healthy.  Last year, my cholesterol was at 220 total, so at least I’ve made some progress. Let’s go over some facts about myself.

  • I am 24 years old.
  • I am active-I run 3-4 times a week and am currently training for a marathon.  I lift weights occasionally.
  • I am not a smoker.
  • I am not overweight in the slightest.
  • I eat very minimal dairy and include in my diet lots of fruit and vegetables and usually only have one serving of meat a day.  (It’s WAY cheaper to eat vegetarian, ha ha)
  • Aside from my cholesterol, I have no health problems.  I am fit, health and sound as a horse.

So where is all this cholesterol coming from?

I did some research and here’s what I found that might apply to me:

  • Genetics. Maybe.  Nobody else in my family (that I am aware of) has high cholesterol problems.  My mom’s has gone up in that last few years, but only by a few points.  My grandpa has had some heart trouble and had to get triple bypass surgery, but that’s the only case I know of.  I guess it has to start somewhere, right?
  • Stress. But the rational behind stress was that when one gets stressed out, they make poor, or less healthy food choices, resulting in high cholesterol.  I think I have a pretty good handle on emotional eating.
  • Other factors included poor diet, lack of exercise and smoking, none of which apply to me.

It still is a little bit of a mystery to me, but I’m not going to worry too much about it because I’m not that far out of range.  Here’s what I plan to do to continue to lower it:

  • Continue to focus on eating more vegetables.  I have significantly increased the amount of vegetables I eat this past year.
  • Focus more on whole foods.  I love bread. A lot.  Probably too much.  I do eat sprouted bread, but technically, it is still processed.  I will be making an effort to concentrate more on whole grains and less on bread.
  • Refined flour and sugar.  No more white sugar, white flour, really anything white.  Supernatural Cooking has an excellent section on both of these.
  • Losing a little weight.  I am not overweight by any means, but I could definitely tone up.  This could prove to be difficult, because I am marathon training, and am therefore eating a lot more than usual, so I think if I add strength training into my routine, it might help.

So, there it is.  Not too many changes, but enough to hopefully help me continue to lower my cholesterol.  I want my entire body to be healthy, inside and out.  That way, when I run 26.2 miles, I know my heart’s doing it’s best work!

Happy eating!

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