Diets for Cholesterol Management

January 8, 2022

One half of the adult population struggles with cardiovascular disease and today we’ll touch on how cholesterol plays a role in heart health. We’ll discuss the damaging effects of inflammation as well as cover foods that cause that harmful inflammation and the foods that reduce inflammation. We help clients maintain a normal cholesterol range by choosing the beneficial foods and by eliminating the harmful ones, so if you’re struggling in this area, tune in!

Podcast Powered by Podbean

 Similar Podcast Episodes:

Print Transcript


MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition this morning brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. We are so pleased that you joined us this morning for today's show and podcast, because we have a very important topic to discuss. We're going to be talking about the role cholesterol plays in heart disease. You may not realize that almost half of American adults have cardiovascular disease right now.



BRITNI: It's a lot.

MELANIE: It's a lot. I believe the actual number is 48.3.

BRITNI: We can round up.

MELANIE: But 48.3% of adults having cardiovascular disease is a big deal. So heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S and stroke is the number fifth. So yes, heart disease is a leading cause of death. It may also surprise you that cholesterol is not the leading cause of heart disease or stroke. Let me say that again because everyone needs to sit down who’s listening I think. Cholesterol is not the leading cause of heart disease or stroke, but I think that that is the message that echoes in our brain from the past 30 years.


What causes heart disease?


MELANIE: So what is the leading cause of heart disease? Let's talk about that. If cholesterol isn't the villain, what is it Britni? That is a good question that I, I hope that we will be answering in the next hour. I'm Melanie Beasley. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. I've been teaching nutrition and counseling clients since dinosaurs roamed the earth; about 35 years. I've worked with mostly men as a Navy dietitian and also at the VA hospital. But now my caseload is usually women who are experiencing osteoporosis, hot flashes, menopause, weight gain, and cardiovascular issues. So it may surprise you that heart disease is a common health problem for women as they age. Now, if higher cholesterol isn't the major cause of heart disease, what is? One word: inflammation.


MELANIE: Joining me as our cohost is Britni Vincent, who is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and is just starting to see clients again. After a brief break to welcome to beautiful identical twins into her family. I've seen them. You don't make ugly babies.

BRITNI: Thank you.

MELANIE: Yes. We're also glad to have Britni back. She is a wealth of information. I was just picking her brain before we even started the radio show. But now, not sure how you manage your twins plus a two-year-old and still work, but you do it; wowza.

BRITNI: You do what you got to do, right?

MELANIE: You do what you got to do. Sometimes your little nose is just above water.


MELANIE: But you're doing it.

BRITNI: Life is busy, but it's all wonderful. And you know, as a dietitian over the years, I have many clients who've come to me that are worried about their cholesterol numbers. I mean, it's, it's so common.

MELANIE: It is scary.

BRITNI: Like you said, Melanie, I mean, we've heard for so many years about the harmful effects of high cholesterol.


BRITNI: And many have been told to start on cholesterol, cholesterol lowering medication. But here is I think a very surprising statistic. Only half the people who have heart attacks have high cholesterol.

MELANIE: Say that again. That's amazing.

BRITNI: Half the people who have heart attacks have high cholesterol. So again, cholesterol is not the big, the big issue at hand. It is that inflammation. And you know, when I tell my clients that the biggest risk factor for heart disease is inflammation, they're pretty confused because you know, a lot of people, when they think of inflammation, they think of, oh, I sprained my ankle. It's swollen. And yes, that, that is inflammation, but that's acute inflammation. And that inflammation it's healthy. I mean, that's to help heal. But what we're talking about is chronic inflammation. And a lot of people don't even know that they have it, right?

MELANIE: Exactly.

BRITNI: It's silent. And it’s that chronic inflammation of the arteries that can ultimately lead to a heart attack.

MELANIE: I do have clients that come to me who say, they're saying now, because they're understanding the concept. You know, I just feel like my body's inflamed.


MELANIE: Like I think, you know, people know their body, most people, your body is its best doctor and it lets them know something's not right, but you're right. Many times it's silence. So what is inflammation? Well, it, you know, when I think of inflammation, I think of an umbrella term that just generally means something is not right in your body.


MELANIE: And your body is fighting it and that is your inflammation and you have an inflammation bucket. And so like you said, if we have a sprained ankle or we have poor diet. If we're on a lot of medication, if we're not getting sleep, if we're stressed, this all contributes to our inflammation bucket.

BRITNI: That's a great way to put it.

MELANIE: We have to break it down because inflammation's a confusing concept.


What can cause chronic inflammation of the arteries?


MELANIE: So what can cause that chronic inflammation of the arteries? Actually several things. Many are our lifestyle habits. And that's something that we can control. For example, excess sugar and processed carbs can cause chronic inflammation. Excess alcohol can cause chronic inflammation of the arteries. Yeah. I went there. And I think a lot of, a lot of people have, have increased their alcohol consumption these past couple of years.

BRITNI: Yes, they have.

MELANIE: One because it's, you know, their, their bar and their place is just a few steps away if you're working from home. Also, they're using it simply to anesthetize the stress that they feel. But smoking is also, that can lead to chronic inflammation. Viruses and bacteria lead to chronic inflammation. Any other ideas, Britni?

BRITNI: You know, inflammation, I, I mean a all of these lifestyle factors, we talked, you just mentioned stress, right?

MELANIE: Stress.

BRITNI: Stress causes inflammation in the body.

MELANIE: And we've had a lot of that these past few years. Viruses and bacteria can lead to chronic inflammation, and all can play a role in cardiovascular disease. Inflammation in your arteries often leads to a buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries called plaque. So if you think of a hose and you're getting a sort of a sludgy buildup on the inside of that hose, the water can't flow through. Same with our arteries. Your body thinks plaque is a foreign object. So it sends out white blood cells to get rid of the plaque. So your white blood cell count can be a predictive value for cardiovascular risk. The trouble occurs when there's an excess of white blood cells trying to get rid of the plaque and it causes the plaque to rupture and the contents of the plaque leak into the bloodstream and a clot forms. And that blocks blood flow. It is these clots that can often lead to many problems like a heart attack or a stroke. So I hope that kind of clears it up.


MELANIE: It's early for this concept for a lot of people. Thankfully we, you can re-listen on our podcast.

BRITNI: Yeah, absolutely. I think this is a show that many people will want to re-listen to. But let's, let's pause and, and talk about cholesterol. You know, cholesterol itself automatically, most people are like, oh, cholesterol is terrible for you, but cholesterol has a lot very important functions. So it actually helps to make hormones in our body.


BRITNI: It makes vitamin D and we're hearing even more about the importance of vitamin D with, with COVID and cholesterol actually helps to reduce inflammation in your body. So if there's inflammation, we are producing more cholesterol to help then reduce that inflammation. And the LDL is the carrier. So the cholesterol itself, again, is not the villain. If it's elevated, that's really just a sign of some underlying issues at hand.

MELANIE: Good. It's an, it's an indication. It helps it's a tell; it helps us know what is going on in the body.

BRITNI: Yep. And so to keep your arteries strong and clean from this plaque, it's important to reduce your overall inflammation in your body. And so, you know, as dietitians we want to talk about what do you eat?

MELANIE: What do you eat?

BRITNI: And how do you live to have an anti-inflammatory lifestyle?

How do you eat and live to decrease inflammation?


MELANIE: For sure. You know, I think what's important for us to remember is that there's information out there that we can access that we can read. And I like Dr. Steven Sinatra, a well-known cardiologist and the author of The Great Cholesterol Myth. He wrote this: “I've come to believe that cholesterol is a minor player in the development of heart disease and that whatever good statin drugs accomplish has very little to do with their cholesterol-lowering abilities. Statin drugs are anti-inflammatory and their power to reduce inflammation is much more important than their ability to lower cholesterol. Simply said, most cholesterol lowering drugs work because they reduce inflammation in the arteries.” His book is so good, so let me repeat the title: The Great Cholesterol Myth by Stephen Sinatra, Dr. Stephen Sinatra.

BRITNI: And with that, it is time for our first break.

MELANIE: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today we're discussing the role cholesterol plays in heart disease. More importantly, we're discussing why inflammation is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease. And we'll be right back.


Benefits of omega-3 fatty acids


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. To reduce your heart disease risk, it is important to get your food choices right. Then it is important to support your cardiovascular health with key supplements. So my number one recommendation is to add 3,000 to 4,000 milligrams of omega three fish oil to your supplement list, because omega three fish oil can reduce triglycerides by 40%. Wow.


BRITNI: And it can also so increase your HDL, which is our protective cholesterol. And most importantly, it can lower inflammation. Omega threes are one of the most anti-inflammatory molecular molecules that we can take. And at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we have three different types of omega-3 fish oils supplements. So first is our Omega-3 1000. We have an Omega-3 Extra Strength for those who get pill fatigue. And our Liquid Extra Strength. And omega threes, I recommend them to all my clients, even if cholesterol is not a concern because we don't, we need to get omega threes from our food. And frankly, people do not get enough fatty fish. And the benefits, I mean, there's so many benefits.

MELANIE: So many benefits. You know, when I started taking omega threes, my HDL went from 60 to 99.

BRITNI: Wow. Wow.

MELANIE: I really hadn't changed much of anything else. That's what I can contribute it to. It can make a big, it can make a big difference. It's not the only player.

BRITNI: it really can. Yeah. So if you're, you know, I just listed three different kinds we have. So wondering what is best for you? You can call 651-699-3438, or chat with us online at And we'll help answer your questions and then help you choose, you know, the correct omega-3 for your health.

So before break, we were talking, Melanie, you were talking about the book, The Great Cholesterol Myth.


BRITNI: And so here's another interesting statement from that book made by Dr. Ravnskov and he said, “People with high cholesterol live the longest. The fact that people with high cholesterol live the longest, that emerges clearly from a lot of different scientific papers. So perhaps we really don't need to be overly concerned about our cholesterol numbers. But because there's so much mixed information and research out there, at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we help clients maintain a normal cholesterol range by choosing the right foods and eliminating some poor lifestyle habits. Again, it's goes back to reducing your overall inflammation. And if your LDL cholesterol is higher than the normal or healthy range, your doctor may say to cut out saturated fat, such as butter or coconut oil. And if it isn't healthy saturated fat, it, it isn't the, the saturated fat we need to be concerned about.

MELANIE: True. I think a lot of people we just blew their minds.


MELANIE: So tell us more about that, Britni.

BRITNI: Well, and a way I like to think about it is before, you know, we were sick as a nation, what were we eating? We were eating saturated fat, right?

MELANIE: We were.

BRITNI: So it is those manufactured processed fats like margarine that leads to more inflammation in our arteries. So whenever you buy processed bread, bagels, really anything, honestly, with a label on it, look for the type of fat. Avoid hydrogenated oils. You also want to avoid soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, cottonseed oil. Did I say soybean oil?

MELANIE: You did. And you know, now they're throwing very processed safflower oil into everything.


MELANIE: And so you think, safflower, sunflower oil. That should be healthy.


MELANIE: But unless it says cold pressed, it's also damaged at high heat. So we want to avoid these things.

BRITNI: So in people get really confused about this topic, what fats to avoid, which ones are good for us. I like to think of it as what's the original source? So a soybean, a kernel of corn, it's not naturally fatty. Right? So it has to be, you mentioned high temperatures has to be heated, really hot. It's bleached it's deodorized. I mean, it goes through this defoaming process.

MELANIE: Yeah. I mean, this is not something we should be consuming.

BRITNI: No, no. So you're left with, you know, not no nutritional value. And then it's just a very inflammatory fat. So look at your labels and, and avoid all of those. And, you know, I was just talking about LDL cholesterol because that is the one that people get most afraid of. And there was a study from Harvard called the Jupiter Study and that found that elevated, people who had elevated LDL, but had no inflammation were at low risk for cardiovascular disease.

MELANIE: Wow. That's really interesting.


MELANIE: You know, another thing is, I think it's important that we, you look at all the numbers. And that's where a dietitian you nutritionist can help you break down; what are your numbers telling us about what's going on in your cardiovascular system and your body? You know, a food choice that many people are making that is leading to high cholesterol and inflammation and heart disease is sugar. We were going to go there sooner or later.

BRITNI: of course.

Sugar and processed carbs lead to inflammation


MELANIE: And also high sugar processed carbs. It is the breakfast cereal. Even if it's, you know, the Cheerios that, you know, says heart healthy on the box. It's the muffins. It's the coffee drinks, the soda, the chips, and the pizza. I could go on and on, but these processed foods lead to inflammation and eventually a plaque buildup and blockage. So let's talk about how sugar can lead to heart disease. We all have to start realizing that sugar is the number one dietary enemy of your heart. You know, I had a client and he was on statins for 10 years; very low cholesterol, thin, ran, didn't eat great. And he had a heart attack and had to have a quadruple bypass. So it just goes to show you, we have to look at what we're eating.


MELANIE: And not just the numbers.

BRITNI: Yes. Absolutely. And here's another very telling statistic. Two thirds of people who have of heart attacks have prediabetes or diabetes. So again, that really just points back to sugar is the number one dietary enemy of heart health. Sugar hides in so many ingredient labels. You might find sugar listed as honey, agave, brown rice syrup, organic cane syrup. I mean, again, that list can go on too. All of them are sugar. And most processed foods contain some sort of low-fat chemical concoction making it shelf stable. But I mean, ultimately it's not good for us.

MELANIE: It's not good for us. And it can be extremely confusing because they're saying things like organic cane sugar, which sounds like it should be better.


MELANIE: But anything that is a processed sweet that raises your blood sugar is going to raise your inflammation. So even, you know, drinking orange juice.


MELANIE: A hundred percent orange juice sounds like a good option, but it's a big load of sugar. It's like consuming, the size of glasses today is like consuming, you know, 12 oranges.


MELANIE: We don't sit down and consume 12 oranges.

BRITNI: Oh my gosh. I used to have so many glasses of orange juice.

MELANIE: Yeah. I mean, it was something we started our day with.


MELANIE: So I think it's time for our next break.

BRITNI: It is.

MELANIE: So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Starting the week of January 17th, we are offering many different Nutrition for Weight Loss virtual classes. Is it time to learn about how to follow a real food plan to lose weight and also lower your cholesterol and your inflammation? We have classes available on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, all on a Zoom format. For clients who have taken the Nutrition for Weight Loss class in person, and just need a refresher, you can sign up for one of these Zoom classes and start feeling good again. Maybe it's time for a reset, right?

Nutrition 4 Weight Loss program


MELANIE: So we'll be right back.


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. There are many different reasons to take the Nutrition for Weight Loss classes. And one very successful gentleman who has lost 40 pounds said, “I take the classes because I need the accountability.” You know, he just knows himself. And he's also packed up all those Christmas treats and donated them so he would not be tempted.

MELANIE: Donating them to someone you don't really love that much?

BRITNI: Or, you know, you could donate them to the trash can.


BRITNI: It's probably the better option.

MELANIE: Gone is gone, right?

BRITNI: But you know, some people full stash them in the freezer. Have you ever eaten a frozen Christmas cookie?

MELANIE: Oh, I'm good at eating frozen foods so that doesn't work for me.

BRITNI: Me either. Yep. I still know that they're in the freezer. They're calling my name and I'm, I'm sure most people, you know, can relate to that.

MELANIE: You can easily do 10 seconds in the microwave.

BRITNI: Yep. So we think, again, putting them in the freezer is not a safe option. We're all human, but maybe you need these classes for accountability. And if you are a new participant in Nutrition for Weight Loss, you also get two, one-hour appointments with a nutritionist.

MELANIE: Which Is such great help to have that accountability partner. And sometimes you don't want to share everything with the group.


MELANIE: But you just need to unpack some stuff with your nutritionist and that's why we're here. No judgment; Just help.

BRITNI: And you know, we help come up with a very individualized plan for you because it's not a one size fits all.

MELANIE: And you know, we don't really want to create that situation in our brains that says I'm going to clean up my diet. And then I'm going to get some help. We want to, we want to use the resources out there to help us. And many clients have told me after they finish their appointments, they have said, I almost canceled this appointment because I wasn't doing well with what you had told me to do. And I'm so glad I didn't because then we can problem solve. Where's the hitch in the get-along?

BRITNI: Exactly. I mean, that's a big part of our job is how do we help you make this a part of your lifestyle?

MELANIE: Because we're human beings and we understand the struggle.


MELANIE: That's why we're doing what we're doing.


Does meat cause heart disease?


MELANIE: Well, listeners, are you wondering about meat and heart disease? Is that a question that's burning in your brain?

BRITNI: Probably.

MELANIE: I think so, because that's what we're told. There's a lot of noise out there about nutrition and eliminating meat altogether. And you know, there's a lot of information we'd like to kind of break down and make it digestible for you this morning. And when it comes to eating meat, we recommend meat from grass fed animals. Cows eat grass. That's what they're supposed to eat.


MELANIE: Not Skittles; which I understand that was something a few years ago that was revealed that cows were being fed was Skittles.

BRITNI: I remember that.

MELANIE: And that is what they thrive on is grass. Grains should not be part of their diet. Grains are used to fatten up animals, specifically corn, right? Which is very inflammatory. Meat from grass fed animals is an anti-inflammatory meat. So let me say that again. The meat from grass fed animals is anti-inflammatory but meat from grain fed feed lot animals produce meat that is inflammatory. A steak from a grain fed animal has the potential to inflame your arteries, but not from grass fed animals. So what do you think; baloney?

BRITNI: Baloney was in our fridge growing up.

MELANIE: Oh, it was a staple in our household too.

BRITNI: It's a mystery meat, right?


BRITNI: So if it's a mystery meat, probably not good to have in your diet.

MELANIE: What about spam?


MELANIE: There is no spam animal.

BRITNI: No, there's not.

MELANIE: So we really want to get back to real, real meat you can find in a farmer's field.

BRTINI: Yep. And you know, we know these processed meats, they can be loaded with gluten. I mean, gluten does not belong in meat, right?

MELANIE: No it doesn't.

BRITNI: Tons of preservatives, sodium, nitrates, the list goes on. So the feed lot non-organic or, or non-grass fed is full of antibiotics, steroids, hormones. I mean all, all inflammatory. And pizza, you know, a lot of people's favorite food. That's usually the type of meat that that's on pizza.

MELANIE: Better to make your own.


MELANIE: And do some, you know, some grass-fed sausage without the nitrates and you know, make a delicious pizza at home. You're going to be a little, little safer and for taking care of your arteries.

BRITNI: Yeah. You know, we have speaking of pizza, we have a great recipe on our website for a sheet pan pizza.

MELANIE: Oh it's delicious.

BRITNI: Super easy; highly recommended it.

MELANIE: Yeah; delicious. It freezes well too. So if you have leftover you, you can freeze it and take it for lunch. Well, Britni, let's talk about eggs.

Do eggs affect cholesterol?


BRITNI: People are wondering about that I’m sure.

MELANIE: They demonize those eggs. The first thing, their initial reaction, when they, your cholesterol starts creeping up is should I cut out eggs? Am I eating too many eggs? I hear it a lot.


MELANIE: Well, let's talk about those eggs. Often people are afraid to eat eggs more than once a week because they contain cholesterol. It surprises people that the dietary cholesterol found in eggs do not increase your blood cholesterol. That cholesterol comes mainly from your liver. Eggs are great source of protein and they are anti-inflammatory. And the best eggs come from the ones that live the way nature intended, those chickens that are running around in the sun. Those are their grass-fed chickens. So you want to look for free range. Now, if you look for cage free, that means that they open the cage door.


MELANIE: Not necessarily meaning that they did anything different. It sounds like it's humane, but free range are the chickens that are allowed to be in the sun. So let's talk a little bit about the difference. I always tell my husband, I like the free range and you can see it's a golden orange yolk.

BRITNI: Huge difference.

MELANIE: Huge difference. Those are loaded with omega three fatty acids, which we were talking about; anti-Inflammatory.


MELANIE: If you do a conventional egg, it's a pale yellow, almost the color of butter. You know, like a light butter or something that is, but if you, if you get those free range, you're going to see the difference.


MELANIE: A little fun thing is to do a taste test between the two. I promise you. You'll never go back.

BRITNI: No you won't. And pasture-raised, you know, that would be another, you're seeing more of those on the label.

MELANIE: Pasture raised is a good one. Yeah.

BRITNI: Yep. And, and I think most grocery stores sell those now.

MELANIE: Mm-hmm.

BRITNI: So I think there's one food that everybody can agree that is heart healthy because it's anti-inflammatory and can even help to lower cholesterol. So any guesses what that food might be? Vegetables.

MELANIE: Vegetables.

Vegetables are anti-inflammatory and heart healthy


BRITNI: So when I mention eating or eating vegetables for breakfast, a lot of clients at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, if they're new, they're like vegetables for breakfast, really?

MELANIE: Doesn't compute, until…

BRTINI: Hard to wrap your mind around it until they start to try it.


BRITNI: Right? And, and I think a lot people are used to lumping fruit and vegetables in the same category because that's what we used to hear, right? Get five servings of fruits and vegetables. And of course, most people got fruit, fruit, very little veggies.

MELANIE: Lean into the fruit because it's the sugar.


MELANIE: Tastes delicious.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah. So we are talking vegetables. So I ease them into vegetables for breakfast. Think about what are you already eating for breakfast and how could you just sneak some vegetables in? So if you're having eggs, you know, throw in a handful of spinach or you could buy frozen already, you know, diced up peppers. Throw that in there.

MELANIE: Perfect.

BRTINI: Maybe you have a part of a leftover sweet potato from dinner.

MELANIE: Delicious. I always, you know, my clients give me that the look of horror when I start talking about vegetables for breakfast; not everybody, but some people it's just that they haven't made the connection yet between if you go out to eat and you do a skillet full of vegetables; if you make an omelet, if you get an omelet out, it has vegetables. So pick the ones that you find the most palatable for you. It might just be, I have one client and she says I just like mushrooms. And I say do it; do the mushrooms.

BRITNI: Absolutely.

MELANIE: Little by little; you can even do a smoothie; sneak vegetables in. I like to put in frozen cauliflower, frozen broccoli or my frozen, you can freeze spinach or kale. And add a little bit to your smoothie and you're starting with some vegetables and you feel a little righteous, you know, when you walk away going I already had a serving vegetables.

BRITNI: Exactly. Well, Dr. Stephen Sinatra in his book, The Great Cholesterol Myth cookbook wrote, “You can eat a bushel of spinach and take in fewer calories than you get in half a slice of pizza. So consider green vegetables essentially as a free food.” You don't need to worry about those. Add them in. They're going to do the body good; not harm. Every time I load up my plate with vegetables, I think I'm loading up with heart healthy antioxidants and anti-inflammation. They are a powerhouse for preventing disease and we're not talking one or two little servings in a day. We're talking every meal.


MELANIE: That should be half your plate to lead to, you know, health.

BRITNI: So, so what, you know, we talked about putting vegetables in eggs. How else could we sneak veggies in?

MELANIE: One of my favorite dishes is I take leftover proteins that we have from the night before, dice those up. I will stir fry them in some free range bacon fat. And then I will add whatever vegetables that I have on hand. So sometimes it might be broccoli, cauliflower. Sometimes it might be sweet peppers and onions. Sometimes it might be mushrooms and cabbage, but I'll stir fry that. And essentially, instead of having eggs for breakfast, I have, I call it a hash. Cover it. You can scoop it up, warm up a portion, add a little whatever, if you like hot sauce or salsa or full fat, organic sour cream or some guacamole to your bowl. And you've got a delicious breakfast bowl. That's not always, sometimes you don't want a smoothie. Sometimes you don't want eggs. And this is an easy one. And you you're using up your leftovers, which is pretty darn economical.


MELANIE: What do you do?

BRITNI: Well yesterday I'm just thinking of what I had. I had a curry and I, I always have frozen riced vegetables on hand, so…

MELANIE: Like which ones?

BRITNI: Well, there's so many out there now. Right?

MELANIE: Mm-hmm.

BRITNI: So yesterday I had one that was a combination of a riced cauliflower with a little bit of peas and a little bit of carrots. So I threw that in the, in the bowl with my curry, warmed it up and you know, I had the coconut milk for the fat, lots of veggies, the protein; it was easy, delicious.

MELANIE: Easy, delicious. Even a bowl of chili for breakfast is a different way. So speaking of chili, I kind of want to circle back to the beef conversation.


Grass-fed beef health benefits


MELANIE: Because I think beef gets a bad rap. Research indicates that an herbivore diet of four livestock is to human health, herbivore meaning grass, and can protect meat from protein oxidation and lipid peroxidation. Well, that's linked to inflammation and heart disease. This is in part a very large part due to the phytochemicals that are present in grass fed, a grass-fed diet. Those are our, you know, our heroes that fight for us. And here are some benefits grass fed beef lends to heart health: less unhealthy fat and leaner proteins.

Also, higher levels of CLA, which stands for conjugated linoleic acid, which have been shown to have the ability to prevent and treat cancer as well as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. In 2000, a Finnish study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer demonstrated that there may also be anticarcinogenic effects of CLA for humans, all in your beef.


MELANIE: In this study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diets had lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lower levels of CLA; think conventional beef. So we want that grass fed meat, higher levels of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which Britni mentioned they're anti-inflammatory. And heart disease fighting antioxidants like vitamin E are higher in grass-fed meat. So when you take into account this impressive nutrient dense, delicious food, you can easily understand why eating grass fed beef burgers and sirloins and ribeyes instead of conventional options actually helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

BRITNI: That is great information.

MELANIE: That was a lot of information, but I just don't want people afraid of beef if it's grass-fed. So I think it's time for our next break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. A supplement that I, I recommend to many of my clients is CoQ10. Did you know that CoQ10 has been approved as a drug for congestive heart failure in Japan since 1974?

CoQ10 is one of the greatest nutrients for energy. The heart produces more energy than any other organ in our body. So I often suggest at least 200 milligrams of CoQ10 or sometimes 400 milligrams of CoQ10 when people are feeling tired, have low energy or they're on a statin drug. You want to take it in the early in the day because it is energizing.


MELANIE: But it's a great antioxidant. And we decrease making it as we age in our livers.

BRITNI: Yeah, we do.

MELANIE: So we'll be right back.

BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We know that vitamin C is an important vitamin for your immune system, but did you realize that vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants we have available? Vitamin C fights free radical damage, and when vitamin C is low, the body actually manufactures more cholesterol. So when you have sufficient vitamin C, the body makes less cholesterol and the cholesterol often remains in the normal range. So I often suggest taking 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily for your heart health immune system, I mean all sorts of things vitamin C is good for.

MELANIE: Helps make collagen.


MELANIE: Who doesn't need more collagen?

BRITNI: So before break, Melanie, you were talking about the importance of purchasing grass-fed meat. So I also want to mention to listeners that toxins are stored in the fat cells of animals.


BRITNI: So when we're you mentioned purchasing the meat itself, but what about butter? So if you are getting conventionally raised butter, you're getting all the toxins from that unhealthy animal. And then those toxins are stored in our body.

MELANIE: Really good point.

BRITNI: So it is, it's not only important to buy the meat grass fed or free range or all of that, but the animal, any animal product. So grass fed butter, sour cream, cream cheese, anything like that.

MELANIE: Really good point. And I love the other thing that you mentioned is another term is pasture raised.

BRITNI: Yep. Yep.

MELANIE: They're out in a pasture. They're going to be grass fed. So I think that's really important. And would you just revisit the other healthy oils? So if we focus on what's healthy, we can eliminate all the other noise chatter about what is in healthy oils to cook with.

BRITNI: Yeah. Great point. So, you know, that grass fed butter I just mentioned, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, nuts. And those should be, you know, raw is ideal or dry roasted, because roasted nuts almost always have those, those refined oils in them.

MELANIE: And I like getting the raw and doing your own because you don't know how long the roasted nuts have been on the shelfs. And most nuts are omega six and the acid that breaks down pretty quickly when it's been stored or exposed to light or heat. So we don't know the exposure. Are you actually getting an inflammatory nut oil, even though you're getting a dry roasted oil?

BRITNI: That's a great point.

MELANIE: I just prefer buy the raw, do it yourself. Keep them refrigerated and consume them.

BRITNI: Yeah. Great idea.

MELANIE: So I, I think that's, that's a delicious way to be careful, but it's a lot easier to just focus on what we should be eating. You know, it is a good a good olive oil that's stored in a dark container is great for salad dressings or a cold application, a good organic avocado oil. It's great for a higher heat application. Organic coconut oil, great organic ghee: great, and pasture raised butter. That's another to taste test. Go with conventional butter, try what you have and then have some grass fed butter. You will never go back.

BRITNI: And you mentioned the color difference with the eggs. You can absolutely see that with the butter too.

BRITNI: Yes. Yeah.

MELANIE: I love it.

Why we need healthy fats


BRITNI: You know, another, another thing I want to bring up, this is a little older, but there was a New York Times article and it was called How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat. And this was from 2016, but basically what it talked about, what in the 1960s, there was research being done that linked sugar to heart disease. The sugar industry found out about this information and they put a kibosh to it. So they actually paid the researchers the equivalent of about $50,000 to, to change the outcome of the study to say that fat is what causes heart disease.

MELANIE: Well, and we know now… you can Google this. It is in the New York Times.

BRITNI: Yep. Yeah. So again, it's, it's not that fat. It is that sugar we need to be concerned about.

MELANIE: And if we look at the rate of heart disease, when we started this low fat craze that began in the seventies after this research article was finished, heart disease cancer, and Alzheimer's skyrocketed in our country. So I urge our listeners, I believe it was 2017. We had a guest Sally Fallon Morell, and she talked about this and I challenge you to go back to go to our website in this search engine and search “Why We Need Animal Fats”. And you will find that wonderful radio show. It's actually my favorite to listen to. She's very entertaining, very knowledgeable. It's not dry. And it's great.

BRITNI: It is a really good one. And I, I think will, will help to reduce some stress around eating, eating the animal fat for people.

MELANIE: Yeah. Very, very important. And, and not as damaging and as scary as we thought. And we also need a good fat to help usher in the nutrients from vegetable into our cells. So all that low fat eating or the steamed vegetables with nothing on them, we really saw a spike in Alzheimer's because, and dementia because our brains need to be nourished with that healthy fat. So I think it's important that we, we educate ourselves so that we don't live fear. We need, we live in power of knowledge.

BRITNI: Yeah. And let's be honest. You know, having broccoli with butter on it tastes much more delicious. So you're probably going to eat a whole lot more of it than plain dry steamed broccoli.

MELANIE: Yeah. My husband says any vehicle for butter is a good food.

BRITNI: And so today, you know, we touched on truly understanding the role cholesterol plays in heart health. We also discussed the damaging effects of inflammation and foods that cause inflammation and foods that reduce inflammation. You know, one half of the adult population struggles with cardiovascular disease. So if you are one of those that are struggling, I recommend you get on and stay on our anti-inflammatory plan to support your vascular health. And at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, all the dietitians and nutritionists, we specialize in helping clients follow this anti-inflammatory plan. So give us a call. We are ready to help. And this is not just for heart health. Right?

MELANIE: Overall inflammation.


MELANIE: You know, if we focus on decreasing inflammation in our bodies, health follows.

BRITNI: It does.

MELANIE: So you have to ask yourself, what are my sources of inflammation? Am I sleeping eight hours at night? Am I drinking enough water? You know, half your body weight ounces of water. Am I taking care of not exposing myself to a lot of chemicals? And most importantly, you know, we talk about our superhero vegetables; really bring down inflammation, having some good omega-3 fatty acids brings down inflammation. And all omega-3s are not created equal.


MELANIE: Right. We want to make sure the third party tested. The one that we have are third party tested. We want to make sure that you're not exposing yourself to mercury and other contaminants that contribute to inflammation.

BRITNI: Yep. Yep.

MELANIE: So it, it's important to focus on that inflammation, eat the real foods, focus on a good quality pasture raised grass fed meat, eggs, and wild-caught salmon. Those wild-caught is more important. It’s also is a good source of meat.

BRITNI: Yeah. I'm guessing a lot of people are listening and they're feeling like they're on board, but they're overwhelmed.

MELANIE: Absolutely. That's why they need us to help sort through.


MELANIE: We, we break it down and make it doable. Make a meal plan. Just a simple meal plan that you can focus on. So I think sometimes we all need a team to help us in these areas. And if we continue to eat processed foods, take out foods. It's hard to manage the other stressors in our lives. When we just don't feel good.

So our goal at Nutritional Weight and wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food you can get in a grocery store. It's a simple, but powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining Britni and I today. And we hope you have a wonderful day.

Print Transcript

Back To Top