The PreD Blog

Eggs: Unscrambling the Cholesterol Concern

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race-can-raise-riskThis is not the first nor the last time the media has mixed up the dangers of cholesterol in blood with the cholesterol in foods. Although the most recent article about a major study that showed reducing high blood cholesterol lowers the risk of heart disease, it was not about eggs. Eggs get quite a bit of blame because they contain more cholesterol than most other foods, even though foods rich in saturated fat, like red meat, cheese and butter are the real problem. Its saturated fat in foods that have a greater effect on the average person’s bad cholesterol levels than the cholesterol in foods. Eating one egg a day raises LDL cholesterol by 4 points. To put that in perspective, you’d get a similar rise in LDL cholesterol if you ate 1 Tbs. of butter, which has 7 grams of saturated fat.

 

So how many eggs or egg yolks can you safely eat? I’d limit eggs to 4 to 5 eggs per week or choose cholesterol free egg whites instead. Watch out for saturated fat and resist the urge to cook eggs with butter topped with cheese and served with bacon. Try scrambling eggs with grape seed oil and toss in some spinach then top with salsa or avocado. The soluble fiber in spinach, salsa and avocado can help absorb excess cholesterol that your body does not need which can lower serum blood cholesterol. Pairing your eggs with high saturated fat foods can increase your LDL cholesterols even more.

 

Try purchasing USDA Organic omega-3 fortified eggs, which have six times the omega-3 of normal eggs. This is due to the fact that chickens are fed flax seeds, which imparts heart healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 into the eggs that they lay. It’s an easy and delicious way to get them in if you don’t get enough fish, walnuts or flax seeds into your diet on a regular basis.

 

What about the protein in eggs? It’s not so incredible and quite average. There are 6 grams of protein in each egg, which is similar to one serving of beans or ¼ cup of yogurt and only 3 grams of protein in egg whites. What is important to take from this is to get protein from a variety of foods whether its soy, fish, poultry, dairy, nuts, whole grains or beans. The nutrients and anti-oxidants these various protein sources contain absorb at different rates due to the amounts of fats and fiber that they contain. For example, our bodies prefer absorbing protein from a variety of foods because digestion and absorption of the protein in an egg may occur first because it is low in fat and fiber, but the protein absorption from avocado, nuts and beans will occur slower which can further replenish any deficiency the body needs because the protein is digested slower due to its higher fat and fiber content.

 

It’s not the egg that’s the problem with your cholesterol; it’s the saturated fat in foods that you pair with the eggs that can increase your LDL cholesterol. As far as protein goes, break out of your shell and choose a variety of protein sources besides eggs for better protein absorption and overall cardiovascular health.

Protein Quality and Variety Counts

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Picture of miniature cow shrinkwrapped in meat package

The building block to muscle is more than just proteins, its nutrients as well. A ‘high quality’ protein food is technically one that has all the amino acids you need, along with nutrients and healthy fats. These properties need to be available in a way that can easily be broken apart and reused by the body to nourish and strengthen it.

 

Protein is found in animal meats, such as red meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products as well as plant sources such as beans, lentils nuts seeds, whole grains and soy foods. Many plant sources are low in one or more essential amino acid but when you combine a variety of 3-5 brightly colored vegetables together, they can provide all nine of the amino acids on a protein chain. Eating a variety of ALL of these sources ensures that your body gets all the amino acids along with the nutrients it needs to build muscle, heal damaged cells, build new cells and maintain cell health and function.

 

The amount of protein a person needs depends a lot on age, size, gender and physical activity. With this said, there is no one size fits all recommendation. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends women get 40-60 grams of protein a day and men to get 50-70 grams of protein a day. The average American easily meets these goals according to Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, FAHA, FNLA, CLS, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State University. Even the most protein obsessed athlete at the peak of health can only absorb 20-30 grams of protein per meal. Excess protein intake can increase the work and stress on kidneys to filter and remove proteins that are not absorbed. Kwashiorkor is the name of the condition that refers to protein malnutrition. This condition is rare and mostly non-existent in America and only found in low-income countries almost entirely in small children as a result of fad diets, ignorance or in extreme cases of protein allergies or chronic disease.

 

Here are four ways to make sure you are getting a high quality protein source to maximize your nutrition and overall health.

 

  1. Include Variety
    • Eating a variety of proteins from plants and animals ensures you get not only all the necessary amino acids, but also the other nutrients such as fiber, phytochemicals and healthy fats your body needs.
  2. Go Lean
    • Choose lean, trimmed cuts of meat, high quality low-fat dairy and plenty of plant-based proteins such as whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and soy.
  3. Max Out on Plants
    • Even meat eaters should choose legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains more often to pack in health-promoting fiber, phytochemicals, nutrients and healthy fats. Although animal proteins are absorbed first, the body requires protein packed plant based foods to provide the ongoing nutrition and amino acids long after meat proteins are absorbed.
  4. Include Fish
    • Work toward including 3-5 servings of fish a week into your routine. This high quality protein also includes healthy fats, which help with muscle recovery, inflammation and hormone balance that all contribute to overall health and building muscle.

 

Aim for 3-7 servings of a variety of high quality proteins a day. Each serving is about 100 calories. One serving is 1 ounce of meat, poultry, dairy or fish, ¼ cup of cooked beans or tofu, ½ cup sprouted whole grains, 1 egg, 1-tablespoon peanut or almond butter, or ¼ cup of nuts or seeds. Include these high quality proteins with 5-8 servings of a variety of three to five different vegetables for the best protein sources and nutrition to build cell walls, muscle fibers, and enzymes for optimal health.

Tame Inflammation

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Family lifestyle

Low-grade inflammation can operate in stealth-mode for many years until it uncovers its ugly head as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease or diabetes. Stress, bad diet, lack of sleep and sugar all contribute to inflammation. Fight this underlying issue! Clients often notice a reduction in back pain, joint pain, skin inflammation and swelling after 10 days of incorporating these foods everyday. Add these six anti-inflammatory foods and take charge to reduce inflammation.

 

  1. Cruciferous Vegetables
    • Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts are linked with lower inflammation, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Besides the chemical properties that make cruciferous vegetables so powerful, its also packed with fiber that has resistant starches that help feed the micro bacteria flora in the gut which keeps beneficial bacteria in the gut healthy further inhibiting inflammation. Buy frozen varieties to always keep on hand and work these potent vegetables into soups, salads, pasta dishes, stir-fry and frittatas to help reduce painful joints, swelling, itching and other painful inflammation at bay.

 

  1. Whole Grains
    • Whole grains and the polyphenol antioxidants it contains along with zinc can help lower inflammation. Try sprouted versions, which are easier to digest and just as easy to use. Embellish vegetables with chewy cooked sprouted whole grains to reduce inflammation. Don’t be fooled by its refined counterpart, such as sugar, white flour and high fructose corn syrups, which actually feeds inflammation. Make sure the nutrition label 3-5 grams of dietary fiber per 100 calories to actually fit the definition of being a whole grain product. It’s easy to go overboard on whole grains so keep close to 3-5 servings per day to help you reach your weight loss goal.

 

  1. Legumes
  • Eating four servings of legumes such as low carb, high protein lentils can reduce inflammation. There’s a synergy of fiber, vitamins and minerals that explains this benefit. Add into soups, stews, salads and wraps or use as nutritious filler in burgers and meatloaf for extra protein and nutrients without the fat and cholesterol. Many consider legumes to be too starchy for consumption, but studies show that people who consume 2 cups of beans per week reduce their risk of all cancers by 30%. Choose less starchy varieties if your blood sugars are difficult to control. Enjoy legumes with less starchy vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats together at the same time to prevent blood sugar elevations.

 

  1. Salmon
    • Everyone is aware of the benefits of salmon but did you know that these fish contain a lot of eicosapentaenoic acid, a mega-healthy omega-3 fat that reduces inflammation. Wild caught is the best variety to buy. Use in tacos, wraps, breakfast frittatas, on sprouted grain toast with avocado, sandwiches and pasta and get them into your diet 3-5 times a week. Frozen vacuum packed varieties are frequently available and less expensive but consider canned or pre-cooked packets for convenience and use olive oil instead of heavy cloying mayo to make a salmon salad for lunch or dinner.

 

  1. Turmeric and Ginger
    • These potent tubers fight inflammation and are easy to add in your dishes. Toss roasted vegetables with turmeric, or add to curry sauces, carrot juice or sprinkle on eggs. Ginger has a potent flavor so use a little at a time in smoothies, stir-fry sauces, soups, salad dressings, sliced up to flavor tea, or add to vegetable juices for some zing. Once you get used to their flavor, you may want to keep them around and add them with a heavy hand to your cooking for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

 

  1. Nuts and Seeds
  • The benefits of pecans, walnuts and almonds have been touted in many articles but the anti-inflammatory giants of the nut world are Brazil nuts. Abundant in healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, their intake is associated with reduced inflammation and improved blood lipid ratios. Seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties. Add any variety chopped or whole and mix them up for a healthy mix to snack on with your veggies or top on salads. Try nut oils as well to change things up. Drizzle walnut oil on salads or get in the habit of using extra virgin olive oil as a staple in your home. These healthy fats contain oleocanthal, a naturally occurring compound with anti-inflammatory properties similar to ibuprofen.

Get Biomarker Tested To Prevent Future Disease

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Minority GroupOur advanced biomarker testing can help detect a disease-specific mechanism and help you intervene effectively before it becomes a full-blown health issue. Our blood panel testing includes biomarkers to track the function of organs such as the liver and kidneys, the immune and metabolic systems as well as inflammation and hormone levels as well. These tests could result in big medical savings for people in their future by addressing problems before they lead to long-term organ damage and symptoms that need medical treatment.

 

Previous research on twins has suggested that about 20% of aging can be attributed to genes, so there are many other factors that can be modified to affect the disease process. The important message that people need to understand is that what happens to people at the end of life has its roots early in life. Investments in your health right now will have big payoffs as we age.

 

Here are some of the biomarkers we test and what they indicate about your health.

 

Overall Fitness:

Measurements of BMI, cardiorespiratory fitness and resting metabolic rate

 

Cardiovascular Health:

Mean blood pressure, blood lipids such as cholesterol, triglycerides, apoliproteins, Homocysteine. VLDL cholesterol

 

Diabetes Risk:

Glycated hemoglobin, blood glucose, Insulin, proinsulin and proinsulin/insulin ratio, 2-hour glucose tolerance testing, HOMA-IR, C-peptide

 

Hormone Balance:

Thyroid stimulating hormone, Free T3, Free T4, Thyroid peroxidase, Estradiol, Leptin, Adiponectin, Cortisol, Progesterone, Luteinizing hormone, Follicle Stimulating hormone, Testosterone, Prostate-specific Antigen,

 

Kidney and Liver Function:

Tests to assess how well the body clears out normal waste products. Uric acid, Creatine Kinase, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

 

Inflammation:

White blood cell and C-Reactive Protein counts, Interleukin-6, Interleukin-8, Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha

 

Nutritional Deficiencies:

Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, Ferritin, Folic Acid

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