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WELLNESS COLUMN

Understanding Cholesterol Research shows that decreasing sugar intake can decrease LDL particles in the blood.

30 Days to Better Health While medication can change these numbers, most people can change their numbers for the better in 30 days with a few dietary changes. 1. Eat More Omega 3s Omega 3s come from a variety of dietary sources including: nuts, seeds, fish, fish oils, olives, olive oil, avocado, avocado oil, supplements, and grass-fed animals. Omega 3s are also available as a supplement. This is important to mariners and travelers.

high levels of chronic inflammation. PUFAs (Poly Unsaturated Fats) are found in food and are “essential” to life. They work to perform critical tasks; everything from cell communication to powering the brain. Omega 3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory) and Omega 6 fatty acids (inflammatory) are the two we need to balance in a 1:1-1:4 ratio for optimum health. However, 90% of Ameri-

The Theory of Injury In the early 1900s, studies identified that the liver was making cholesterol for the body. It was producing cholesterol in response to a variety of sustained injuries. The result of these injuries was a “911” call to the liver. The liver, in turn, ramped up the production of cholesterol and dispatched it to the traumatized area. In the case of the arteries, cholesterol covers lesions in the arterial walls. The problem comes when cholesterol gets continuously produced and sticks to artery walls. This build-up, called arteriosclerosis, is a form of heart disease. The build-up clogs, slows or stops blood flow, or can break off in chunks and get stuck in an artery. Chronic inflammation is one of today’s big suspects for mass injury. This is most likely from what we put in our mouths and/or environmental toxins. Food is the focus here, and there are two main areas of research: sugar and poor quality fats.

Getting Puffy on PUFAs Fats can actually help reverse heart disease if you eat the right kind. However, the wrong kind can cause inflammation. Deadly diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer are among those spurred on by 36 Marine Log // February 2017

Cholesterol is critical for building healthy cells...the problem comes when it gets continuously produced. cans are Omega 3 deficient, and Omega 6 abundant. We presently average a 20:1 ratio toward the inflammation side (6s to 3s), instead of 1:1.

Sugar, A Likely Suspect We have two types of cholesterol measuring numbers on our standard blood test, HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein). These molecules carry cholesterol around the body, delivering it to working cells, and removing debris when done. The problem is LDL breaks easily and oxidizes. It is these small particles of oxidized LDL that can embed in your artery walls.

3. Get A Better Test The LDL number in your standard blood test is actually a measure of two different particles. A small particle LDL that is dense and embeds/adheres to artery walls, and a large LDL particle that poses no known risk to your long-term health. When you get the standard cholesterol test, it does not separate these two numbers. If your LDL is “out-of-gauge” with HDL, it may be worth talking to your doctor about the simple blood test that can separate out the two LDL numbers. Knowing which LDL is high can better allow you and your doctor to understand your risk for heart disease and other long-term health issues. Additionally, LDL is perfectly acceptable if it exists in that right ratio to HDL. The Mayo Clinic and others identify this optimal ratio as less than 3.5-to-1. Understanding your cholesterol numbers, and how they impact your health can help you better plot and navigate an effective plan to keep your arteries clear for life. This article is written for educational purposes and nothing in it constitutes medical advice. Emily Reiblein

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holesterol is critical for the building of healthy cells, producing hormones, vitamin D utilization, neurological function, and digestion. Cholesterol is also vital to brain health, securing memories and allowing our brains to continue growing and making connections. We would die if we do not have enough cholesterol to work these functions.

2. Lower Sugars and Up the Veggies If your numbers are out-of-whack, cut back or stop consuming voluminous amounts of added sugars and sugar-producing foods (i.e. breads, pastas and flour-based items). Ramp up your vegetable intake—they’re fiber and nutrient rich, and low in sugar.

Marine Log February 2017  
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