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Whole Grain Benefits

Where does cholesterol come from?



The body produces the cholesterol it needs in the liver and intestines so that humans do not have to ingest it through food. To keep cholesterol levels in safe ranges, it may be to maintain a moderate weight and limit your saturated fat intake.

Cholesterol needs to be within a healthy range to prevent heart disease and stroke. However, if someone doesn’t have a test, they may not be aware that they have high cholesterol. This is because it usually doesn’t cause symptoms.

This article explores what cholesterol is and where it comes from. It discusses different types of cholesterol, including how doctors test them and healthy areas. It also explores diet and behavior tips for lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease.

Cholesterol is a sterol that is a type of lipid or fat. This waxy, yellowish-white substance is essential for the construction of the membranes of every cell in the human body.

The human body needs cholesterol to make vitamin D and a number of hormones such as testosterone and estrogen.

The liver and intestines make up about 80% of the cholesterol in the body because cholesterol is essential for proper body function. Only about 20% of the cholesterol in the body comes from the food a person eats.

The body carries cholesterol and other types of fat cells called triglycerides into the bloodstream.

Triglycerides are fat storage molecules that circulate in the body and serve as a source of energy. Both triglycerides and cholesterol are insoluble in water. Therefore, they need protein molecules, so-called lipoproteins, in order to transport them around the body in the blood.

The main types of lipoproteins that the body uses to move lipids (fats) around the body are:

  • Chylomicrons: These large particles carry dietary triglycerides and cholesterol from the intestines to the liver and other body tissues.
  • Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL): The liver produces these particles. Muscle and adipose tissue metabolize VLDL into low density lipoproteins (LDL).
  • LDL: Small, dense LDL particles transport most of the cholesterol in the body’s circulation to the tissues. LDL penetrates the arteries and can be oxidized by free radicals, which leads to atherosclerosis.
  • High density lipoproteins (HDL): These particles play an important role in moving cholesterol back into the liver, which prevents it from building up in the arteries. HDL has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can inhibit atherosclerosis.

Doctors measure these lipoprotein levels to assess a person’s overall risk for heart disease and stroke.

Because too much LDL in the body can increase the risk of heart disease, it is sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol. Conversely, because high HDL cholesterol levels are beneficial, some people call this “good” cholesterol.

Learn more about the differences between LDL and HDL cholesterol here.

High cholesterol usually doesn’t cause symptoms, and the only way to tell if its levels are healthy is to do a blood test.

How often do you have to take a test

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people with no family history of heart disease or other risk factors have their cholesterol checked once at 9-11 years of age and again at 17-21 years of age.

After the age of 20, the AHA suggests checking your cholesterol and other risk factors every 4-6 years as long as the risk remains low.

People with a family history of heart disease should talk to a doctor about how often they will need a cholesterol test.

Lipid profile

Doctors do a lipid profile to check a person’s cholesterol. This test measures total cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as HDL and LDL levels. Laboratories use a measurement of milligrams per deciliter (mg / dL) to record a person’s test result.

Find out what to expect from a cholesterol test here.

The CDC and AHA share the following tips to help people keep their cholesterol levels in a healthy range and reduce their risk of heart disease.

Maintain a moderate weight

The CDC suggests that being overweight and obese increase LDL cholesterol levels. Excess body fat affects how the body uses cholesterol and slows down its ability to remove it from the blood.

The combination of these factors increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Eat a healthy and balanced diet

The body makes all of the cholesterol it needs so people don’t have to get it from food.

However, according to a 2018 review, consuming cholesterol from animal products does not cause cardiovascular disease. Instead, it appears to be saturated fat, which increases LDL and your overall risk of heart disease.

However, although eggs contain cholesterol, they are low in saturated fat and high in nutrient density so people can ingest them as part of a healthy diet.

Avoiding saturated fat and trans fats

To avoid saturated fats and trans fats, people should try to limit the following foods:

  • red, fatty, or processed meat
  • Whole-fat dairy products like whole milk, cheese, and cream
  • Cakes, cookies, donuts and pastries
  • solid fats such as margarine, lard and shortening
  • fried food

However, people can include moderate amounts of healthy fats like olive oil and avocados in their diet.

Learn how much saturated fat a person should be eating each day.

Avoid excess sugar

Consuming foods or beverages rich in sugar can increase a person’s triglyceride levels. Therefore, a person should avoid ingesting too much sugar, for example by avoiding sugary drinks.

Find out how much sugar a person should be consuming each day.

Increase in fiber

The AHA notes that fiber can help improve cholesterol levels. Therefore, in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels, people should try to focus on including the following foods in their daily diet:

Get regular physical activity

Physical activity can help maintain a moderate weight and lower people’s cholesterol and blood pressure, according to the CDC.

The CDC advises that adults should aim for 2.5 hours of moderate exercise every week. People can increase their activity level by taking the stairs, going to the store, or doing simple exercises during the TV commercial.

stop smoking

Smoking damages blood vessels and oxidized cholesterol can build up in lesions and cause plaques in the arteries.

The CDC says quitting smoking lowers a person’s risk of developing heart disease.

Here are 11 tips to help you quit smoking.

Limit alcohol consumption

Alcohol increases the blood sugar level and with it the triglyceride level. As a result, more fats can circulate in the bloodstream, which increases the risk of heart disease.

People should try to limit their alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women.

Consume phytosterols

Phytosterols are plant compounds that some people use to lower their cholesterol levels. People can consume phytosterols from whole foods, fortified foods, or supplements.

Plant sterols and stanols have a chemical structure similar to that of cholesterol and thus prevent cholesterol from being absorbed by the intestines. In addition, foods such as fruits, vegetables, oils and grains naturally contain phytosterols.

The liver and intestines produce cholesterol, which helps build cell membranes, hormones, and vitamin D. Cholesterol is an important substance for health, but too much of the wrong type can increase a person’s risk for heart disease.

People don’t need to get cholesterol from food because the body makes everything it needs. However, consuming cholesterol in eggs is not harmful as part of a healthy diet.

To keep the risk of heart disease low, people should try to limit the intake of saturated fat, trans fats, and sugar in foods and beverages. You should also aim to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes activity and limits alcohol consumption.

People can ask a doctor for a cholesterol test, and they should do it regularly because high cholesterol rarely causes symptoms.

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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