Tag Archives: LDL

Famous people born today – January 26

General Douglas MacArthur, Paul Newman, Angela Davis, Wayne Gretzky, Eddie Van Halen, Jules Feiffer and Ellen DeGeneres were all born on January 26.

Oh, yes, and one not so famous. It’s also my birthday. I am now 78 years old. I am happy to say that I feel great and am healthier than I was 20 years ago when I toiled in the working world.


This is my birthday picture from last year. It’s the only one I have that’s decorated.

This is from my birthday blog post last year:

One of the main reasons I feel like I have things so together is this blog. I started writing it in March of 2010 with a partner who has since left for other pursuits. From the beginning, I discovered a focus. At first it was simply trying to keep my weight down. I learned portion control and serving size. This Italian guy was surprised to learn that a “serving” of pasta was not a 10 inch plate heaped with spaghetti noodles smothered in tomato sauce. No, a serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Incredibly, that was a revelation to me. But I put the information to use. I began to reduce my portions accordingly. I am not going to recount all the lessons I learned in the past nearly eight years, but if you want to get control of your weight, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off. Continue reading


Filed under 78th birthday, aging, cholesterol, Exercise, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, successful aging

Coconut oil: Healthful or unhealthful? – MNT

Coconut oil has been all the rage for some time. Endorsed by a number of celebrities as a superfood, this tropical-smelling fat — often liberally applied to our skin and scalps — is a favorite of many. But the question remains: is it healthful or not?

Fat suffered a bad reputation for a long time and we were told to opt for low-fat options instead. But the tides turned eventually, prompting us to see fats in a new light.


Our lives became simpler. We learned how to avoid bad (saturated and hydrogenated) fats and eat good (unsaturated) ones to keep our tickers and arteries healthy.

Then the humble coconut came along in 2003, and the waters were once again muddied. Seen by some as a superfood but recently labeled by the American Heart Association (AHA) as part of the pool of unhealthful fats, the controversy goes on.

So, what are the scientific facts behind the coconut oil hype, and what are the latest developments?

Secret ingredient: ‘Medium-chain’ fatty acids

Many of the purported health claims surrounding coconut oil stem from research published in 2003 by Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Ph.D. — a professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia University in New York City, NY. Continue reading


Filed under cholesterol, coconut oil, HDL Cholesterol, high cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, medium chain fatty acids

How to Improve your Cholesterol Numbers

To begin with, what is cholesterol? WebMD says, “Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and other cells and found in certain foods, such as food from animals, like dairy products, eggs, and meat.”

The body needs some cholesterol to function properly, but you can have too much of this good thing. Too much cholesterol leads to plaque formations in the arteries which can cut into blood flow to the heart. Over time this can result in heart disease.


When you have bloodwork done and get cholesterol numbers, there are at least five of them. These are confusing to a lot of folks. My latest numbers included Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL and LDL Cholesterol and Non-HDL Cholesterol.

The number most people focus on is Total Cholesterol which is generally recommended to be around 200 or below. However, the total cholesterol number is not at all the most important. Here is why. You have two kinds of cholesterol in this series. The first is HDL – High Density Lipoprotein the second LDL -Low Density Lipoprotein.

Web MD says, “Low density lipoproteins (LDL): also called “bad” cholesterol, can cause buildup of plaque on the walls of arteries. The more LDL there is in the blood, the greater the risk of heart disease.

“High density lipoproteins (HDL): also called “good” cholesterol, helps the body get rid of bad cholesterol in the blood. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol, the better. If levels of HDL are low, the risk of heart disease increases.

In this simplified grouping, one can easily become confused. Bruce Fife, Publisher of the Healthy Ways Newsletter, says, “When people ask me about their cholesterol values I tell them to ignore total cholesterol and look at their cholesterol ratio. In every case, the cholesterol ratio improves when they start using coconut oil and their risk of heart disease drops.”

The Mayo Clinic says, “You can calculate your cholesterol ratio by dividing your high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol into your total cholesterol. For example, if your total cholesterol is 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) (5.2 millimoles per liter, or mmol/L) and your HDL cholesterol is 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L), your cholesterol ratio is 4-to-1.”

The American Heart Association says the goal is to keep your cholesterol ratio 5-to-1 or lower. The best ratio is 3.5-to-1. “A higher ratio indicates a higher risk of heart disease; a lower ratio indicates a lower risk.”

I have bloodwork done at least once a year and usually more often. I wrote about my last doctor visit in June of this year in What do you look for in a cholesterol report?

Here are my numbers from that visit.
197 Standard Range 0 – 200 mg/dL
46 Standard Range 50 – 150 mg/dL
85 Standard Range >=40   mg/dL
103 Standard Range 0 – 100 mg/dL
Non-HDL Cholesterol
112 Standard Range 0 – 130 mg/dL

My cholesterol ratio (see above) is 85 (HDL) divided into 197 (Total) for a 2.32 ratio, well below the recommended one.

WebMD recommends the following to lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease:

• Eat low-cholesterol foods. The American Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, limit daily intake to less than 200 milligrams. People can significantly lower their dietary cholesterol intake by keeping their dietary intake of saturated fats low and by avoiding foods that are high in saturated fat and that contain substantial amounts of dietary cholesterol.
• Quit smoking. Smoking lowers HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. This trend can be reversed if you quit smoking.
• Exercise. Exercise increases HDL cholesterol in some people. Even moderate-intensity activities, if done daily, can help control weight, diabetes, and high blood pressure — all risk factors for heart disease.
• Take medication as prescribed by your doctor. Sometimes making changes to your diet and increasing exercise is not enough to bring cholesterol down. You may also need to take a cholesterol-lowering drug.

Besides the four excellent recommendations on lowering your cholesterol from WebMD listed, I would like to add that I consume several tablespoons of coconut oil every day. I discovered coconut oil in April of this year and you can read about it on this Page Why you should include coconut oil in your diet. From April till June when I got my bloodwork done, I had begun to include coconut oil in my diet. I would have a tablespoon or two every morning. In addition, I also cooked with it whenever possible. You can see my recipe for Hawaiian pasta which I wrote about in May. I also use it for popcorn which I eat most nights. Although I have only had a couple of months of coconut oil consumption, I reduced my total cholesterol and increased HDL cholesterol and the important cholesterol ratio. Check it out. You might have good results, too.


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Filed under cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol