For those suffering with cholesterol issues I can only heartily recommend the Paleo diet, and specifically consuming plenty of coconut oil, butter (ghee), and keeping a lid on carbohydrates.
==== Background (June 2012)
In June last year I was on a Paleo diet for several months already and had been gluten free and dairy free for years. However I was eating starchy veggies and did not consume much coconut oil and zero butter/ghee. Here were my numbers:
Total Cholesterol: 120 Triglycerides: 69 HDL: 34 LDL: 72
My concern: total cholesterol was too low, as was HDL
==== Latest Lab Report (May 2013)
I have been consuming coconut oil daily, perhaps 1-2 tablespoons, and 1/2 teaspoon of ghee. My carbohydrate consumption dropped in half (to maybe 75-100 grams) since I now consume hardly any starchy veggies. And I now consume perhaps 25 grams more protein per day (courtesy of a vegan protein supplement). The new numbers:
Total Cholesterol: 136 Triglycerides: 40 HDL: 45 LDL: 83
So the difference attained is:
Total Cholesterol: +13% Triglycerides: -42% HDL: +32% LDL: +15%
Overall I am extremely pleased with improvements to triglycerides and HDL, and it is nice to see my total cholesterol bumped up a bit. The 15% increase in LDL doesn't bother me.
But of course I am not satisfied. My questions:
do you think any improvements I am to gain from my diet has been fully achieved in the past 11 months or could I see further gains?
any further dietary changes I should try to further boost HDL? I do exercise daily, and I don't want to push myself further (I am 56 y.o.)
Thanks to everyone on this site, .. I owe you big time. And I hope my success encourages others.
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I think I'd ditch the protein supplement. What's in the vegan protein supplement -- soy protein? There are all sorts of issues with that. Besides, you already eat plenty of protein. You could replace that with a bit more ghee or coconut oil, or if you want a bit more meat/fish for the protein, that's fine.
I've heard it said that saturated fat can raise LDL and HDL, but that the effect only lasts a year or so and then it drops back to where it was. I didn't hear about whether that's true for people with lowish cholesterol levels though. It would be nice if you could report back to paleohacks occasionally and let us know what you try and how things are going for you.
You might want to watch out for copper deficiency, (copper is present in beef liver, not chicken liver or pork liver) which can affect your cholesterol levels (in the long-term).
I think you could see further gains with the aid of diet - beef kidneys for selenium, also iodine.
A glass of red wine per day could help raise HDL more. Keep up the coconut oil.
The point of lipids like LDL and HDL are for immune function...perfect health diet did a series of posts on cholesterol in hunter-gatherers, and what good levels of lipids are.
Check out the graph in this post and the information:
> mortality goes up as cholesterol goes down.
> Minimum mortality is found in countries with average cholesterol between 200 and 240 mg/dl. Mortality rises sharply as cholesterol levels fall below 200 mg/dl.
•Serum cholesterol – LDL and HDL – help defend against infections. As long as you have these infection-fighting lipids in your blood, infections can’t kill you.
My advice to you: Some supplementation and eating organ meats might not be amiss. also egg yolks! eat a lot of them.