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Work It Off Fitness

FREE FIT tomorrow at 8am. Let's start November off with a bang!!

Butts n Gutts tonight at 6:30. Tonight's class will be open to the public for a $5 drop-in cost. Spread the word

Warm Up
5 3-count Groiners
5 Burpee to Boxjumps
5 Thrusters
Repeat 4 times...good luck!

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Here's another great recipe if you're a Quest Bar lover...Chocolate Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies.
Hiding inside these delicious #CheatClean cookies is a delightful chocolate surprise.

1 Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar, cut into 8 or 10 pieces
Dough Ingredients:
1 cup natural PB
1.5 scoops protein powder (I used Cellucor PB marshmallow and Chocolate Dymatize, which is part casein)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons liquid egg white
3 packets granulated stevia
1/4 cup PB chips
1/4 cup Lily’s no-sugar chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350
Mix the dough ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon. Mixture will be thick. Form into 8-10 balls. Press one piece of the Quest bar into the center of each cookie and roll with hands until it’s fully inside. Place on a nonstick cookie sheet (a silpat is ideal). Bake for 10-11 minutes. They will be soft and gooey and delicious!
Nutritionals (makes 8): Calories: 230. Fat 12g. Active Carbs: 9g (5g fiber, 2g sugar) Protein 13g.

Arm assault day
Heavy Quad Sets...5 sets of the following:
Straight Bar Curls x8
Skull Crushers x8
Alt. Dumbbell Curls x8
Heavy Straight Bar Push Downs x12
Volume Quad Sets...5 sets of the following:
Straight Bar Preacher Curl x20
Bench Dips x20
Reverse Curls x20
Straight Bar Push Down x20
Unique Exercise Finishers...5 sets of the following:
Body Weight Tricep Rope Press x15
Alt. Incline Curls x6
Rep Hold Tricep Rope Push Downs x8

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The No. 1 Way to Keep Metabolism Soaring Post-Workout

You know that your metabolism gets a big boost during exercise. That's why you burn more calories by running than by sitting. But there are ways to trick your metabolism into running strong all day long, even hours after you exercise. Metabolism consists of hormones and enzymes that convert food into fuel. This fuel provides the energy the body needs to do daily tasks like thinking, all the way through to more active tasks like biking or yoga. When your metabolism is working at its peak — such as when you're running at your race pace on a treadmill — you are creating and using energy more efficiently. As your body plows through those calories, you'll lose weight faster and streamline your journey to a fitter physique.

So how do you keep your metabolism cranking after you've untied your shoes, showered, and settled in at your desk? It's all about those first moments after your workout, says Paul Arciero, EdD, a professor of exercise and nutrition at Skidmore College and director of the school's Human Nutrition and Metabolism Lab. "The best trick to keep your metabolism high after you work out is eating 20 to 30 grams of protein, preferably whey," he says.

Protein takes more energy for your body to digest and absorb than other types of food: you may burn 25 percent of the protein calories you consume just by eating. After eating protein, your body will stay in overdrive, which means you'll process more calories more quickly in the minutes and hours to come. Also, protein helps your body build more muscle, and the more lean body mass you have, the higher your metabolism burns. Whey protein is one of the most easily absorbed types of protein, which is why Arciero is such an advocate of the stuff.

Of course, what you do during your workout can also affect how well your body burns calories later in the day. Arciero suggests sprint workouts to really maximize your post-workout metabolic boost. Intervals — such as alternating one minute all out and one minute of recovery — send your metabolism soaring as you exercise and keep it running strong for hours afterward, too. Follow an interval fitness session with a protein-rich snack, such as a whey protein smoothie, for the ultimate metabolism jump start.

9 Best Kettlebell Exercises for a Strong and Powerful Lower Body

Kettlebell Swing
The fundamental kettlebell exercise, the Swing strengthens your glutes and alleviates back pain. It also teaches the hip hinge, a fundamental movement pattern that is essential for Deadlift and Squat technique.
How to:
• Assume a quarter-squat stance holding a kettlebell with both hands between your legs.
• Keeping arms your straight, forcefully extend your hips to swing the kettlebell forward and up, until it reaches about chin height.
• Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.
• Lower and repeat.

Kettlebell Goblet Squat
The Goblet Squat simultaneously teaches perfect Squat form and increases lower-body strength.
How to:
• Grab the kettlebell by the "horns" and hold it upside down at your chest. Tuck your elbows at your sides.
• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, pointing slightly out.
• Keeping your chest up, bend your hips and knees to lower into a Squat until your elbows touch your thighs.
• Drive through your heels to stand up.

Kettlebell Lateral Goblet Lunge
This exercise offers benefits similar to the Goblet Squat, but it works the muscles used when moving from side to side.
How to:
• Grab the kettlebell by the "horns" and hold it upside down at your chest. Tuck your elbows at your sides.
• Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
• Keeping your chest up, take an exaggerated step out to the side.
• Lower into a Side Lunge until your elbow touches your thigh.
• Drive through your heel to stand up.

Kettlebell Front Squat
A more advanced Squat variation than the Goblet Squat, this exercise is used by athletes who lack wrist mobility as a substitute for the barbell Front Squat.
How to:
• Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding the kettlebells at your shoulders so they sit on the outside of your wrists. Tuck your elbows to your sides.
• Keeping your chest up, bend your hips and knees to lower into a Squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
• Drive through your heels to stand up.

Kettlebell Reverse Lunge to Single-Arm Press
This exercise builds leg and hip strength, and the load on only one side of your body increases hip stability and core strength. Finally, the press overhead develops your shoulders.
How to:
• Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding a kettlebell at your right shoulder so it sits on the outside of your wrist. Tuck your elbow to your side.
• Take an exaggerated step backward and lower into a lunge until your front thigh is parallel to the ground; keep your front knee behind your toes.
• Press the kettlebell overhead.
• Lower the kettlebell to your shoulder and drive through your front leg to stand up to the starting position.

Kettlebell Clean
Olympic lifts like the Power Clean are complex and difficult to learn. The Kettlebell Clean is a safe and effective alternative.
How to:
• Assume an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettlebell in one hand between your knees.
• Hinge your hips and slightly bend your knees to swing the kettlebell between your legs.
• Extend your hips and knees to drive the kettlebell up; allow momentum to carry it up, keeping it close to your body.
• Catch the kettlebell at your shoulder so it sits on the outside of your wrist with your elbow tucked to your side.

Kettlebell Snatch
Similar to the Clean, the Kettlebell Snatch is a safer variation of the barbell Snatch. Yet it still teaches your lower body to generate power.
How to:
• Assume an athletic stance with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a kettlebell in one hand between your knees.
• Hinge your hips and slightly bend your knees to swing the kettlebell between your legs.
• Extend your hips and knees to drive the kettlebell up; allow momentum to carry it up and over your shoulder, keeping it close to your body.
• Punch your fist to the ceiling to flip the kettlebell over your hand as it travels overhead. Hold for one second.
• Lower the kettlebell to your shoulder and then to the starting position.

Turkish Get-Up
You can’t overlook the lower-body strengthening capability of the Get-Up. In one movement, you perform a Bridge, Forward Lunge and Reverse Lunge.
How to:
• Lie on the ground holding a kettlebell with your right hand overhead, your right knee bent and your opposite arm extended to your side. Fix your eyes on the kettlebell.
• Slowly sit up by shifting your weight to your left elbow and then your hand.
• Drive through your left hand and right heel to extend your hips and raise your body into a bridge position.
• Swing your left leg under your body and assume a kneeling position.
• Drive though your right heel and stand up.
• Return to start position through same movement pattern with control.

Single-Leg Kettlebell RDL to Clean and Press
This combines three exercises that help you develop glute strength, lower-body power and upper-body strength. And it's all done on one leg, which improves balance and stability.
• Balance on your right leg and hold a kettlebell in your right hand.
• With your balancing leg slightly bent and back flat, bend forward at your waist until the kettlebell is just above the floor.
• Extend your hip to stand up and simultaneously clean the kettlebell to your shoulder.
• Press the kettlebell overhead.
• Lower in control to the starting position.

Vitamin D and Exercise
Athletic performance is determined by multiple factors, including both genetic and environmental influences. The former have gotten significant attention recently with many questions still unanswered. Similarly, environmental factors, while well recognized as having the potential to impact athletic ability, have only a limited scientific basis. It is well recognized that vitamin D plays an important role in bone health and calcium regulation. However, recent evidence points to a possible role for vitamin D in regulation of the immune system and skeletal muscle function. Therefore, vitamin D has the potential to impact overall health, training, and performance in athletes. In fact, vitamin D has been proposed as a potential limiting factor on athletic performance when in deficiency, and as a possible performance enhancer when present in abundance (Cannell). This article will briefly review vitamin D; its sources and synthesis, role in overall health, status in athletes and athletic performance, and recommendations for assessment and supplementation.

Sources and synthesis
Vitamin D is a hormone found in the body in 2 forms. Ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2, is present in plants and some fish. Cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3, is synthesized in the skin by sunlight. Humans can meet their vitamin D requirements by either consuming vitamin D or being exposed to the sun for enough time to produce adequate amounts. Vitamin D controls calcium absorption in the small intestine and works with parathyroid hormone to mediate skeletal mineralization and maintain calcium homeostasis in the blood stream. In addition, recent epidemiologic studies have observed relationships between low vitamin D levels and multiple disease states, probably caused by its anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties and possible affects on cytokine levels.

Vitamin D3 is synthesized from 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin. The vitamin D binding protein transports the vitamin D3 to the liver where it undergoes hydroxylation to 25(OH)D (the inactive form of vitamin D) and then to the kidneys where it is hydroxylated by the enzyme 1-α-hydroxylase to 1,25(OH)D, its active form. This enzyme is also present in a variety of extrarenal sites, including osteoclasts, skin, colon, brain, and macrophages, which may be the cause of its broad-ranging effects. The half-life of vitamin D in the liver is approximately 3 weeks, which underscores the need for frequent replenishment of the body's supply.

Vitamin D3 can be manufactured in the skin by way of ultraviolet (UV) B rays. UVB rays are present only during midday at higher latitudes and do not penetrate clouds. The time needed to produce adequate vitamin D from the skin depends on the strength of the UVB rays (ie, place of residence), the length of time spent in the sun, and the amount of pigment in the skin. Tanning beds provide variable levels of UVA and UVB rays and are therefore not a reliable source of vitamin D.

Natural dietary sources of vitamin D include salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna, cod liver oil, shiitake mushrooms, and egg yolk. Fortified foods include milk, orange juice, infant formulas, yogurts, butter, margarine, cheeses, and breakfast cereals. Given concern about skin cancer, many patients and doctors are cautious regarding sun exposure recommendations. However, exposure of arms and legs for 5 to 30 minutes between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM twice a week can be adequate to prevent vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D and overall health
While it is well recognized that vitamin D is necessary for optimal bone health, emerging evidence is finding that adequate vitamin D intake reduces risk for conditions such as stress fracture, total body inflammation, infectious illness, and impaired muscle function. Vitamin D plays an important role in bone metabolism and seems to have some anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. In addition, recent epidemiologic studies have observed relationships between low vitamin D levels and multiple disease states (Hollick). Low vitamin D levels are associated with increased overall and cardiovascular mortality, cancer incidence and mortality, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (Hollick). Although it is well known that the combination of vitamin D and calcium is necessary to maintain bone density as people age, vitamin D may also be an independent risk factor for falls among the elderly.

Vitamin D status in athletes and performance
Studies in athletes have found that vitamin D status is variable and is dependent on outdoor training time (during peak sunlight), skin color, and geographic location. It was shown quite some time ago that seasonal performance within the northern hemisphere varies with peak performance occurring during the late summer months and then declining to a low point during the winter (Hettinger). Although research has found that athletes generally do not meet the U.S. dietary reference intake for vitamin D, inadequate endogenous synthesis is the most probable reason for insufficient/deficient status.

Muscle pain and weakness are well-documented but frequently forgotten symptoms of vitamin D deficiency that improve with vitamin D supplementation (Hollick). Recent evidence from both animal and in vitro studies suggest that vitamin D is important for calcium handling across the muscle?s sarcolemma as well as expression of proteins necessary for muscle contraction (Barker et al). Although no conclusive studies in athletes have been published on vitamin D status and muscle performance, there are some intriguing data from the Russian and German literature suggesting that UVB exposure leads to a positive impact on athletic performance (Larson-Meyer et al). Two recent studies involving non-athletic adolescent females found a positive association between serum 25(OH)D concentration and both aerobic fitness (Foo) and jump height, velocity, and power (Ward). Most cross-sectional studies show that 25(OH)D levels are directly associated with musculoskeletal performance in older individuals. The vast majority of randomized controlled trials, again mostly in older individuals, show that vitamin D improves physical performance. While arguments for and against vitamin D supplementation exist, additional research is required to determine whether vitamin D supplementation is beneficial to athletes and in particular, under which conditions and for which athletes is it most beneficial. In a recent randomized, controlled trial supplementation with 20 000 and 40 000 IU vitamin D(3) over a 6-week period elevated serum 25[OH]D concentrations above 50 nmol/l, but neither dose given for 12 weeks improved our chosen measures of physical performance (1-repetition maximum bench press and leg press and vertical jump height) (Close).

Supplementation Recommendations
Treatment recommendations vary depending on the cause of the deficiency. For example, patients with chronic kidney disease are recommended to have 1000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. The expected blood level response to a given vitamin D dose varies, probably because of differences in the cause of the deficit as well as the starting point for correction. To prevent vitamin D deficiency in healthy patients, the 2010 Institute of Medicine recommendations suggested a daily vitamin D intake of 600 IU for males and females from ages 1-70 y; and 800 IU for adults older than 70 y. The upper limit recommended was 4000 IU daily. However, some experts consider this to be too low and recommend that children and adults without adequate sun exposure consume 800 to 1000 IU daily to achieve adequate serum vitamin D levels. Over-the-counter multivitamin supplements frequently contain 400 IU of vitamins D1, D2, or D3. Alternatively, over-the-counter vitamin D3 supplements can be found in 400, 800, 1000, and 2000 IU strengths. Prescription-strength supplementation choices include vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which provides 50,000 IU per capsule, and vitamin D2 liquid (drisdol) at 8000 IU/mL.

The idea that dietary supplements can improve athletic performance is popular among athletes. The use of antioxidant supplements is widespread among endurance athletes because of evidence that free radicals contribute to muscle fatigue during prolonged exercise. Furthermore, interest in vitamin D supplementation is increasing in response to studies indicating that vitamin D deficiency exists in athletic populations. The issue of whether athletes should supplement with vitamin D is somewhat controversial. Nevertheless, based upon the growing evidence that many athletic populations are vitamin D deficient or insufficient, it is recommended that athletes monitor their serum vitamin D concentration and consult with their health care professional and/or nutritionist to determine if they would derive health benefits from vitamin D supplementation. Given the recent findings, it may beneficial to help athletes achieve a serum 25(OH)D concentration of >or=32 and preferably >or=40 ng/mL. Further research is needed to determine the effect of vitamin D status on injury, training, and performance in athletes.

EAS Nutrition Research

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Recover Right
Sports nutrition experts agree that what you do after a workout is just as important as what you do during a workout.  Proper recovery nutrition is the key to realizing your goals and reaping the benefits from your workout.  Replenishing and refueling supports muscle growth and repair, helps to decrease core temperature, replaces muscle carbohydrate stores (glycogen), rehydrates and will help you take your performance to the next level.   Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about recovery.  

Why do I need to eat after a workout?

After you workout, your insulin levels are low, stress hormones are elevated, muscle and liver glycogen has gone down, muscle breakdown is increased, and fuel and fluid levels are likely depleted.  Left unattended, this post-exercise environment can lead to increased muscle soreness, extended fatigue and low energy.  In order to avoid these consequences and enhance performance, recovery nutrition is a priority. 

By eating after your workout, you can turn the body’s post-exercise responses into gains.    

Recovery eating:
Increases blood insulin 
Lowers stress hormone levels 
Restores muscle and liver glycogen
Slows muscle breakdown and promotes protein synthesis
Refuels and rehydrates

When should I eat and drink for recovery? 

Your body is ready to recover and replenish glycogen stores immediately after you exercise.  Don’t miss this window of opportunity – try to eat within 30 minutes of finishing your workout (15-30 grams of protein and 40-60 grams of carbohydrate) and again in 2 to 3 hours to maximize glycogen replacement.

What should I eat?  

For both endurance and strength workouts, carbohydrates and protein are the macronutrients you need and fluid will help you rehydrate:  
Carbohydrates:  0.5-1.0 grams/kilogram body weight carbohydrate*
Protein:  20-25 grams protein 
Fluid/water should be replaced at 2 to 3 cups per every pound of body weight lost during exercise (measure your body weight pre-exercise for comparison)
*Body weight LB / 2.2 X 0.5 = grams of carbohydrates; body weight LB / 2.2 X 1.0 = grams of carbohydrates

Examples of 25-30 grams of carbs 
1 cup juice or 1 large piece of fruit
1 small bagel or 2 slices of bread
2 cups of milk
1 cup of rice or corn
2 cups of sports drink
1 packet energy gel
EAS® Myoplex Original and Lite Powder and Ready-to-Drink and varieties of Myoplex Bars

Examples of 20-25 grams of protein
3 eggs, 6 egg whites
2 cups of milk
¾ cup of cottage cheese
3 cups of yogurt
3 oz. chicken, fish, pork or beef
3 oz. of cheese (except cream cheese)
6 T. peanut butter
24 oz. soy milk
Protein drinks and powders (typically 10-45 g/serving)

A Registered Dietitian or a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics can assess your unique needs and provide you with personalized guidance. 

American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, American College of Sports Medicine.  Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance.  J Am Diet Assoc. 2009;109:509-527.
American Dietetic Association. Sports Nutrition: A Practice Manual for Professionals (4th ed.). 2006.

Please read this great article on Cholesterol by Precision Nutrition 

"All About Cholesterol: Understanding nutrition's most controversial molecule".

It’s often made out to be the bad guy in today’s medical world.  But cholesterol is an important molecule in the body.  With the right diet and exercise program, you can put the power of cholesterol to work for you.  No appointments to see your doc required.

What is high cholesterol?
Do you have a liver? Then you produce cholesterol.
Our liver produces anywhere from 1-2 grams of cholesterol per day. Production can decrease when we eat cholesterol-rich foods and increase when we eat foods without cholesterol.

Cholesterol’s name comes from the Greek words kholē, or bile (since it was first isolated from gallstones), and stereos, or solid, which indicates that it’s part of a class of molecules that are known collectively as sterols. (The term “steroids” comes from this common root.)
Cholesterol is necessary to produce vitamin D, steroid hormones, and bile acids. It’s also a component of cell membranes.

Cholesterol is fatty and doesn’t mix well with blood, so it travels in our blood via a protein “wrapper” known as a lipoprotein (the prefix “lipo” is similar to “lipid”, and both come from the Greek lipos, meaning fat).
We often hear about HDL and LDL cholesterol — these actually aren’t “cholesterols” per se but rather the protein “wrappers” that transport the cholesterol.

HDL, aka high-density lipoprotein, aka “good cholesterol”, mops up excess cholesterol and brings it to the liver for disposal.

LDL, aka low-density lipoprotein, aka “bad cholesterol”, also has an important job: it transports cholesterol and fat from the liver to the rest of the body.
LDL’s bad rep occurs because it’s also the main ingredient in vessel plaque. 

LDL cholesterol seems to be the most problematic when it comes to heart and vessel health, as it’s fragile and susceptible to oxidation. Oxidation is bad news.

Another lipoprotein, called Lp(a), can help restore damaged blood vessels in a healthy body. But some people have too much Lp(a), and it can concentrate at the damaged artery sites, leading to plaque buildup.

Why is high cholesterol so important?
There appears to be an association between elevated cholesterol and risk of premature death from cardiovascular disease. 

210 mg/dl is the average cholesterol level for those in developed countries. This level predicts a 50% chance of premature death due to atherosclerosis. Bummer.
Going from 200 mg/dl to 260 mg/dl bumps up chance of death by 500%. The Framingham study showed that no one has died of cardiovascular disease while having a cholesterol level below 150 mg/dl.

Just getting blood cholesterol right under 200 mg/dl might not be enough. 35% of heart attacks that occurred in the Framingham study were in those with “normal” cholesterol, between 151 mg/dl and 200 mg/dl.

Some have argued that the association between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, part of a theory of heart disease known as the lipid hypothesis, is minimal at best.
Still, other experts have stated that maintaining a low cholesterol level (less than 150 mg/dL) can protect us against cardiovascular disease.

“Regularly maintaining a cholesterol level of less than 150 mg/dl makes one practically heart attack proof and insures against further progression of the disease.” –Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn

“Heart disease is virtually unknown in regions where cholesterol is under 150.” –Dr. T. Colin Campbell

“Only a cholesterol level below 150 is satisfactory.” –Dr. Joel Fuhrman

“We’ve never had a heart attack in Framingham in 35 years in anyone who had a cholesterol level under 150…Three-quarters of the people who live on the face of this Earth never have a heart attack. They live in Asia, Africa, and South America, and their cholesterols are all around 150.”
–Dr. William Castelli

“Heart disease is almost non-existent in places where blood cholesterol is very low. If your cholesterol is around 160 mg/dl or less, your risk of heart disease is virtually zero.”
–Dr. Terry Shintani

Gosh, it seems like lower is always better. Not so fast.
Some data indicate that low cholesterol levels are associated with depression and cerebral hemorrhage.
And consider the Greek island of Crete. Not a single heart attack was registered among a half million people during a ten year study period. Yet, the average citizen of Crete has a cholesterol level above 200. This might be due to the protective effect of unprocessed fats (think Mediterranean diet).

While cholesterol seems to play an important role in cardiovascular disease, it’s definitely not the only factor involved.

So what’s the point of cholesterol?
Cholesterol has a number of important metabolic functions, as described above.
A higher cholesterol intake might be associated with greater muscle growth.
Why? Well, cholesterol is the precursor to important anabolic hormones that are related to muscle growth/repair.
Cholesterol is also the basis for other reproductive hormones such as other androgens and estrogens. (Short version: no cholesterol, no sex hormones.)
Cholesterol is an essential component of biological membranes and helps to increase membrane viscosity, which increases the exposure of membrane proteins to compounds coming in from outside the cell.

What you should know about high cholesterol
1 in 3 North Americans has high cholesterol and 200 million prescriptions for cholesterol lowering drugs were written in 2008.

We know that cholesterol levels can be managed by nearly everyone via nutrition and lifestyle modifications, so why do millions use cholesterol lowering drugs? Because it takes work to control cholesterol.

And perhaps because the production and sale of statin drugs is one of the most lucrative pharmaceutical markets. Statin drugs are one of the top two selling drug classes in the US. (The other is drugs to combat gastro-esophageal reflux disease, or GERD.) With the exception of generic lovastatin (about $30/month), depending on the type of statin, consumers can pay $70-150 per month for a prescription… often for life.

(Statins and reflux drugs… kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?)

Some nutrition/lifestyle data have indicated a 40% drop in LDL over the course of one year. So, if your LDL is 150 mg/dl and you incorporate the recommendations in this article, one year from today, your LDL could be 90 mg/dl.

Take that, statins.

How to control blood cholesterol

Let’s outline what we can do to control blood cholesterol.
#1: Get and stay lean
The eyeball test is sufficient here – if someone looks fat, they are fat.
Gaining bodyfat will likely increase blood cholesterol. If body fat decreases, cholesterol will too.

#2: Eat at least 10 servings of vegetables and fruits each day
There are countless substances in food that have cholesterol lowering properties. Many are found in vegetables and fruits.
If you really want to make a dent in your cholesterol, aim for about 90% of your food intake each day to be from vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains and nuts/seeds.

#3: Eat at least 1 cup of whole grains each day
Eating whole grain foods is associated with a 15 to 25% reduction in premature death from all causes. In fact, researchers found that those who ate 6 or more servings of whole grains a week had less plaque in their arteries that those who ate whole grains less often. Eating 3 or more serving of whole grains each day means a 30% lower risk of atherosclerotic disease.
We speak only of WHOLE grains; processed carbs will cause your HDL to take a nose dive.

#4: Eat at least 1 cup of legumes each day
Legumes are fiber rich. Fiber binds to cholesterol in the digestive tract. Take that, bile acid sequestrants.

#5: Eat at least 1/3 cup of nuts/seeds each day
Clearly, you’d want raw instead of the sugared/roasted variety. These nutrition powerhouses are seriously cholesterol lowering.

#6: Eat/supplement with omega-3s (algae or fish oils)
Foods and supplements with omega-3 fats have been reported in several large clinical studies to reduce LDL levels.

#7: Exercise at least 5 hours per week
Sweat for at least 5 hours each week. Mix it up between resistance training, conditioning, and flexibility.
This is one of the few ways to boost HDL.

#8: Eat plenty of herbs and spices
This includes ginger, garlic, and curcumin. Ginger can increase circulation and curcumin can block cholesterol uptake in the gut.
Even cocoa can help. Flavonoid rich chocolate can decrease LDL, increase HDL, and reduce platelet stickiness. See All About Chocolate for more.

#9: Limit meat, processed foods, trans fats and dairy
Lots of meat and trans fat seem to be a bad deal for blood cholesterol. Some grass-fed, organic type of meat is fine, but if the factory raised stuff is the foundation of your diet, you may run into cholesterol issues. For trans fat, processed foods and dairy – aim for as little as possible to maximize your cholesterol control.

#10: Drink at least 4 cups of tea each day
Tea can help to lower blood cholesterol, reduce arterial plaque, improve blood vessel function, and decrease lipid oxidation. If you drink coffee or soda, aim for the lower caffeine varieties. Caffeine can increase cholesterol levels by nearly 10%.

Finally, if you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start. If you do, only use it in small amounts, see All About Alcohol for more.

A note on supplements

With all supplements, don’t run out to the vitamin store and fill your pockets. Chat with your doc first and consider what you really need.

Red rice yeast extract – This stuff actually contains the same ingredient found in statin drugs. This should be taken under your doctor’s supervision – powerful stuff. 600 to 1200 mg twice a day with food.

Omega-3 oils – Anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting. They can also help to convert small dense LDL particles into larger buoyant versions. That’s a good thing. 1 to 4 grams a day.

Niacin (vitamin B3) – This can increase HDL while decreasing LDL and Lp(a). Watch out for niacin-induced flushing, which is the result of vasodilatation. Decrease the flushing by taking the niacin with food or a small dose of aspirin. Too much B3 can cause liver stress and toxicity. 500 to 2000 mg daily with food.

L-carnitine – This stuff can help to control Lp(a). 1 gram twice per day can be helpful.

Plant sterols/stanols –These are found naturally in many plant foods and can trap dietary cholesterol in the gut, so it’s best to consume them with meals. We get approximately 200-500 mg of sterols and 20-60 mg of stanols in the average diet. Many foods are now being fortified with them (e.g., orange juice, margarine, etc.). 2 grams of sterols/stanols per day might be effective.

A note about dietary cholesterol

Dietary cholesterol has minimal impact on blood cholesterol for most individuals. In general, eggs don’t seem to have a negative effect on blood cholesterol measures. Omega-3 eggs might even have a beneficial effect since they improve key blood proteins and decrease blood glucose.

Extra credit
If you decrease your LDL cholesterol by 1%, you decrease your chance of cardiovascular death by 2% to 3%.
If you increase your HDL by 1 mg/dl, you decrease your chance of cardiovascular death by 2% to 3%.
In those who eat a plant-based diet, a high potassium/manganese ratio can bump up blood cholesterol. Extremely low levels of sodium can also contribute to an increased LDL.
Some experts claim that nearly all people over the age of 40 who are sedentary and eat a Standard American Diet are found to have a significant amount of atherosclerosis in their coronary arteries.
In 2007:
More than one million coronary angioplasties were performed in the U.S.
More than 400,000 coronary bypass operations were performed in the U.S.
The cost was more than $100 billion
Plant sterols have now been found in atherosclerotic plaques – which might be a bad thing.

A Harvard-led study author reported:
“High triglycerides alone increased the risk of heart attack nearly three-fold. And people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL — the “good” cholesterol — had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio of triglycerides to HDL in the study of 340 heart attack patients and 340 of their healthy, same age counterparts. The ratio of triglycerides to HDL was the strongest predictor of a heart attack, even more accurate than the LDL/HDL ratio (Circulation 1997;96:2520-2525).”
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