Diet and Heart Disease

Coronary Heart Disease is a leading cause of death apparently related to what and how much we eat. Blood cholesterol and lipoproteins appear to have an effect on the constriction of arteries with yellowish deposits containing fatty material found in the artery wall serving the heart and blood clots (thrombus) in a coronary artery. Can also cause stroke.

The problem perceived is dual: maintain blood cholesterol concentration high enough to provide enough cholesterol for cells, yet low enough to prevent rapid atherosclerosis. Cholesterol, like triglycerides, are poorly soluble in the water medium of the blood. Thus, they are transported in complexes known as lipoproteins.

The four major classes of lipoproteins in blood differ in the amount and type of protein, cholesterol, triglycerides and phospholipids. Lipoproteins separate in a centrifuge as the spinning separates them according to how dense they are:

  1. Chylomicrons are the least dense, shortest lifetime and largest of the lipoproteins. 87 % is triglycerides with only 1-2 % protein, 8 % phospholipids and 3-4 % cholesterol and cholesterol esters.
  2. Very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) with a 12 hour lifetime is formed in the liver, transporting triglycerides from the liver where they are formed to fat and muscle cells. 55 % triglycerides with about 9 % protein, phospholipids up to 20 % and cholesterol and cholesterol esters up to 15 %.
  3. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) are subsequently formed in the blood from the VLDL. Transports cholesterol so most of the blood cholesterol is found in LDL. Thus LDL has a whopping 43 % cholesterol and cholesterol esters, with 25 % protein, 8 % triglycerides, 24 % phospholipids.
  4. High density lipoproteins (HDL)  log in at 35 – 50 % protein, only 1 % triglycerides, 20 % phospholipids and remainder as cholesterol and cholesterol esters.

Plasma concentration of total cholesterol is positively related to risk of coronary heart disease. High density cholesterol concentration is negatively related to coronary heart disease risk. HDL cholesterol/total cholesterol ratio is a good coronary heart disease risk predictor. The higher the ratio the lower the risk.

Diet and Cholesterol

2/3 of the body’s cholesterol is synthesized by cells, particularly the liver. However, an increase in dietary cholesterol intake can increase blood cholesterol while a decrease in dietary cholesterol intake can decrease blood cholesterol concentrations for most people. Egg yolk is about 1500 mg cholesterol/100 g. Butter is 250 mg/100g. Beef, pork, lamb, fish, chicken is 60-90 mg/100 g.

Saturated Fat

The quantity of saturated triglycerides and polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet seems to affect blood cholesterol levels. Cut down on red meat levels, use leaner meat, replace red meat with poultry and fish. Use skim milk and margarine.


A high relative weight [weight/height2] is associated with increased risk for a first major heart attack for men under 50 years of age. Exercise alone or exercise and reduced lietary intake can reduce body weight and reduce blood cholesterol levels. This also can increase HDL cholesterol/ total cholesterol ratio.

The superior herb, the Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum), has decreased people’s cholesterol levels when added regularly to the diet. Having been diagnosed with high cholesterol myself, I find taking Ganoderma Lucidum daily enables me to keep my levels down and get off prescription medication. I am feeding my body with optimum nutrition improving my level of wellness. What might it do for you?

Janet Wiebe