Smart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

What Are Some Smart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol?

There are many tips, health helpers, supplements and other smart strategies for lowering cholesterol. Following are a couple that are less conventional, but quite effective!

Heart Smart Exercise Strategies for Lowering CholesterolSmart Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol for a Healthy Life

If you are trying to keep your cholesterol under control, exercising for long periods of time may be more beneficial than shorter high-intensity workouts.

Here is why: Saturated fats are broken down into acetone units, which the liver uses to make cholesterol. When you burn calories through exercise, acetone units are used for energy rather than cholesterol production.

Lengthy exercise sessions allow you to burn more calories than intense exercise, since the latter causes muscle soreness and limits your ability to exercise on subsequent days.

Cinnamon Strategies for Lowering Cholesterol

A dash of cinnamon could significantly lower your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. And cinnamon – well it goes with so many things! Sprinkle on apple slices. Toss one-half teaspoon or so into your next batch of muffins. Add a dash or two to your coffee ground prior to brewing. Sprinkle on lightly buttered toast. Those are just a few ideas – you can surely come up with many more.cinnamon-sugar

When 30 women and men with type 2 diabetes added a sprinkle to their meals, blood sugar and heart-damaging blood fats (total cholesterol and triglycerides) fell 12 to 30 percent in just 40 days, say researchers at the USDA’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland.

Cinnamon makes muscle and liver cells more sensitive to signals from insulin, an important blood-sugar-controlling hormone.

Have a little (about 1/6 teaspoon) at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for a daily total of about 1/2 teaspoon, he recommends. Since cinnamon may reduce your need for diabetes or cholesterol medication, ask your doctor if you need to adjust your dose.

Go Beyond Cholesterol

Half of all heart attacks happen to people with normal cholesterol levels. Researchers suspect that inflammation inside arteries may be another heart threat. If you have a family history of heart disease, discuss these two extra tests with your doctor: Homocysteine and C-reactive protein.

Celebrate the Season with Cinnamon

Celebrate the Season with Cinnamon Spice

Help celebrate the season with cinnamon, warming to the senses and marking the festivities with its familiar aroma. One of the oldest spices known to us, it has been coveted as a medicine, flavoring, embalming agent, and preservative. So common to households today, it was once quite rare, much sought after, and almost worth its weight in gold.

Celebrate the Season with Cinnamon
Celebrate the Season with Cinnamon

Cinnamon comes from the brown inner bark of several trees from the genus, Cinnamomum, in the laurel family. Ceylon, or “true cinnamon“, and Cassia (also called Chinese and Saigon) are the most common. They are available as dried tubular sticks or ground powder. The oils in the bark contain cinnamaldehyde, among other substances that give this sweet spice its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Just two teaspoons provide 44 percent Daily Value for manganese, which helps the body maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Seasoning high-carbohydrate foods with cinnamon significantly reduces the rise in blood sugar levels by slowing the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Though it is premature to deem cinnamon a treatment for type 2 diabetes, it has shown promise.

Ceylon and Chinese Cinnamon Spice

Ceylon and Chinese are very similar, but the harder-to-find Ceylon is a bit sweeter and more refined. Look for Ceylon in spice stores or online. The spice’s pungent, sweet scent is the best freshness indicator, so when possible, smell it before buying. Cinnamon sticks store up to a year in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark place, twice as long as the stronger flavored ground variety.

A lovely enhancement to both sweet and savory foods and beverages, cinnamon is easily simmered in tea, cider and milk, sprinkled into dough and batter for breads and baked goods, and mixed into beans and curries for a unique ethnic twist.

Hot Apple Cider Recipe

8 cups apple juice or cider Apple Cider in a glass
4 cinnamon sticks (or 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon)
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Heat apple juice or cider in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and zest; simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain and serve hot. Garnish with sticks and a dash of nutmeg, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 124 calories, 0 grams protein, 0 grams fat, 2 grams fiber, 30 grams carbs, 11 milligrams sodium.

See also: Cinnamon Wreaths

Homemade Shakes for Diabetics

Homemade Shakes Especially Made for Diabetics

Most diabetics know of the specific threats they face regarding complications with the eyes, kidneys and feet, but tend to neglect the very real concern of developing cardiovascular disease – also known as CVD.

People with diabetes are at least twice as likely to develop CVD. Studies say CVD may be the leading cause of death in people with diabetes around the world.

To reduce your risk for CVD, you must pay close attention to your blood lipid, or fat, levels, via your diet.

The best defense for diabetics is maintaining good blood glucose control as well as appropriate body weight and adequate physical activity.

In conclusion – go outside this summer and work up a sweat! Then come in and cool off with a refreshing, delicious, good-for-you milkshake – guilt free! In fact, you may want to enjoy them all year!

Homemade Shakes for Diabetics ebook
Homemade Shakes for Diabetics ebook

The Recipes in the eBook

The recipes in this eBook have been specifically developed to be friendly to the diabetic diet.To your health and your heart!

  • Peanut Butter Milkshake
  • Peachy Pudding Shake
  • Strawberry Banana Milkshake
  • Vanilla Shake (plus 3 variations)
  • Orange Milkshake
  • Strawberry Banana Yogurt Shake
  • Raspberry Cream Shake
  • Mint Chocolate Chip Milkshake
  • Chocolate-Banana Shake
  • Pineapple Smoothie
  • Hawaiian Smoothie

You can purchase it from  Mayda Mart. To go directly to the eBook page, simply click on the cover above. You will have instant access to download the eBook in PDF format after payment.

Find more diabetic beverage recipes in the Diabetic Recipes section.

Diabetic Angel Food Ice Cream Cake

It’s angel food cake day!

Angel food is great for just about any diet, although it is very sweet so we have a diabetic angel food ice cream cake recipe to share today.

Diabetic Angel Food Ice Cream Cake

Diabetic Angel Food Ice Cream Cake Ingredients

Diabetic Angel Food Ice Cream Cake
Angel Food Cake

1 angel food cake (8 inches)
1/2-gallon sugar free vanilla ice cream (slightly softened)
2 quarts fresh strawberries
Sugar substitute to taste


Cut the cake in half; tear one half into small pieces and set aside.
Cut the other half into 12 thin slices. Arrange in the bottom of a wax paper lined 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan, overlapping as needed.
Spread softened ice cream over cake, pressing down to smooth.
Gently press the small cake pieces into the ice cream.
Cover and freeze.

Just before serving, slice strawberries and sweeten to taste.
Cut dessert into squares and top with strawberries.

Recipe makes 12 servings of Diabetic Angel Food Ice Cream Cake.

Note: A long serrated knife is the best utensil for cutting angel food cake. Slice the cake using a light sawing motion.

Nutrition Information

183 calories, 131 mg sodium, 15 mg cholesterol, 34 gm carbohydrate, 6 gm protein, 4 gm fat.
Diabetic exchanges per serving prepared with sugar free ice cream and sugar substitute: 1-1/2 starch, 1 fat, 1/2 fruit.

Bonus: Angel Macaroons

1 16-ounce one-step angel food cake mix
1/2 cup of sugar-free strawberry soda
2 teaspoons vanilla or almond extract
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Cover 15 x 11 x 1-inch baking sheet with foil.

In large bowl beat cake mix, soda pop and flavoring on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed, scraping sides of bowl. Fold in coconut and nuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto foil-lined baking sheet about 2-inches apart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Visit the section of ALL Diabetic Sweets (recipes)!

Glycemic Index and GI Foods

The Glycemic Index and GI Foods

The Glycemic Index (GI) was developed as a tool to help people with diabetes keep their blood glucose under control. Many diet programs base their carbohydrate choices entirely on the GI.  The argue that high GI foods are fattening and low GI foods are not. Unfortunately, the whole theory is oversimplified.  It causes more confusion to an already confusing subject.

Glycemic Index Chart
Glycemic Index Chart


According to advocates of the GI system, you should avoid foods high on the scale. These foods include rice cakes, carrots, potatoes, or grape juice. They are absorbed so rapidly they are more likely to convert to fat. Instead, we are urged to consume carbohydrates that are low on the Glycemic Index. These foods include black eye peas, barley, oatmeal, peanuts, apples and beans. These foods absorb slowly.

The Glycemic (GI) Index GoofMashed Potatoes

There is an important mistake in using the Glycemic Index for carbohydrate choices. The Glycemic Index was developed based on eating carbohydrates by themselves in a fasted state. However, when carbohydrates are eaten in mixed meals that contain protein and some fat, the Glycemic Index loses its meaning entirely. The protein and fat slow down the absorption of the carbohydrates.

For example, mashed potatoes have a Glycemic Index near that of pure glucose. If you combine the potatoes with a chicken breast and broccoli, the GI of the entire meal is much lower than the potatoes alone. Rice cakes also have a high GI. But if you put a dab of peanut butter on them, the fat slows the absorption of the carbohydrates, lowering the GI.

Another goof:

Bowl of Ice CreamThe Glycemic Index was developed based on eating a food in the fasted state. We don’t always eat in a fasted state.

If low Glycemic Index foods were the key to fat loss, then you could eat ice cream and M & M’s and you would lose weight. There are more important factors than the GI, such as whether or not your carbohydrates are natural or processed.

To determine if a carbohydrate is natural and unrefined, ask yourself if the food in question came out of the ground or off the tree or plant and remains in its natural state. If the answer is yes, then you’ve got a natural, unrefined food.

Diabetes and Hypertension

Diabetes and Hypertension

Did you know that diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure in the United States? High blood glucose (sugar) and high blood pressure cause damage in the kidneys and other areas of the body, including the eyes, nerves and heart. In kidney failure, the kidneys are no longer able to remove wastes and water from the body. These wastes and water build up in the body and become life-threatening.

Diabetes and Hypertension
Diabetes and Hypertension

To protect your kidneys control your:

  • Glucose Level: Target range of 80-120 mg/dl before meals,
  • Hemoglobin A1c: Less than 7 percent,
  • Blood Pressure: Less than 130/80,
  • Cholesterol: Less than 200mg/dl,
  • Weight: Ask your doctor,


  • Exercise on a regular basis,
  • Limit protein intake,
  • Talk with a dietitian about foods you should eat,
  • See your doctor for prompt treatment of bladder and kidney infections,
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any drugs,
  • Many medicines, those you buy for yourself or those ordered by the doctor, can damage the kidneys,
  • Visit your doctor for your diabetes at least once a year or more often, if necessary,

There are no symptoms in early kidney disease. That is why it is important to visit your doctor on a regular basis and be tested. A test that measures small amounts of protein in the urine, called microalbuminuria, can determine very early kidney disease before symptoms are present.

Nine Essential Facts About Diabetes and Hypertension

    1. High blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions that can harm the kidneys.
    2. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the second-leading cause of chronic kidney failure in the United States.
    3. Severe high blood pressure causes kidney malfunction over a relatively short period of time. However, even mild forms of high blood pressure can damage kidneys over several years. There may be no evidence of kidney malfunction until severe damage has occurred. It is important to avoid hypertension.
    4. 60 million Americans have elevated blood pressures requiring treatment with drugs or constant monitoring; half of these individuals are not aware that they have high blood pressure.
    5. In 90 percent of the cases, no specific cause is identified for high blood pressure. However, people who are older, people with a family history of high blood pressure, people who are overweight, and African-Americans have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure.
    6. High blood pressure affects 38 percent of the African-American population, and 24 percent of the Caucasian population. African-Americans tend to develop high blood pressure at a younger age, and to develop more severe high blood pressure. The rate of kidney failure caused by high blood pressure in African-Americans is more than 6.5 times higher than in Caucasians.
    7. Elevated blood pressure frequently causes no symptoms at all, although some people may experience dizziness, headaches or nose bleeds.
    8. High blood pressure can affect anyone at any age, although it is much less frequent in children. Regular blood pressure checkups should begin in childhood and continue throughout life.
    9. Many effective drugs are available for treating high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, exercising regularly and stopping smoking may be enough to regulate blood pressure.

Source: NKF 

Personal Eating Style

Personal Eating Style

What is your personal eating style? What, where, when and why you eat is really a very personal issue. We acquire our eating habits over many years and they can be very difficult to change, even when needed due to diabetes. No matter your reasons, you are not alone if you feel this way. A lot of us don’t think about any personal eating style. We just eat!

Perhaps it is time to stop and take a look at your personal eating style. See if there is room for improvements.

Personal Eating Style
Personal Eating Style

The key to your success is examining your current eating habits and making the necessary changes without compromising too much. Keep a food diary for one or two weeks – just do as you usually do. Record the four W’s you ate:

  1. What did you eat?
  2. When did you eat it?
  3. Where did you eat it?
  4. Why did you eat it?

Take note of the times you find you ate more than you needed to, or ate just because. Ask yourself if you were really hungry or simply wanted to eat something because that is your habit? Say, watching TV or at a movie, etc. Ask your loved ones and friends to support and encourage you – maybe they already are!

Most importantly, be brutally honest with yourself. Know one else needs to see this information but you.

Above all, take your time in making your dietary changes. You didn’t develop your eating habits overnight and you cannot be expected to change them overnight. Be kind to yourself and do not place difficult demands on your back. After all, you have the rest of your life to put your new diet into practice!

Baby steps are far better than no steps. Just head in the right direction. 🙂

Grab a Free Printable Food Diary. No catch, just download a small PDF file and you’re good to go.

High Sugar Foods

High Sugar Foods

Used in large amounts, high sugar foods can cause an abnormally high rise in blood sugar. This is due to the quick digestion of carbohydrates in the intestinal tract, which turns into glucose causing quick entry into the bloodstream.

High Sugar Foods
High Sugar Foods

If your body does not contain enough insulin to handle this surge of high sugar foods, blood sugar levels can rise too high. The following list is of  high sugar foods that can cause difficulties with diabetic management. If you use carbohydrate counting as part of an eating plan, you may be able to use these techniques to incorporate some of these foods into your meals.

High sugar foods are often high in fat and calories and contribute little nutritional value. If you are looking to cut back on sugar for health reasons, or for weight loss, avoid the following foods until you meet with a dietitian to learn if they can be included in your diet.

List of High Sugar Foods

  • Alcohol: Sweet wines, liqueurs, cordials.
  • Candy.
  • Carbonated beverages with sugar, including regular soda.
  • Sugar coated cereals.
  • Chewing gum with sugar.
  • Dates, figs and other dried fruits.
  • Desserts containing sugar.
    • Cake.
    • Cookies with filling or frosting.
    • Ice cream, including sodas, shakes and sundaes.
    • Ice milk.
    • Gelatin dessert, sweetened.
    • Pie.
    • Pudding.
    • Sherbet.
  • Fructose.
  • Fruited yogurt.
  • Honey.
  • Jelly and Jam (non-dietetic).
  • Marmalade.
  • Pastries.
  • Preserves.
  • Special “dietetic” foods.
  • Sugar.
  • Sugar-sweetened fruit drinks (Kool-Aid, Hi-C, etc.).
  • Sweetened condensed milk.
  • Syrups (maple, molasses, etc.)

Alcohol may interfere with the management of diabetes. Always consult with your doctor or dietitian before consuming alcohol.

For Diabetics

Perhaps you are aware that today diabetics do not have to give up their sweet treats entirely, thanks to artificial sweeteners. There is a wide range available that you can fit into your diet program.

Sweeteners that contain calories, called nutritive sweeteners, will affect your blood sugar. These sweeteners are all carbohydrates and contain four calories per gram. Non-nutritive sweeteners contain few, if any, calories and are therefore called non-caloric sweeteners. These will have no effect on your blood sugar so people with diabetes can use these types of sweeteners. You will find artificial sweeteners have different cooking properties and tastes. You may want to try a variety, depending on the way you wish to use them and according to your taste.

Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Cholesterol and Triglycerides

Cholesterol is not fat, but does act in connection with fats in the body. Cholesterol is a wax-like substance that gets into your bloodstream in several ways. The liver and the intestines can manufacture it. Or, it can enter the body through the foods you eat. Cholesterol is found in animal products such as fatty red meats, egg yolks and whole dairy products.

Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Cholesterol and Triglycerides

When the body contains too much cholesterol, the cholesterol deposits itself on the walls of your arteries, which causes them to close down or clog completely.

The amount of cholesterol consumed in a day should not exceed 300 milligrams according to Canada and most of Europe.

The U.S. and some other countries believe it should be 200 or lower.

US and other countries

  • Below 200 mg/dL – Desirable.
  • 200-239 mg/dL – Borderline high.
  • 240 mg/dL and above – High.

Canada and most of Europe

  • Below 5.2 mmol/L – Desirable.
  • 5.2-6.2 mmol/L – Borderline high.
  • Above 6.2 mmol/L – High.

Stat source: Mayo Clinic

The body makes two types of cholesterol:

  1. HDL (high-density lipoprotein) the good.
  2. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) the bad.

HDL is good because it sweeps cholesterol from the arteries and carries it back to the liver, where it is reprocessed or eliminated. LDL is bad because it is deposited into the arteries. In addition, saturated fat is bad because it raises the level of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. This makes you more susceptible to clogged arteries. By contrast, unsaturated fat is thought to help prevent heart and vessel disease.

Researchers and experts believe unsaturated fats work to lower the amount of bad cholesterol. They may even help raise the level of good (HDL) cholesterol. But this is not a free ride to go nuts on fat. What this information tells you is why unsaturated fats are recommended over saturated fats.

For Diabetics

Because you or someone you love has diabetes, your doctor will recommend certain tests. S/he will want to check your HDLs and LDLs. HDLs should be over 35mg/dl and LDLs under 130mg/dl.

Triglycerides, a type of storage fat in your body, needs to be checked as well. High blood sugar can raise the amount of triglycerides in your body. To reduce triglycerides one needs to lower their intake of carbohydrates, shed any extra pounds, avoid alcohol and exercise regularly.

Diabetics are more likely to have problems with HDL and LDL levels, as well as triglycerides, which increases the threat of heart and artery disease. This is why it is important you understand their role in your dietary needs.

Crucial Diabetes Control: A Meal Plan

Crucial Diabetes Control: A Meal Plan

Crucial Diabetes Control: A Meal Plan
Crucial Diabetes Control: A Meal Plan

By following a meal plan for diabetes control. Diabetics will gain both long and short-term benefit due to giving your body the ability to maintain blood sugar. In turn, this will make you feel better and give you more energy.

For some people with Type II diabetes, a meal plan can help reduce insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is linked to excessive weight and heredity. If you are overweight, shedding just a few extra pounds can enable your cells to use insulin more efficiently. Simply eating the right amount and variety of foods at the right time will also help your body combat insulin resistance. Even before losing so much as one pound! This makes for great diabetes control.

Your diet is crucial in your diabetes control so you can live a happy, healthy, long life with few of the negative consequences of diabetes. Hopefully none!

When one has had diabetes for many years, the risk of developing complications increases significantly. Some can be life threatening. In the past, the onset of these complications was very common due to the lack of knowledge we now have.

The right meal plan can avert risks for both Type I and Type II diabetics. The worst and most serious complications now only occur in diabetic patients who do not learn how to control and work with their diabetes. They must do so via diet, exercise and avoiding health risks that come with diets high in saturated fat, salt and cholesterol. Food high in these substances increases the risk of heart and blood vessels. When you have diabetes your risk is increased. Practice diabetes control!

First and most important: Do NOT think of this as a “diet”. Your goal is to develop a healthy and lifelong eating plan to help you take control of your diabetes. This contribute to your optimum health.

When first developing your dietary plan, consult with a registered dietitian. The two of you will consider a number of factors in determining a personal eating plan you can live with. Other factors that should be addressed and taken into consideration in developing your meal plan are:

  • Lifestyle. Your work/school schedule and exercise habits – or lack of them!
  • Medication. Your dietitian will need to know what medications you are taking, the dosage and when the action of it reaches its peak.
  • Weight goals. Yes, the dreaded weight issue. Whether or not you need to lose weight, gain weight or maintain weight will be factored into your personal plan.
  • Medical condition. Any other medical conditions you may have need to be taken into consideration in determining what you should/can or should/cannot not eat.
  • Food preferences. You will be asked what kind of foods you enjoy and if you follow any specific diet such as vegetarian, low carbohydrate, etc.

A Note on Pre-Diabetes

Health experts do not routinely recommend medication as treatment for pre-diabetes. Instead, some simple lifestyle changes are just what the doctor ordered. In a recently completed Diabetes Prevention Program research study, people ate healthier and exercised to lose five to seven percent of their body weight lowered their incidence of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent. They lost weight by cutting back on fat and calories and by increasing their activity level, mostly by walking, to at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week.