The most important factor in whether or not you develop heart disease is the food you eat.

Q. With heart disease as rampant as it is, just how concerned should I be if I have a high cholesterol level?
M.C., Coronado, California

A.When people get together and the subject of health comes up, it's very common to hear someone ask, "What's your cholesterol level?" If the answer is 195, people think it's good. However, if the answer is, say, 220, then the reaction is typically sympathetic.

Most people think anything under 200 is good and anything over that is bad. But a level of 195 may not be good, and 220 may not be all that bad.

There is good cholesterol and there is bad cholesterol. High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) is the "good" cholesterol and Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) is the "bad" cholesterol. The important thing is the ratio between them.

HDL actually helps prevent cardiovascular disease because it helps remove LDL from blood cells, which means that less LDL can enter into the blood vessel walls. HDL can reverse the buildup in the arteries and act as a blood-thinning agent. This is very important to good heart health.

LDL, on the other hand, is very unhealthy for you if the level in your blood is high. It can cause the inside layers of your arteries to inflame, and fatty plaques and platelets can begin to build up. The blood can start to thicken, a process that can lead to heart complications.

Here is the most important fact to know about cholesterol levels: It is not the individual levels of HDL and LDL or their combined levels that make a big difference. It is the ratio of HDL to LDL that will determine your risk for heart disease.

Your total cholesterol divided by your HDL should be less than 4, and your LDL divided by the HDL should be less than 3.

If your ratios work out to be less than 4 and less than 3 respectively, you are at a low risk to develop heart disease. If your ratios are higher, your risk of heart disease is much higher, regardless of what the individual levels of cholesterol are. That is why a person with a total cholesterol greater than 200 may not be at risk, and a person with a lower cholesterol level may be at great risk.

I recommend that you have your cholesterol levels checked by a doctor and then work out your ratios. If you see that they are higher than what they should be, you should ask your doctor and a nutritionist to help you lower them, preferably through diet and exercise instead of prescription drugs. May you be blessed with a healthy heart.

Q. My father died at age 52 of a heart attack. I am 48. What can I do to lower my risk of the same?
J.M., Houston, Texas

A.I have been to Texas quite a few times, and it is one of the best states in America to get a huge, delicious steak and a baked potato with all of the fixings. But if you really love your heart, you need to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. The most important factor in whether or not you develop heart disease is the food you eat.

In 1989, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report on nutrition and health that confirmed a reduction in the intake of fat would reduce the risk of heart disease. Fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a heart-healthy diet.

You see, when God created us, He put the foods before us that were designed to keep our bodies healthy forever: "Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food'" (Gen. 1:29, NIV). Or consider Psalm 104:14: "He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man" (NKJV).

Science confirms the Scriptures. Many studies conclude that people who eat lots of fruits and vegetables have a reduced risk of heart disease.

My book An Alternative Guide to a Healthy Heart (Siloam Press) shares the findings of many of these studies, as well as the benefits of exercise, which is the second most important factor in heart health.

It is not that difficult to lower your risk of heart disease, but are you willing to make the lifestyle changes needed? Having a healthy heart depends on making healthy choices.


Francisco Contreras, M.D., director of Oasis of Hope Hospital in Mexico, oversees the treatment of 600 cancer patients annually. He is a surgical oncologist, health educator and author of several books, including The Hope of Living Long and Well (Siloam Press), available at www.charismawarehouse.com.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Did you enjoy this health article? Click here to receive new health articles by email.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Cindy Jacobs

    2017: Year of the Breakthrough

    "There will be a significant increase in miracles and signs and wonders."

  • Foot washing

    Shaking the Gates of Hell With a Basin of Water and a Towel

    "When I saw His foot, I knew He had come to take back territory the enemy had stolen from His ...

  • Growing relationship

    2017 Prophetic Word: The Supernatural Key to Growing Your Relationship With God

    It's vital that we understand what comes from God and what comes from the devil.

  • Are you willing to volunteer for God's offensive army?

    Prophetic Word: Preparing for God's World War 3

    God is searching for soldiers of the cross who are willing to volunteer for His offensive army.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit