Avatar universal

stress, sugar & high cholesterol

My mom had high cholesterol (but never had clogged arteries.)
I've had a tendency towards it as well but am thin, work out and have a good diet.
Three years ago, my cholesterol came back at 280 (total) with LDL at 156.  I told my dr. I'd exercise/diet for 3 months and if that didn't work, I'd go on meds.  After daily exercise and strict diet (hardly any saturated fat) my total cholesterol was brought down to 198.
This May my cholesterol again tested very high-290, with my ldl's through the roof (209.)  again, I asked my dr for 3 months of diet and exercise and am planning on retesting mid-sept.   It occurred to me that stress might be part of the culprit for my high numbers (my mother died a year ago and the past year has been EXTREMELY stressful due to settling her affairs, etc.--in fact, I was pretty much peaked out on stress when I took, the test in May.) So while I've continued to be strict with diet/exercise I'm also adding some yoga and planning on getting a swedish massage before my test (I figure it can't hurt.)  
Has anyone on this list heard about high stress affecting cholesterol numbers?  Also, does sugar affect cholesterol?  I'm moderating my sugar/carb intake as well...(luckily it's summer, so am eating a lot of big salads with lemon/olive oil dressing and lean protein for dinner with limited carbs..)
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Avatar universal
Thanks so much for such a detailed reply, Gymdandee!

I'm actually already doing a lot of those things--except keeping my stress in check.  I actually *just* bought a book on mindful meditation and plan on doing that, along with yoga.  I'm already doing exercise 5 days a week--tennis and low-impact cardio (my knees are in good shape.) And I don't drink very often but do take fish oil and am on a Mediterannian diet (largely vegan with low-carbs, with grilled salmon and sometimes poached skinless free-range chicken once in a while.) I only eat whole grains when I do do carbs and eat tons of organic fruit and veggies--no processed food.  ANd put flaxseed on my cereal in the morning.  I do suspect stress is the main culprit in my situation.  Thanks for all the tips and reinforcement (btw, I've heard good things about Krill Oil and am planning on switching.)
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Avatar universal
Stress definitely can affect cholesterol!! Buy a book or DVD on meditation.

First speak to your doctor about what I'm recommending!!
Get serious about food. Part of this must be to eat a plant-based diet. Depending on a patient’s particular profile, I suggest either the Dean Ornish heart-reversal diet or the South Beach Diet. If you know anything about heart disease, the Ornish diet is better because it
most effectively cleanses the system of excess fat.The South Beach Diet is usually for those with risk factors but no known heart disease. This diet allows more latitude and can still get a person to the recommended targets.The Ornish diet puts no restriction on calorie intake  mainly because it’s hard to consume too many calories eating fruits and vegetables  you’ll need to limit your calories on the South Beach Diet or a Mediterranean diet (another good one). A typical unrestricted diet for the average adult contains about 2,400
calories per day. Aim to keep your calorie intake to between 1,500 and 1,800 calories. The lower end is for women; the higher end is for men. Maintain your ideal body weight.
One way to judge your ideal body weight is via body mass index (BMI). Your BMI represents the percentage of your total body weight that’s due to fat. It should be under 25. Many health clubs have simple handheld devices that provide a BMI reading. These also can be purchased at drug stores.
your total cholesterol count unless you already had a weight problem was probably in the
120s. That’s the range that’s typical in populations without heart disease. So think “high school (that's what your number probably was in H.S.)
For many of us, that’s a long way to go.You’ll need to approach this target weight, though,
to sufficiently change your biochemistry.
You need to start exercising five days a week for one hour per day. Walking is generally the best exercise available because it doesn’t place too much stress on the knees, hips, and back. If you like to run, you may want to mix running into your walks, or ride a bike.
You must get plenty of sleep Not just eight hours a night, but eight to 10 hours on a regular basis. Sleep is the body’s main way of dealing with stress.
Specifically, and this might surprise you, lack of sleep results in the liver pumping out excess cholesterol!
Slash your cholesterol counts. Remember, there are only two ways to reduce your
cholesterol: Stop the production of cholesterol in your liver, or stop its absorption in the small intestine.
Adding supplements to your diet can help reduce cholesterol, but most people have to be at their targets, eating right, and exercising before supplements can help them stay there.
One supplement works through the liver just
like a statin — because it is a statin, a natural one. Mevastatin is produced naturally by red rice yeast. You can add red rice yeast to your diet by picking up a container at the
health foods store. (I suggest Nature's Plus Herbal Actives Red Yeast Rice Extended Release 600 mg)  
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and vitamin B3 (niacin), remain the champions of the
supplements. Both fish oil and niacin boost HDL, plump up LDL particles, and reduce inflammation.  flaxseed contains three ingredients that aid in maintaining heart health. Flaxseed is rich with the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids, lignans, which contain both
plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities, plus soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed seems to help not only with a person’s cholesterol profile but even in maintaining heart rhythm.
Organic grape juice, apples, and other foods that contain pectin help eliminate cholesterol
through the gut. Garlic has a mild effect as well. A glass of red wine a day, because it contains resveratrol, an antioxidant, also helps maintain heart health. Be careful, though: Two glasses of red wine a day increases cancer risk. In this light, I’d recommend having a glass of red wine no more than 2 or 3 times per week. Wine and other alcoholic beverages also cause triglyceride counts to climb. Oatmeal, oat bran, and other whole grain products can help with a small reduction, about 5 percent, in total cholesterol.

I like Krill oil
Just look that it has total Phospholipids 420, total MG per serving 300, at least 160 mg EPA
and 90 mg DHA and 1 1/2 mg of Astaxanthin. you could have to take 2 pills to get the total
mentioned above even if the bottle says to take 1 per day.
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