For my last Fit Friday column of 2012, I'd like to focus on some goals and tips to improve your health for the New Year. Forgive me if I wrote about them last year or the year before; they're still vital to good health.

Goal #1 for 2013: Don't Worry About Your Cholesterol

True or false: The people who live longest have higher cholesterol numbers.

Over 90 percent of people reading this will answer, empathetically, "FALSE!" But the answer is "true."

The statement that people with low cholersterol are more likely to die an untimely death due to heart disease than those with high cholesterol, will either be considered a misprint or an egregious lie.

But like every other wellness advice I've written about in the dozens of health articles I've had published, I'm referencing studies in peer-reviewed journals by medical doctors that have thankfully refused to be brainwashed. They bucked the ignorant trend and did their own independent studies, such as this one in the Journal of the American Medical Association disproving that cholesterol, the waxy substance our liver makes and recycles, is responsible for heart disease. 

I'm very selective about hyperlinks I click, in part, because, who has time to click them all? But if you really want to hear the truth from the proverbial horse's mouth about cholesterol, you need to read a relatively-short article by Uffe Ravnskov, M.D., Ph.D., called "The Benefits of High Cholesterol."

Choleseterol is a repair substance. It's an antioxidant that metabolizes into your sex hormones like testosterone. One reason older populations see their cholesterol levels rise is because the older we are, generally speaking, the more we need of this repair substance. It's a little insane to take a pill and ask your liver to make less of this critical, natural substance. It's sort of asking firefighters not to respond every time there's a structure fire. 

Essential for brain, muscle and cell function, cholesterol, back in the 1970s, had a 'normal' level of 240. U.S. consumers were then advised to eat a low-fat diet, which in turn, lead to the eating of more carbohydrates, many of them quickly converting to sugar and creating resistance to the blood-sugar-regulating-hormone, insulin.

It's no coincidence that as more simple carbohydrates  were eaten in the SAD (standard American diet; complex carbs, though better, are not necessarily off-the-hook and non-culpable), cholesterol levels began to climb.

And thus, doctors, perhaps (many would say 'definitely) under the influence of the pharmaceutical companies, began to revise their cholesterol suggested levels, which are now considered high if it's above 200. (If anything, pay attention to triglycerides, which should remain well below of 125.)

So don't be deatlhy afraid of cholesterol; be deathly afraid of low cholesterol.

(It's difficult to say for everyone what a danger zone would be but if total cholesterol were below 150, I'd consult with a naturopathic doctor who knows the truth when it comes to cholesterol.). 

If you don't want to raise your cholesterol levels, keep sugar, starches and alcohol as to a minimum.

Goal #2: Eliminate foods that quickly convert into sugar

As a continuation of the first goal, this one, I know all too well from self-experimention: every time I've come down with a cold or allergy attack, in the preceding several days, I overindulged in sugar. Sugar is an immunocompromiser. 

Being a compromiser might be good if you're in politics--or married, but you don't want your immunity compromised. Simple sugars that are in baked goods and candy, etc... quickly convert into sugar. For the new year, eat foods that convert into sugar very, very slowly. In the winter, sweet potatoes and squash are enjoyed as comfort food, but eat a lot of them, with little of high-quality protein and natural fat, and you're plate of these popular winter veggies will rapidly convert to sugar, and thus can impair your immune system. Eating plenty of natural sources of fats will help slow conversion so eat plenty of them. Remember: There are 9 calories in one gram of fat versus 4 calories in one gram of carbs. 

So yes, fat is more than twice as dense and caloric as carbohydrates but with good quality fats you'll need to eat less of it than you would carbohydrates to feel full.

Goal #3: Cook more, eat out less

A personal goal of mine is to cook more at home. I know I feel energetically better and mentally  when I cook at home. When I eat out, even if I order a seemingly and relatively-healthy dish, say a veggie omelet loaded with spinach, brocolli, and a bit of feta cheese, I have no control of the oils that are used. 

At home, I know the grass-fed butter and/or coconut oil or olive oil I cook with is good for my health unlike the canola oil or cheap vegetable oil that most resaurants use, which become molecularly unstable when cooked, thus potentially leading to oxidation/free-radical damage to my cells and arteries. 

Goal #4: Get up at least once every 2 hours during the day and do one exercise to get the blood pumping. 

Even people hit the gym every day for a 90-minute workout are not operating at optimal health if for the rest of the day until they go to sleep, they are highly sedentary. Get out of your chair, jog in place, go for a walk, crank out a set of pushups, anything to get your blood pumping. 

Follow these four pieces of advice and 2013 will be a healthy year for you. 






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