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Physical examination – how my diet and lifestyle effects my cholesterol and liver?

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posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:10 AM
A bit of background info:
I have been overweight most of my life for various reasons. These recent years I have managed to get my weight down, but more as a result of smoking cigarettes and stressing around, than as a result of healthy dieting. So I am aware that I am not very likely to be the healthiest person.

I recently had a physical examination, offered to me by my workplace. The test turned out more or less as I had expected. I should lose weight, something like 15 lb, should do some cardio, and should stop smoking. But I have a healthy figure, my blood pressure and heart rate is better than average and most noticeable is my liver numbers (Alanine transaminase) and my cholesterol levels which are of the chart, in the good way.

The desirable amount of cholesterol for an adult is less than 200 mg/dL.). But the average is more like 225 mg/dL which is considered borderline high, and if you go above 240 you have high Cholesterol.
Of this cholesterol, the average person has about 70% LDL (low density lipoprotein) which is considered to be the bad kind of cholesterol, and 30% HDL (high density lipoprotein) the good kind.

My cholesterol is about 170mg/lb, so far below the average for an adult male. Of this cholesterol almost 90% is the good kind. There was so little of the bad kind that it was immeasurable, at least with the equipment available at the exam. The nurse did the test twice to confirm it.

Regarding my liver, the average numbers are between 10-50 IU/L for an adult male, 5-38 IU/L for a female. The higher the numbers the more damage there is to the liver. A person my age would usually be at around 24-28 IU/L. I am at 4 IU/L, which is what you would normally read of a small child.

So, despite how unhealthy I thought I was, I seem to excel in these two specific areas, and I can’t help wonder why.
There are two reasons why the result can be what they are, genetics and diet. If this is due to genetics I guess all I can do is be thankful, however, if this is the result of my diet I am curious to find out what part it is, so that I can keep it up. So this is where I want your help.

According to Wikipedia, it is food which contains phytosterols are can effect ones cholesterol levels. But I suspect that there are still other chemical compounds that the scientific community is not aware of.

Dietary phytosterols
The richest naturally occurring sources of phytosterols are vegetable oils and products made from them. Nuts, which are rich in phytosterols, are often eaten in smaller amounts, but can still significantly contribute to total phytosterol intake. Cereal products, vegetables, fruit and berries, which are not as rich in phytosterols, may also be significant sources of phytosterols due to their higher intakes.[3] The intake of naturally occurring phytosterols ranges between ~150–450 mg/day[4] depending on eating habits. Specially designed vegetarian experimental diets have been produced yielding upwards of 700 mg/day.[5] The most commonly occurring phytosterols in the human diet are β-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol, which account for about 65%, 30% and 3% of diet contents, respectively.[6] The most common plant stanols in the human diet are sitostanol and campestanol, which combined make up about about 5% of dietary phytosterol.

The funny thing though is that I hardly eat any of those things. Vegetable oil, nuts, cereal, fruit and berries I will consume occasionally, but none of it is a regular part of my diet, so not very often. I do eat a lot of vegetables, but they don’t specify which kind in the article, and I don’t imagine it’s all of them.

Most noticeably in my diet and lifestyle is:

• I eat a carrot and a few tomatoes a day.
• I eat raisins most days of the week, and suspect that they might contain phytosterols.
• I drink a lot of freshly squeezed grape and orange juice.
• I eat eggplants and zucchinis all the time, and usually end up eating 4 of each a week.
• I usually eat fish or other seafoods a few times a week.
• I love milk and other dairy products, and can easily drink a liter of milk (quarter of a gallon) a day.
• I drink 1-2 cups of coffee a day.
• I smoke 2-4 cigarettes a day, usually one after each meal.
• I eat meat, but I’d imagine that almost half my meals could be considered vegetarian. This is not a conscious choice, but just how it is.
• I walk a lot. Preferably 45-60 minutes a day, since I don’t get too much exercise otherwise.
• I don’t drink alcohol or hard liquor. I am not fanatic about it, so I can have a glass of wine for dinner, but it usually only happens that I drink a few times a year. But this properly explains my liver numbers.
• I never eat candy. Not even as a child. I generally avoid sweet stuff, and food with too many additives.

The list does not represent my entire diet, but covers the extremes. What I eat most and what I never eat.
I think I got most of it in there.

I am not saying that my diet and lifestyle is the cause of my liver- and cholesterol numbers, at least not exclusively, since it might as well be due to genetics. I’ve personally always had the feeling that the eggplant worked wonders for me, but that is just guess work.

I hope someone might be able to share some expertise about cholesterol, and if there is any connection between it and (a) specific part(s) of my diet.

edit on 06/06/12 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)

edit on 06/06/12 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:22 AM
You cant mention what you have 2 of a day, I would edit before a mod comes and gives you some form of punishment.

Your diet sounds pretty healthy and you dont seem to smoke a great deal so I see no reason for your cholesterol to be high.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:26 AM
reply to post by lewman

Thank you for the warning.

It's not that my cholesterol isn't high, it is that it seems to be unusually low that I find curoius. I would have expected it to be about normal, perhaps a little bit above, due to the few extra pounds I carry around.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:33 AM
reply to post by Mads1987

Yeah I see the reasoning behind your thoughts but I would guess a few extra pounds of good food inside you would be better for you than being skinny and living off microwave meals.

Also I think genetics does help as my step father has high cholesterol and although he isnt skinny, he is by no means fat and my mother is a veggie who also eats fish (pescatarian or something but unsure on spelling),so he rarely eats red meat and gets plenty of omega 3 etc.. His father had the same problems and died from heart failure a couple of years ago.

Also the thing that shouldn't be mentioned on here will probably keep stress down which may help aswell, I like to think so atleast

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:42 AM
reply to post by lewman

Yeah - I think you have a point. Both with the quality of food and the genetics.
But as far as I am aware, both my mom and my dad have slightly elevated cholesterol. I know my mom does.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:55 AM
A good wine helps your blood and liver only 1 glass a day, also drinking no alcohol helps a lot because that helps your triglyceride levels.

Milk isn't too good for you, it contain puss a load of antibiotics made for cows and something called BGH (Bovine Growth Hormone) it also has been linked to these:
breast cancer
diabetes (both diabetes mellitus and juvenile diabetes)
kidney stones
heart disease
multiple sclerosis
rheumatoid arthritis

Milk is made for a baby calf to go from 80KG to 360 in 6 months! That is not good for any human digestion.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 06:57 AM

Originally posted by Mads1987
reply to post by lewman

Yeah - I think you have a point. Both with the quality of food and the genetics.
But as far as I am aware, both my mom and my dad have slightly elevated cholesterol. I know my mom does.

Cholesterol generally increases with age.

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 07:52 AM
reply to post by definity

You are right that cholesterol naturally increases with age, and that would explain my parents.

However, I am not sure I agree with you fully on the milk issue. I know that for many nationalities (about 60% of world population) large quantities of dairy products can be harmful, but we Scandinavians have an additional enzyme in our stomachs which allows us to process milk more efficient as adults. Also some African people, around Kenya, Sudan and Tanzania have a similar mutation.

Here is what wiki has to say:

Lactase persistence is the continued activity of the enzyme lactase in adulthood. Since lactase's only function is the digestion of lactose in milk, in most mammal species the activity of the enzyme is dramatically reduced after weaning.[1] However in some human populations lactase persistence has recently evolved[2] as an adaptation to the consumption of non-human milk and dairy products beyond infancy. The majority of people around the world remain lactase non-persistent,[1] and consequently are affected by varying degrees of lactose intolerance as adults – though not all genetically lactase non-persistent individuals are noticeably lactose intolerant, and not all lactose intolerant individuals have the lactase non-persistence allele.

edit on 06/06/12 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)

edit on 06/06/12 by Mads1987 because: (no reason given)

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