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Posts tagged ‘recipes’

Fighting Bad Cholesterol With GOOD Methods!

Re-calibrating Our Views On Cholesterol

As a doctor of Internal Medicine, I find that one common misconception many of my young adults (ages 35 and below) have is that “bad” (LDL or non-HDL) cholesterol is a problem of older age.  Too often the sentiment “Live while you are young!” is taken out of context by people in their teens, twenties and thirties to mean “Don’t worry about your health till you are older.” While it is true that after we reach the age of 20 our cholesterol levels begin naturally to increase, there are many factors besides age that determine the levels of bad cholesterol in our blood. While some of that is hereditary, many of these factors can be monitored and controlled from quite a young age. While I am a firm believer in living life to the fullest – I also am adamant that the choices we make about our health and wellness in our formative years provide a strong baseline for our bodies and minds of the future.

The Problems of Waiting Out Your Youth To Correct Cholesterol Levels

Patients of mine above the age of 50 are certainly at a higher risk of cardiovascular complications related to bad cholesterol than their younger counterparts. However, even children with poor dietary habits can have alarmingly high bad cholesterol levels and even the beginnings of blocked arteries before high school!

When one of my older patients at high risk has a very high LDL cholesterol (>190) and we have not been able to improve it with lifestyle changes such as exercise and diet, I may decide to use a prescription treatment for lowering those levels  to minimize the risks of complications like strokes or heart attacks. The most widely prescribed are statins, which quickly reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood . Statins, such as Lipitor, Crestor or Zocor, work by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase,  a liver enzyme which promotes cholesterol production in the human body.

(By the way, I have always advised my patients to CONTINUE their lifestyle efforts and to take Coenzyme Q10 whileon the statin, because statins deplete this substance which is a vital co-factor in your cells’ energy production.)

Despite the fact that I prescribe these medicines, as an advocate of a natural approach to health whenever possible, I’d much prefer that my patients never reach the point where taking a statin becomes their best option. While statins have proven to be extremely effective in reducing levels of bad cholesterol – their efficacy can be trumped by an array of side effects: muscle pain (not uncommon), liver problems (very rare) and increased risk of diabetes among them.

Today I’d like to talk specifically about one somewhat surprising side effect of statin use which has recently been highlighted by researchers in the peer-reviewed journal, Obesity.

In a new study, based on over 10 years of data collection, researchers found that patients prescribed statins “significantly increased their fat intake and calorie consumption, along with their BMI, in the last decade,” 

Why, you ask?  Patients taking these enzyme inhibitors are well aware of their positive benefits and therefore have a propensity for poor diet and lifestyle choices while prescribed them. Too often the mindset of “I take pills to lower my cholesterol – therefore I can eat whatever I want without getting sick” apparently becomes commonplace in those suffering from these kinds of health issues. Patients can become complacent with a poor, unhealthy lifestyle after viewing remarkably improved blood work results from a course of statins – and this is NOT a trend that doctors and patients should continue! When I read this I remembered that when the first statin, Mevacor, came out, one of my fellow doctors in my residency program told me he took it so he could “keep eating bacon and eggs”!

“Ok – I get it, Dr. Nolfo. You’d prefer I didn’t have to take statins if I had the choice. So what do I do instead? “

 I am SO glad you asked! There are many ways to keep our cholesterol at a healthy level:

1. Exercise!

Yes, I know I say it a lot. But countless other physicians and researchers like myself agree: Lack of physical activity can increase bad cholesterol (LDL) – and even DECREASE the good cholesterol! (HDL)

   2. DON’T SMOKE!

Smoking has been proven to lower your good cholesterol – BAD, BAD, BAD! And I seriously hope we don’t need to review the thousands of other health complications that can arise from such a terrible habit. Please don’t smoke! I like you just the way you are! 😉

3. See Your Primary Care Doctor Regularly

General health plays a large role in our cholesterol levels. It is best that you make regular visits with your primary care doctor so you can be screened for other health complications such as diabetes or hypothyroidisim, which can cause high cholesterol. Plus, it’s just the smart thing to do!

4. Eat Healthy, Real, Unprocessed Foods!

Clearly you saw this one coming! Diet is one of the most crucial factors in our cholesterol. Highly processed foods like chips, cookies, margarine, etc. can easily raise our levels of bad cholesterol. I have posted an array of healthy recipes of all kinds throughout this blog – please review for some great meal ideas to start changing your diet today! Vegan and Mediterranean diets have been shown to help cholesterol profiles. There is a little controversy about the effect of the Paleo diet on cholesterol, but my Paleo patients’ cholesterol profiles are usually quite good.\ because they don’t limit themselves to all meats and eggs and eat tons of fruits and veggies.

And just to give you a head start on the eating part – try this delicious and healthy black bean, corn and edamame salad! Not only is it perfect for the start of summer, but a new study shows that beans can help significantly reduce our bad cholesterol!

Go ahead, try this stuff!

Dr. Emily Nolfo

Tomato Soup: The Benefits You Didn’t Know About!

Hi friends!!!

My deepest apologies for a gap in communication, but recently there have been some sad events in my life – which combined with the weather, made me less productive. But we’re back on track! Right now I am foolishly looking at the Weather Channel app to see there will be arctic temps tonight and snow on Monday…….

  Damn you, Groundhog!

What could be better than some warming, nutritious soups to ease you through the last days of this interminable winter? Today I want to talk about the nutritional benefits of tomatoes. So to start, here are two fantastic, simple recipes for tomato soup:

1) http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/RCP00226/Creamy-Tomato-Soup.html

2) http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2305847

Tomato is famously rich in LYCOPENE.  Lycopene is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are the  substances that give vegetables their red, orange and yellow hues. Lycopene is not used by the body to make vitamin A, as many other carotenoids are, making it unique and safe.

Here are some good sources of lycopene:

½ cup canned tomato puree

27,192

1 cup canned tomato juice

21,960

1 wedge of raw watermelon

12,962

½ cup ready-to-serve marinara sauce

6,686

1 tablespoon canned tomato paste

3,140

1 tablespoon catsup

2,506

½ pink or red grapefruit

1,745

1 tablespoon salsa

1,682

One sun-dried tomato

918

One slice of raw tomato

515

Note how much more lycopene the sun-dried tomato has!

Lycopene is absorbed best when foods containing it are cooked, and also when a small amount of fat is eaten with the food, making these soups a perfect way to get your lycopene! I’d even add a little more good-quality olive oil than called for.

Some medical studies suggest that lycopene may be protective against certain cancers, such as lung, stomach, skin, cervix, possibly breast and particularly prostate. Some of the studies used a lycopene supplements while others were observational studies of persons with high lycopene diets. The studies using a supplement were less impressive than the ones refecting a high–lycopene diet such as the Mediterranean diet.

HAVE A HIGH CARDIOVASCULAR RISK?

A recent study in the journal Neurology shows that men with high lycopene levels have a lower stroke risk. (Hey, lets do a study on women, too!) Lycopene may also improve cholesterol profile. However, I BELIEVE STRONGLY THERE IS SUBSTANTIAL EXTRA BENEFIT FROM EATING WHOLE FOODS FOR NUTRIENTS. I think the other nutrients and micronutrients, fiber and more in real foods are an inextricable part of the good effects of nutrients like lycopene!

So eat REAL, WHOLE FOOD!

(WATCH: Jon Stewart’s take on snack foods)

All the best,

Dr. Nolfo

From Your Health Coach: Post-Thanksgiving Recipes to Get You Back On Track

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OK – so we all splurged and feasted on delicious grub last week…don’t even deny it!

But hey, that’s OK. That’s actually good!

Moderation and self-control are key in every aspect of health and nutrition, but it’s important for our general well-being to allow ourselves to savor some treats on occasion.

But if you’re still feeling the guilt from your Thanksgiving glut (and sick of turkey!): We’ve posted two great recipes taken directly out of our healthy weight maintenance cookbook from here at the office:

1) Pasta-Free Lasagna

2) Fennel Salad with Grilled Chicken Skewers

If you are interested in ordering the  cookbook from us or if you just want to hear more about what we do here at Stony Creek Wellness, give me (John Moniello – Certified Health Coach) a buzz! I LOVE to meet new people. Newbies: If you are out of state, no worries! We connect with people from all over the world on here, not just clients in Connecticut.

These recipes are high in protein and low in carbohydrates which make them POWER MEALS! Enjoy completely guilt-free.

I know you will.

John Moniello
Certified Health Coach
Stony Creek Wellness
203-488-2100
john.ip@stonycreekim.com

P.S.: Don’t forget about the versatile spaghetti squash, and here’s a cool tool to make vegetables into noodles that are great for low-carbohydrate and Paleo diets, and to get more veggies and fiber in your life!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0026RMEK4/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=27053731923&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=326548750133797937&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_9ivz5vh40r_e

I am not paid in any way to endorse this product! We just love it.

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