Healthy Heart – Healthy Cholesterol


Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom

Coronary heart disease is currently the leading cause of death among adult males in the US. It was actually a rare disease before the 1900s. What were the big changes that caused a rare disease to become the leading killer?

After WW II, there was a big change in the way Americans ate. We shifted away from eating lots of naturally raised meats, veggies and fruits to consuming large quantities of processed foods.

What’s so bad about processed food? Processed foods tend to be loaded with sugars, refined carbohydrates, preservatives, chemicals and poor quality oils such as corn and soy bean oils. All of the above have been found to increase inflammation which increases heart attacks and strokes.

How does Cholesterol fit into the equation? Well, eating high quality oils like coconut oils, increase the HDL (“good cholesterol”). Eating high quality oils such as Avocado and Olive oils have been shown to support healthy cholesterol. Avoiding Trans-fats, Corn and Soy oil which have been found to increase heart attacks and strokes through inflammation. Sugars and grains have been found to change the “good” cholesterol to bad cholesterol.

Things we can eat to reduce inflammation. Eat more vegetables especially dark leafy green vegetables. They are full of fiber and nutrients. Add in herbs that reduce inflammation. Most herbs reduce inflammation but herbs such as turmeric have been found to have an especially beneficial effect in the long term on inflammation in the body. Teas such as green tea, oolong and white tea have been found to be beneficial.

We are at a transition point in a new understanding in heart disease. In the meantime, we can reduce our inflammation through diet along with exercise to greatly improve our health.

Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at or at