Foods For Good Cholesterol

October 28, 2023

We’ve done a fair amount of cholesterol shows over the years because it is a big concern for many of our listeners, students, and clients. Cholesterol is a routinely tested health marker that gives you information on what’s going on in your body. What can you do nutritionally to help bring your cholesterol numbers into a good range? What can you do with food to keep your numbers in a positive place if they are already normal? We’ll share some client success stories along with food ideas to support your lab work.

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MELANIE: Good morning to all my, myTalk and podcast listeners. This morning, I realized that it is our 20th year anniversary of sharing vital nutrition information every Saturday morning.

BRITNI: That is amazing.

MELANIE: It's amazing. We've been here a while.


MELANIE: Well, it has been a pleasure preparing and sharing information that has hopefully made your lives better. 20 years is a long time talking about the benefits of eating real food for your health. As I was reading news reports this week, I found it alarming to learn that one in three Minnesota adults are considered obese. Minnesota's adult obesity rate in the year 2000 was 17%, and now 23 years later, it's almost 34%.

And the obesity rate has doubled in the past 20 years. So that much increase in obesity rate is concerning because the same foods adults have been eating that have caused obesity are the same foods that that lead to diseases like diabetes, cholesterol concerns, and heart disease, not to mention cancer, joint pain. So you have to ask, why am I talking about this huge increase in obesity rate when our topic today is foods for good cholesterol?

Well, it's because, again, the foods that cause obesity are the same foods that increase cholesterol concerns. Obesity or carrying extra weight doesn't cause cholesterol numbers to become a concern. It is the food choices adults are making that leads to extra weight and then cholesterol concerns.

BRITNI: That's interesting because a lot of times it is portrayed that it is the weight that is causing the cholesterol problems.

MELANIE: I hear it all the time, don't you?

BRITNI: Yep absolutely. But it's really like you said, the food that is causing all of that.

MELANIE: Yeah. And doctors tell our clients, just lose some weight.


MELANIE: That is not always the answer.


Real food normalizes cholesterol numbers

MELANIE: No. Well, sugar and alcohol, bad fats, refined oils such as soybean or vegetable oil, really any seed oil that is not avocado is a problem. And also processed foods. So, Britni, let's ask another question. If you want normal cholesterol numbers without medication, what do you need to eat?

BRITNI: Real food.

MELANIE: Real food. Very simple: meat, fish, vegetables, natural fat found in nature like butter, olive oil, and nuts, and avocados: all the good fats. I'm Melanie Beasley, and I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian, and I've been helping people, both adults and children for over 35 years. Joining me is our cohost: Britni Vincent. Good morning, Britni. Tell us about you.

BRITNI: Good morning. I am Britni Vincent. I'm also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. I help people lose weight, lower blood glucose levels, take control of their cholesterol, reduce menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, those darn sleepless nights. And I even help teenagers and sometimes older women clear up their acne. And so I have been doing this for the past 11 years, and I have seen so many benefits of health, of eating real food.

MELANIE: Yeah. Yeah.

BRITNI: Yeah. And as Mel said, it is our 20th year anniversary, which is so exciting. And I'm curious, I wonder how many listeners out there have been with us all 20 years?

MELANIE: I think it'd be fun if they sent us an email.

BRITNI: Yeah, yeah.

MELANIE: I listened to you from the beginning of the show.

BRITNI: That would be, that would be lovely.

MELANIE: That would so fun. Well, as you know, we have chatted about cholesterol on many different shows. We've explained what those cholesterol numbers mean, and you can re-listen. Just search on our website in the search engine: cholesterol, heart disease, and you'll come up with a podcast. Go to our website, and just search. And you're going to find so many articles, so many podcasts. Well, a great clear explanation of the meaning of these cholesterol numbers can be found on our website. So we're not going to really go over those today. Well, we've we have helped you make the connection between sugar and high cholesterol in the past, I think and especially triglycerides.

Client success stories: normalizing triglycerides & cholesterol panel

BRITNI: So let's stop here for a minute because I have a really great client story.

MELANIE: Love the story.

BRITNI: …that relates to our topic today. So a few years ago I met with a gentleman named Bill, and his triglyceride number at the time was 450. So we, we have seen higher than that, but that is a very concerning number. And at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we suggest triglycerides be under 100. Optimally that's going to reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack. And Bill didn't realize that the high amount of triglycerides is an independent risk factor for heart disease.

MELANIE: Yeah. It's, it's kind of surprising when they, when you break down their lipid panel.


MELANIE: And say, here's the red flag. It's the triglycerides. What was Bill eating or drinking that shot his triglycerides so high and put him at risk?

BRITNI: Yeah. Well, he, he did not drink alcohol, but he did drink soda. And, you know, I saw him pre pandemic, and he was a salesman and was on the road often in small towns around the Dakotas, Iowa, throughout Minnesota. And he had to keep himself awake. So he would often grab, you know, five or six sodas throughout the day.


BRITNI: And he was really surprised to learn that each can contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. So he…

MELANIE: And what kind of sugar?

BRITNI: Yeah, high fructose corn syrup. Yeah. The worst kind. So he was easily drinking 50 to 60 teaspoons of sugar just from that soda alone. So one day I showed him a jar of what 48 teaspoons of sugar looks like. He was shocked. I think visually seeing that really is shocking because it's hard to imagine you actually consuming that much sugar.

MELANIE: Spooning 48 teaspoons of sugar. But when you think I'm just drinking a beverage and quenching my thirst, what's the harm?

BRITNI: Exactly.


BRITNI: And most people don't actually look at the back of a label to see how many grams of sugar's in there. What are the ingredients?

MELANIE: And it's you know, like we said, it's a high fructose corn syrup, and that's the triglyceride razor and leads to high blood glucose, insulin resistance and weight gain. You know, I had a client who came to me. He’s actually a success story on our website. His triglycerides were over 500.

BRITNI: Oh, wow.

MELANIE: They were tremendously high. Well, one of the things he was doing was drinking coffee all day long. And his LDL was very, very high. And so just getting him drinking pure water, and then changing a, a few things in his diet, and we got those numbers down.

BRITNI: That's amazing.


BRITNI: Yeah. And, and the beauty with triglycerides, you can see a pretty drastic change in a short amount of time.

MELANIE: Like three months, which is when you get retested.

BRITNI: Yep. Usually. Yeah. And, you know, in Bill's case, he really needed to do just eliminate the soda. And in discussing it, he decided to cold turkey it. And I find usually with people that drink a lot of soda, especially if it's more of an addiction, that is the best approach to cold turkey. You might feel unwell for a few days.

MELANIE: That sugar detox.

BRITNI: You might have to power through it. But it's, it's worth it in the end. And as you can imagine, his energy was so much better, but he still wanted some sort of pick me up. So instead he drank iced green tea, unsweetened, and then more water.

MELANIE: I love that. And I imagine he just started feeling better with joint pain, aches and pains.

BRITNI: Oh yeah. And then in a few months, his numbers were down to around 200. He lost about 30 pounds.


BRITNI: And so after tackling the soda, then we tackled what was he eating on the road which can be hard. So he really overhauled his diet as well. And then six months after initially seeing him, he was only occasionally having fast food. His triglycerides were down to 120. He lost an additional 20 pounds.


BRITNI: Yeah. And so those triglycerides, they are typically a direct correlation to the amount of carbs and sugar consumed.


BRITNI: And that excess glucose from all that sugar that we consume, that's going to be carried to the liver, and then our liver makes more triglycerides.

MELANIE: And those triglycerides are pretty inflammatory.

BRITNI: Yeah, absolutely.

MELANIE: And we like it under, we like to see triglycerides under 100, listeners, if you're, if you're wondering. So what a great example of how nutritionists and dietitians can help clients make some simple changes to produce some really great health benefits. And if you've been listening to the Dishing Up Nutrition radio show for a few years, you know that sugar and processed carbs such as breakfast cereal can be a problem. And we will talk more about that when we come back from break. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I encourage you to stay tuned today because we're sharing what to eat to have good cholesterol numbers. We'll be right back.


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. To have a good cholesterol profile, it is important to reduce those processed foods in your diet, which we are going to be talking even more about. But if you just, if you don't know what to cook, I mean, I think that's the case for a lot of clients that we see. They’re just kind of overwhelmed. Well join Chef Marianne in a Zoom demo class as she shows us how to make comfort foods healthy on Wednesday, November 11th. So you can sign up if you go to, or just call 651-699-3438.

Sign Up for a Cooking Class

MELANIE: Yeah. I'm telling my clients about her cooking classes all the time, because here's what's great about them is you, you get the video for three days.


MELANIE: You get all of the recipes and grocery list.


MELANIE: So you can go get everything, come back, watch and prepare with her, pause it, do what she's doing. It's lovely.

BRITNI: Yeah. It's great.

MELANIE: It's really lovely. I I take every class so that I can get her recipes. Yeah.


MELANIE: I love it. So we were talking about to our listeners that if you've been listening to Dishing Up Nutrition for a few years, you know that sugar and processed carbohydrates such as breakfast cereal, chips, soda, pizza, pasta and alcohol often lead to higher glucose numbers, which in turn leads to insulin resistance. Well, 38% of U.S. adults are prediabetic. And if your A1C is 5.7 to 6.4, you fit into that prediabetic range. Each of us has our own unique biochemistry, and each of us needs to ask that, ask ourselves, what do I need to do to reduce my heart attack risk? And what food do I need to eliminate? And what foods do I need to consume? Because that's it. We don't want to just eliminate foods, we want to swap this for that.

BRITNI: Yeah. And I think focusing more on what to eat is a, a much better mindset to try to adapt, 'cause otherwise, if you're focusing on what you're eliminating too much.

MELANIE: You get that deprivation brain.


MELANIE: You feel sorry for yourself and the next thing you know, you're eating a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies.

BRITNI: Exactly. Yep.

MELANIE: So we don't want that deprivation brain. We want to say, I can eat delicious food.


MELANIE: But it looks different.

Are medications the answer to manage cholesterol?

BRITNI: Yep. Absolutely. And you know, we've already talked about the, the fact that obesity rates have doubled in the past 20 years. You know, the, the rate of heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, mental health concerns, all of those have increased as well. And I, there's lots of factors, but food is definitely a common denominator with them all. And, you know, more and more medications are developed, but is medication always the long-term solution? You know, I, a lot of people tell me this, that they often wonder, should I be taking a cholesterol lowering medication? Will I get the aches and pains from the medication? Will I have more fatigue? You know, those are a couple common side effects. And then what can I do to get my cholesterol in a normal range? And that's often…

MELANIE: Great questions.

BRITNI: Yeah. That is what drives us or drives people to make an appointment with us and there and talking through it with me, and clients will say something like, you know, I know making the food changes is more difficult, but I know I'll feel better.

MELANIE: Because it's not just about cholesterol numbers. When you make the changes, it's overall health you're improving. Decreasing your risk of cancer, decreasing your risk for Alzheimer's. It's all of it. It's not just your cholesterol numbers.

BRITNI: That's the beauty of real food is there's not a separate way of eating for high cholesterol as there is to increase your energy or a digestive issue. You know? It's all, like you said, it's all going to help just make you feel better overall.

MELANIE: And decrease your disease risk overall. So then you can say, I can keep it simple. And I'm doing everything I can in the way I'm eating. So you don't have that noise. Sometimes the noise in your head creates so much stress.



BRITNI: That's so true. So true. You know, and I try, when I sit down with people, I try to explain the connection between what they are individually eating and their cholesterol profile and how, how we can optimize their diet. You know, most U.S. adults are eating too much sugar or foods that turn to sugar, for example, chips. You know, I…


BRITNI: People either tend to crave the salty, crunchy, like chips, or the sweets.


BRITNI: And those chips, you know, although they, we don't think of them as a sugary food, often they're made from corn or potatoes. Both are high sugar, high carbohydrate foods.

High carbohydrate/sugar foods raise cholesterol

MELANIE: Yeah. And I, I really think, let's make that connection to why potato chips can increase cholesterol. Chips and crackers break down into sugar and increase your glucose or blood sugar level, calling for the pancreas to then release insulin. Insulin's job is to pick up that blood sugar and take it into the cell. But if you have high insulin levels, it has a profound effect on your cholesterol. So excess insulin from excess sugar increases cholesterol. I'm going to say it again. Excess insulin from excess sugar increases cholesterol.


MELANIE: Insulin's doing its job. So what we want to do is calm insulin's job down a little bit.


MELANIE: And there is more to this story. Insulin has a way of turning up the cholesterol making machinery, which is actually an enzyme called A-M-G-C-O-A reductase. I hope y'all wrote that down. That is the same enzyme that cholesterol lowering medication works on. If you lower your sugar and processed carbs to lower your insulin, you can naturally lower your cholesterol. Food doesn't have any any bad side effects. It has bonuses. Real food has bonuses like weight loss, energy, better sleep, clear thinking, good moods, less pain. So changing food choices, it takes practice.


MELANIE: It takes education and it takes that ongoing support to keep your commitment to feel better and protect your health. It takes a team. It really does.

BRITNI: It does. And it's, it takes, it takes time. And I think that your nutrition is, is always in process, just depending on, on your season of life.

MELANIE: I mean, even us.


MELANIE: This is what we do all day long.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah.

MELANIE: But we are pendulums, right? We swing, we swing off a little and then we know too much so that we correct course and get back on track. But we all do it. And it's natural and it's not shameful.

BRITNI: No, not at all.

MELANIE: It's, it's, you're not, it's on a program or off a program. You're just in swing. Are you swinging towards inflammation and disease? Are you swinging towards health and wellness?


MELANIE: And our job is to help coach our clients and keep them motivated to keep swinging towards their goal of health and wellness.

BRITNI: And I think really going into it and, and saying, this is my new lifestyle.

MELANIE: Not my diet.

BRITNI: Exactly. Yep.

MELANIE: Yep. I love that.

BRITNI: And you know, when you lower that blood glucose, that insulin resistance over time, it does take time, that's going to reduce and heal. And then you're, that's going to slow down your aging as well.


BRITNI: Just overall.


BRITNI: Your body is going to age better when you have more of an optimal insulin level in the body.

MELANIE: And who doesn't want a little gentle aging instead of the fast track? I mean, we all are looking for that.

BRITNI: Definitely.

MELANIE: But let's talk more about that when we come back from break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. I want to share some information about our six hour Menopause Solutions seminar. We had an in-person week long Menopause Solutions seminar, and then we were faced with the pandemic shutdown. So we rode, practiced, filmed all of the information. We were not able to provide lunch to people purchasing the video version or the fun that women had with the in-person seminar. But all the information on controlling symptoms is there. You get to be in your jammies. So that is a perk. Between October 23rd and November 4th, we are discounted the cost by $50. Go to to sign up or call 651-699-3438.

Sign Up for Menopause Solutions - Online


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You might be thinking there are six hours about menopause symptoms and solutions? And yes, we really take a deep dive into it. Maybe your symptom is lack of sleep or mood swings, or you've developed osteoporosis or hot flashes, adult acne, you know, we cover it all in those classes. I know you will not be disappointed. Give us a call. We're happy to answer any questions you have: 651-699-3438. And again, between October 23rd and November 4th, we are offering a discount: $50 off. And you can sign up for that at Or again, just give us a call.

So before we went to break we were talking about insulin resistance and how if you lower your sugar and processed carbohydrate intake, you're going to lower your insulin. Therefore, oftentimes your cholesterol panel improves because of that. And then everything else, right? Your body overall just becomes healthier.

The sugar connection to plaque buildup

So before we talk more about good food choices, let's talk about the sugar connection to plaque buildup.


BRITNI: Which, you know, no doubt is more of a risk factor for heart disease than, than cholesterol can be, and inflammation is a major cause of plaque buildup. And again, the answer oftentimes it goes back to that insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is strongly associated with plaque buildup. Research has shown that, and in our Nutrition for Weight Loss classes, we explain in detail how excess glucose, eating too much sugar for too long results in that insulin resistance, which leads to inflammation and often can lead to a buildup of plaque.

MELANIE: Really good point.

BRITNI: And, and before break, Melanie, you did a great job of explaining the role of insulin and, and what actually happens in our body when we're eating sugar.

Eat real food to optimize health

MELANIE: Well, we encourage you to switch, of course, from processed food to real food. I mean that is sort of the crux of it. What we mean: foods like breakfast cereals and pancakes, crackers. Instead, you want to switch over to things like eating two to three eggs cooked in butter, grass fed butter, two cups of vegetables sauteed in olive oil for those wonderful antioxidants. And then for lunch you can give up the sub sandwich with the bread, which, you know, jacks up that blood sugar to eating a steak salad with a nice olive oil dressing. And if they don't have a good olive oil dressing, just ask for olive oil.


MELANIE: And some salt and add nuts or avocado to your salad for, again, for those good healthy fats. And this is all fighting for your health instead of fighting against your health.

BRITNI: Yes. You know, for a snack you could have half or three quarters of a cup of organic full fat cottage cheese, throw some blueberries in there, sprinkle some walnuts for some crunch, and some, some more of that healthy fat and fiber. You know, for dinner it could be salmon, maybe you roast up a sheet pan of vegetables and sweet potatoes. I mean, that's a very easy go-to for me. And then you could put a little extra butter on your vegetables. You know, if you give this a try, even within a few weeks, you're going to notice you're starting, you're going to start to feel better.

MELANIE: When you give the body what it needs.


MELANIE: And you remove what's harming it. The body is designed to heal itself.

BRITNI: Yeah. And I sometimes really thinking of this as nourishment or fuel for my body can be very helpful for people to, to embrace that thought process of starting to eat real food.

MELANIE: Yeah. And I've said it, I've said it before, I always ask my clients, when you're taking a bite of food, it's, it's, is it harming you or healing you? Because every bite really matters.


MELANIE: Once you start, you know, beginning a disease, you want to really make sure what you're putting in your mouth is more than just the flavor. It's so much more about the nourishment on the entire body. So you don't want to let this little, you know, two inch orifice called your mouth dictate the health of the rest of your body.

BRITNI: Yeah. Such a good point.

Why do we need cholesterol?

MELANIE: And so I think when we talk about eating healthy fat and eggs, it sets off alarm bells. So let me tell you a little bit about why we do need cholesterol, because the cholesterol we consume is not what's causing the cholesterol issue.

BRITNI: Yeah. I'm so glad you brought that up. Because people are really fearful.

MELANIE: That's what we have been told, which was false information for oh, gosh, decades.


MELANIE: So why we need cholesterol? Cholesterol is vital. Cholesterol is used to repair and make cell membranes. Cholesterol is a precursor to vitamin D. And also hormones like our estrogen and testosterone. Cholesterol is important in making a healthy brain, so that we have healthy brains as we age, and it creates healthy serotonin receptors. It helps the myelin sheath in the body, which will enhance memory. Cholesterol is indigestion since bile is made from cholesterol. Cholesterol repairs blood vessels, and cholesterol supports our immune function and helps fight bacteria and other infections. So it's…


MELANIE: We always think cholesterol: bad guy.

BRITNI: No, no. Not at all.

MELANIE: So half the people with heart disease actually have normal cholesterol levels. So we want to look at so much more of what is going on. So if you, you you want to take that and, and have someone break down your numbers with you because cholesterol is not the bad guy.

BRITNI: Yeah. And it is so much more than just looking at that total cholesterol number.


BRITNI: Because people look at that number and if it's above 200, they get really scared. But like you said, it's more about that breakdown of what the individual numbers really indicate. Yep. And again, you can look at previous, previous podcasts where we really deep dive into that. I know we did a couple earlier this spring in 2023 that you can check out. And so cholesterol itself is really good, and one of its rules is repairing inflammation and damage. And so if your cholesterol is elevated, it could just be a sign of, again, that inflammation.

MELANIE: The good guys maybe popping it up.


MELANIE: It could be, a lot of times it, the, your total cholesterol is just a, a number that indicates the breakdown of everything else. Right? We just added it up and we got your total cholesterol. But if it's all made up of the good guys, then we don't have to have near the concern.

Saturated fat is not the enemy

So that's important for someone to break that down for you. And then, you know, saturated fat, again, I want to circle back, has gotten such a bad reputation. It's based on poor science. A study from the 1950s that just was corrupted and brought in poor science for us. And the true cause of that unhealthy cholesterol level, there's just not sound science behind the prevention message that reducing saturated fat in the diet lowers a person's risk of unhealthy, unhealthy cholesterol or risk of heart disease like you just said. And so we want to look at that and make sure that there is no significant evidence. There's really is no significant evidence for concluding that saturated fat is the enemy.

BRITNI: You know what's interesting? There have been studies that have shown that two low of cholesterol is way more detrimental to your health than high cholesterol. And that goes back to what you talked about, Melanie: all of the benefits and necessary functions where we rely on cholesterol in our body.

MELANIE: We have to, we have to take care of the entire body. You know, Gary Taubes examined decades of research on heart disease in his good book, Good Calories, Bad Calories. And he concluded that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, but that triglyceride, that high triglycerides was the problem. That's a great book if anyone's interested on reading some science.

BRITNI: Yeah. That is a really, yeah. It is a little “sciency”, but it it is a wonderful book.

MELANIE: I love that.

BRITNI: And so we've talked about the importance of the healthy fat, you know, getting the variety of fat is really important, but not fearing the saturated fat. It's fine to, to put butter on there. It's okay to eat the yolks in your eggs even. And this was, I think eight years ago, the nutrition advisory board for the country came out and said, you do not need to worry about eating cholesterol in your foods. That is not what causes high cholesterol.

MELANIE: It is, yeah. It, it was good information.

Fiber & its many benefits

BRITNI: Yeah. Eat those, eat those eggs. And another piece which I want to dive into is, you know, a lot of people just want to know what's everything that I can do to reduce my risk of heart disease, improve my numbers. And another big one is fiber.

MELANIE: Oh, I'm so glad you brought that up.


MELANIE: We don't talk enough about it.

BRITNI: Yes. Fiber. Yeah. So what can happen is it, you know, fiber can form this thick kind of gel-like substance that absorbs, absorbs moisture. And in doing that, it can help to reduce our cholesterol by binding some of that cholesterol, eliminating through its stool, eliminating it via our stool. And then also fiber is really helpful in just kind of detoxifying the body. You know, we eliminate toxins throughout our stool and fiber helps to do all of that.

MELANIE: It ushers it out.


MELANIE: It is the usher. Well, I, I want to talk more about fiber because I feel like it's been underrated. I feel like we are a nation that is extremely deficient in adequate fiber.

BRITNI: Yes, we are.

MELANIE: So when we come back from break, let's hit on that a little harder. So you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. An interesting fact about menopause and cholesterol, often cholesterol numbers, especially LDL numbers will go up temporarily during perimenopause. And then after two or three years the liver adjusts and excess LDL is not made; normal LDL again without medication. So our bodies are very, very wise. We'll be right back.


BRITNI: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. You know, over the pandemic, I know from talking to people, a lot of processed food snuck in, snuck in, maybe more alcohol, definitely more stress.


BRITNI: So if you found yourself just not feeling your best anymore, maybe you've gained a little bit of weight, you know, I invite you to join our new and updated Nutrition for Weight Loss classes that start in January. So it is a series of 12 classes. They will be offered both in person and virtually. And you know, I'd suggest to sign up sooner than later because I think they will be very popular and fill up quickly.

Sign Up for Nutrition 4 Weight Loss

MELANIE: It's a great class.


MELANIE: I love teaching it.

BRITNI: Yeah. So do I.

MELANIE: Yeah. I think that's my favorite class to teach. Because you get people for 12 weeks.

BRITNI: Yeah. Yeah.

MELANIE: So you get to know them.

BRITNI: It's so fun to see the changes.

MELANIE: It's fun to see, and developing a community in that 12 weeks too; everyone supporting each other. It's fun.

BRITNI: Yep. So you might have myself or Melanie as a teacher.

MELANIE: Yeah. There you go.

BRITNI: So before break we were talking about fiber. And I think I've had more and more clients ask me about fiber. So I think there's just more buzz around it, but to your point earlier, we are not getting enough.

MELANIE: We are not getting enough.

BRITNI: At all.

MELANIE: It used to be the recommendation was about for 50 grams. You know, we just went to a nutrition conference and they were talking about that's what we typically need. Well the average American gets about 10.


MELANIE: If we're lucky.

BRITNI: If we're lucky. Yep.

MELANIE: So we want to really focus on increasing fiber. And I know that you use a recipe for chia pudding, which I love as well. So tell the, it's so easy. What's your recipe?

BRITNI: Yeah. So it is, the ratio is half a cup of chia seeds to two cups of liquid. And that's going to give you four servings. And there's, there's so many different combinations that you could throw in here. A lot of times I'll do a cup of canned coconut milk and then a cup of water for the liquid. So there's some healthy fat there. And then I will often, as I'm stirring it all together, mix in some frozen fruit. So then as it melts in the fridge, I feel like all the fruit flavor gets everywhere. Otherwise you could just put, you know, half a cup of berries on top before you're going to eat it.

MELANIE: I drizzle, I like to drizzle sunflower butter or peanut butter over the top. And I sweeten my chia pudding with chocolate stevia drops.

BRITNI: Delicious.

MELANIE: And if you are trying to get it in one meal and you're trying to get in, you can, you can mix in your protein powder.

BRITNI: Oh, for sure. Yeah.

MELANIE: If you don't like the little beads, they're kind of like tapioca pudding, just blend them in a little coffee blender or, or blend that whole concoction in your blender and it'll thicken. But you won't have the little, I call them surprise chia. You'll, you have chia pudding and all of a sudden they're like in your teeth. And you think you got them all. Surprise. You didn't.


MELANIE: So if that's an issue, just blend it.

BRITNI: Yeah. Great idea. Yeah. I love it. I think it's really satisfying. It is very high, chia seeds are very high in fiber. So if your body is not used to fiber, I would suggest starting slow. Like start with maybe a teaspoon or two and then gradually increase. Otherwise if you get too much fiber and your body's not used to it, it can constipate you.


BRITNI: And then we want to make sure we're drinking enough water too to flush all this out.

MELANIE: And you may get a little gas or bloating.


MELANIE: I have clients say I can't tolerate high fiber foods 'cause they get gas and bloating. What, what is actually happening is you are feeding your good bacteria.


MELANIE: The good bacteria when they multiply produce happy gas.


MELANIE: That happy gas gives you a little bloating or gas. So just cut back a little. And as you adjust you can increase, but this is a good sign.


MELANIE: And so you may have to be that person that starts with a tablespoon of chia pudding, two tablespoons of chip pudding and that's okay.

Is oatmeal a healthy choice to get some fiber?

BRITNI: Yeah. Absolutely. And a lot of people think fiber, cholesterol, I'm going to eat oatmeal. I actually just talked…

MELANIE: I'm so glad you’re touching on oatmeal.

BRITNI: Yeah. I just talked to a client this week and she started eating oatmeal every day. She doesn't really like it and it doesn't make her feel well, but she thought that it would help to improve her cholesterol. So the reality is, you know, a lot of rolled oats, a serving is only two grams of fiber.

MELANIE: Not a lot. I mean it's…

BRITNI: Not a lot at all.

MELANIE: It's got some components in there that have been shown to lower cholesterol. But here's the, here's what happens. It raises your blood sugar. Because it's so high in carbohydrates that it's, it's diminishing returns.


MELANIE: So that's not what we're recommending.

BRITNI: Yeah. And especially, you know, a lot of people aren't going to eat plain oatmeal. They want some brown sugar or a lot of fruit.

MELANIE: Or raisins.

BRITNI: Or raisins and then you're just adding more, more.

MELANIE: It's a big carbohydrate sugar bomb.

BRITNI: Yeah. So if it is something that you still want to incorporate, we would recommend only half a cup cooked max. Make sure you're getting protein, fat there.

MELANIE: Not fruit.

BRITNI: But just know there's so many, so many more options to get your fiber in.

MELANIE: And I love, I love, one of my things that I do to get fiber in is I love to make, I do a plant-based yogurt. And then I put my protein powder in there, some chia seeds. And then if I don't want chia, I'll do ground flax.


MELANIE: That's a ground option. And the ground flax really softens and I will sweeten it with some stevia or some fruit or something, like you mentioned. So I'm not always eating the same; I rotate them; not always doing a chia pudding or then it's a smoothie or that, but I'm going to get supplemental fiber in addition to fruits and vegetables.


MELANIE: Which is really the best source.

BRITNI: Yeah, it is. But it's easy enough to add those extra, you know, ground flax to things. I have people even just sprinkle that on a salad.

More examples of high fiber foods

So let's maybe give some ideas of high, other high fiber foods.

MELANIE: I love it.

BRITNI: Berries tend to be high in fiber. For example, a serving is going to give you six grams of fiber from raspberries. That's a lot.

MELANIE: That's a lot. Raspberries are and they're delicious. We love those raspberries. You can get them frozen if you're out of season all the time. But I also will use a little psyllium husk. Because it's the type of fiber that will help lower that cholesterol.


MELANIE: That's one of my, my add ends: the soluble fiber and the soluble fiber is the type of fiber that's shown to lower cholesterol levels. So prunes. I love a, a prune if you like prunes. That's a good source; broccoli.


MELANIE: Brussel sprouts.


MELANIE: And there's so many other benefits that that tag along.

BRITNI: Yeah. There is.

MELANIE: It's not just fiber.

BRITNI: There is. Yep.

MELANIE: So eat those vegetables. Jicama is not something that we think about. Get some jicama and munch on and people are like, oh, I like to munch on carrots. Well try some jicama. I know grocery stores I've found where it's, you can hand them the jicama and they'll go and I'll slice it for you and dice it because that, I don't love doing that.

BRITNI: Not me either. I buy it pre-done

MELANIE: Pre-done.

BRITNI: But it's crunchy. It kind of has a little bit of sweetness. It's really delicious.

MELANIE: Yeah. So in 1 cup you're getting what, like six grams of fiber?

BRITNI: Very high in fiber.

BRITNI: Moving you towards that... Green beans is a pretty good source. You know, some carrots, some Brussels sprouts. These are all things that you should be incorporating anyway for overall health and wellness. And think about how much fiber you're actually getting. I always challenge clients, you know, you can download the app chronometer for free.


MELANIE: See where you are. Where's your fiber? Where's your protein? Where's your healthy food?

BRITNI: I think you're going to be surprised that you're probably a lot lower in fiber than, than you think you are.


BRITNI: And I would say at least getting 30 grams a day.

MELANIE: And that is going to increase your satisfaction satiety factor; makes you feel full longer.


MELANIE: It anchors your blood sugar.


MELANIE: It's, it helps scrub the colon. So it decreases your risk of colon cancer and of course it decreases your risk of plaque formation. So we love that. And so we hope that you have gotten a pretty good idea of how we stand on cholesterol and ways that you can lower your triglycerides. And improve your overall health. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thanks for joining us today.

BRITNI: Thank you.

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