Focus On Fruits Vegetables Whole Grains And Beans
Our typical American diet is now abbreviated as SAD by scientists nationwide because its full of foods that do sad things to both hearts and waistlines. Hyperprocessed foods like potato chips and French fries. Sugar-saturated drinks. And fatty, artery-clogging meats and full-fat dairy foods like cheese.
We dont have to become complete vegetarians to get our cholesterol levels into healthy ranges, studies on the Pritikin Program have found, but clearly, the more vegetables, fruits, potatoes, and other naturally-fiber-rich plant foods we eat, the healthier well be.
Plant foods high in soluble fiber are especially beneficial in lowering total and LDL bad cholesterol levels. Good sources include beans , yams, oats , barley, and berries.
For simple tips on bringing more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans into your life, here is a 5-day sample healthy meal plan from the doctors and dietitians at Pritikin Longevity Center.
If Lifestyle Changes Arent Enough
Take medications, if you need to, to lower your cholesterol into healthy ranges. Drugs like statins can be very effective, says Dr. Danine Fruge, MD, ABFP – Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center, but do continue in your efforts to eat well and exercise because a healthy lifestyle can give you far, far more than drugs alone.
With a healthy living program like Pritikin, youre not only reducing cholesterol quickly, youre also creating changes throughout your body that can profoundly improve your overall well-being. Youre reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Other heart disease risk factors like triglyceride fats are also dropping dramatically. Youre also reducing inflammatory factors that sicken arteries. Youre shedding excess weight. And, quite simply, youre feeling better, much better. Many of our guests at Pritikin tell us, I had no idea I could feel this good again.
Can any pill or combination of pills do all of the above? I highly doubt it. But a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin can.
Add These Foods To Lower Ldl Cholesterol
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some deliver soluble fiber, which binds cholesterol and its precursors in the digestive system and drags them out of the body before they get into circulation. Some give you polyunsaturated fats, which directly lower LDL. And some contain plant sterols and stanols, which block the body from absorbing cholesterol.
1. Oats. An easy first step to lowering your cholesterol is having a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add a banana or some strawberries for another half-gram. Current nutrition guidelines recommend getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, with at least 5 to 10 grams coming from soluble fiber.
2. Barley and other whole grains. Like oats and oat bran, barley and other whole grains can help lower the risk of heart disease, mainly via the soluble fiber they deliver.
3. Beans. Beans are especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, meaning you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks trying to lose weight. With so many choices from navy and kidney beans to lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and beyond and so many ways to prepare them, beans are a very versatile food.
4. Eggplant and okra. These two low-calorie vegetables are good sources of soluble fiber.
Also Check: Why Does Shrimp Have High Cholesterol
What Are The Risks Of Having High Cholesterol
High cholesterol puts an individual at risk for many health conditions, but the most important is the risk of heart attack. 1 in 6 adults in American have high blood cholesterol, putting them at risk for the leading cause of death. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that builds up on artery walls. This also puts an individual at risk for heart problem, as well as stroke.
Risk factors for high cholesterol include advanced age, diabetes, family history of high cholesterol, being overweight, a lack of exercise and a diet high in fat. For many of these reasons high cholesterol is one of the risk factors for heart attack that is most easily avoided.
How To Lower Your Cholesterol
Reduce your chance of cardiovascular disease with our top tips and advice
High cholesterol levels can have a dramatic effect on your risk of cardiovascular disease. But theres plenty you can do to address the problem, discovers David Goding.
Theres a considerable amount of confusion surrounding cholesterol what it is, where it comes from and why its so bad for us. The truth is, when the correct balance is maintained, cholesterol plays an important role and is even considered necessary for good health. Its when theres too much cholesterol in the blood that it becomes the cause of major concern, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Of all the substances that our body produces, cholesterol seems to hold the record for bad press, says dietician Catherine Collins, co-author of Healthy Eating for Lower Cholesterol.
Yet, what people often tend to overlook is that cholesterol is essential for human life. Cholesterol forms the basis of steroid hormones such as testosterone and progesterone , cortisol and vitamin D, for healthy bones.
Cholesterol is also responsible for repairing protective walls of cells that are damaged during the course of daily life.
GETTING THE BALANCE RIGHT
If there is too much LDL around, it functions abnormally, dumping too much cholesterol at each repair site and into the walls of arteries, which ultimately damages them, says Dr Malcolm Clark, GP and author of Doctor in the House.
- What to avoid:
- What to include:
- Taking supplements
Also Check: Cholesterol In Egg Beaters
Lowering Your Cholesterol Without Prescription Drugs
High LDL cholesterol levels , low HDL cholesterol levels , and high triglyceride levels are now recognized as being major risk factors for cardiovascular disease. And for decades, cardiologists and public health experts have stressed the importance of controlling blood lipid levels in an attempt to prevent heart disease.
A number of prescription drugs are available to help reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, many health-conscious people would prefer to improve their lipid levels without resorting to prescription medications.
This article provides information about some of the more commonly used non-prescription methods of lowering cholesterol. But first, there are a few things you should know about cholesterol lowering and its effect on cardiovascular risk.
When Supplements Make Sense
Not everyone with an elevated cholesterol level needs to take a statin. There are ways to achieve moderate lowering of cholesterol levels without using such drugs.
If you are basically healthy, and a formal assessment of your cardiovascular risk places you in a low-risk groupor at least shows that your risk is not high enough to warrant statin therapythen non-prescription cholesterol lowering makes good sense.
Lets review some of the commonly used non-prescription means of lowering cholesterol.
Don’t Miss: How Much Cholesterol In Crab
Exercise To Lower Cholesterol
For some people, eating healthy and exercise does not lower serum cholesterol. However, for many people, exercise does have a beneficial effect on cholesterol markers. According to this study in the New England Journal of Medicine , combining exercise with a low fat diet is better for your cholesterol than dieting alone.
Exercise can raise your level of HDL cholesterol . In nonobese patients with high LDL and low HDL levels, the study showed that after one year of exercising and dieting, the patients had up to an 11% decrease in LDL levels. And in this study, also in the NEJM, the decrease in LDL levels was higher: up to 20%. The subjects walked or jogged 10 miles per week.
Boost Your Soluble Fiber Intake
Eating fibrous foods helps lower LDL and total cholesterol. It may carry cholesterol out of the body before it can be absorbed. Increase your soluble fiber, the type that absorbs water in digestion, by eating fruit, vegetables, legumes , barley, oats and oat bran. Shoot for 25 to 30 grams of total fiber daily from food, not supplements, says the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.
You May Like: Does Pasta Have High Cholesterol
What Habits Can Help Master Healthy Cholesterol
Did you know that for every 10% drop in your total cholesterol level, your heart attack risk drops by 20% to 30%?
Plus, theres more good news! Studies show most of us can reduce cholesterol quickly, and without medications. Simple lifestyle strategies can be very powerful!
To maintain a healthy cholesterol level, its as much about what foods you add in, as what you take away. You want to add foods that lower LDL, cut back on foods that raise LDL, while also doing all you can to keep HDL as high as possible.
Different foods lower cholesterol in various ways. Some are full of soluble fiber, which act like a sponge to soak up cholesterol in the digestive system and drag it out of the body before it gets into circulation. Other foods provide polyunsaturated fats which directly lower LDL and reduce the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease.
About Heart And Vascular Institute
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.
Also Check: Bone Broth And Cholesterol
Can I Use Vitamins To Lower My Cholesterol
The only vitamin that really lowers cholesterol is red yeast rice at 1200 mg twice a day, according to Dr. Cho.
The problem with red yeast rice is that it contains the same chemical compound as lovastatin, which means you would need to have your liver function monitored if you take it, she says. The Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved this supplement for medical use, so talk to your doctor before considering it.
All in all, you can lower your cholesterol naturally. Diet should be the cornerstone of therapy and pills are a supplement, not a substitute, for a good diet. Always talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements.
How Do I Know If I Have High Cholesterol
Many Australians don’t know they have high cholesterol, because there are no symptoms. High cholesterol can only be detected through a blood test.
Some people have a condition called familial hypercholesterolaemia where a genetic problem leads to high cholesterol. About one in 500 Australians has this condition and many dont know they have it. If you have a family history of high cholesterol or of heart disease at a young age, ask your doctor about your risk.
Also Check: How Do Honey Nut Cheerios Lower Cholesterol
Lifestyle Changes To Make Now
Lifestyle changes can be some of the simplest and hardest changes to make. Ochman notes that daily exercise and a healthy diet are the two most important things you can do to lower your cholesterol. He recommends a Mediterranean-style diet that focuses on whole foods, healthy fats and plenty of fruits and veggies. A Mediterranean-style diet typically avoids red meat, which is considered anything with four legs. Replace beef, pork and deer with fatty fish, legumes and tofu for cholesterol-friendly protein choices.
Theres been a lot of debate and research around low-fat and no fat diets, said Ochman. Weve discovered that the best diet for cholesterol is one that includes healthy fats and moderate caloric intake. The famous food author Michael Pollan said, Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants, which holds a lot of truth.
As you evaluate your eating habits, dont obsess over specific foods that claim to lower cholesterol. Ochman prefers for patients to follow a balanced diet that incorporates a variety of whole foods.
Daily exercise that gets your heart rate up is also important. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week, about 20 to 30 minutes most days. A study published in the journal Metabolism found that aerobic exercise increased HDL healthy cholesterol and decreased LDL lousy and total cholesterol levels.
How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Tested
Adults should have their blood lipids measured every 5 years, starting at 45 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should start lipid blood tests at 35, because on average heart and blood vessel disease such as heart attacks and stroke happen 10 to 20 years earlier in Indigenous people.
All Australians in these age groups are eligible for a regular 20-minute heart health check with their doctor. This checks your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Your doctor can then assess your risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 5 years.
Don’t Miss: How Does Hdl Work
Add High Magnesium Foods
Only 50% of Americans eat enough magnesium . This powerhouse mineral has tons of benefits in the body. Specifically, magnesium is shown to lower CRP, a protein that increases when your body is inflamed . Since high cholesterol and heart health is highly related to inflammation this is only going to help you.
Foods high in magnesium:
Dark leafy greens, organic dark chocolate, almonds, sesame seeds roasted, sunflower seeds, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, black beans, avocado, banana.
Unfortunately High Cholesterol Has No Symptoms A Blood Test Is The Only Way To Detect It
Rajiv Punn, MD
At Westchester Health, many of our patients are worried about their cholesterol level and want to know what they can do to bring it down, but they dont want to go on medication to do so. To help you become more informed about your cholesterol and your options for lowering it, we offer these guidelines and suggestions before it becomes a serious health concern.
Read Also: Can Dehydration Skew A Cholesterol Test
You Can Begin To Reduce Your Bad Ldl Cholesterol Naturally By Making A Few Simple Changes In Your Diet
If your cholesterol is creeping upward, your doctor has probably told you that diet and exercisethe traditional cornerstones of heart healthcould help to bring it down. And if you’d prefer to make just one change at a time to lower your cholesterol naturally, you might want to begin with your diet. A major analysis of several controlled trials involving hundreds of men and women found that dietary changes reduced LDL and total cholesterol while exercise alone had no effect on either.
The people in the studies followed a variety of diets, from Mediterranean to low-fat to low-calorie. However, the most effective diets substituted foods with the power to lower cholesterol for those that boost cholesterol. According to Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, eating with your LDL in mind doesn’t have to be an exercise in self-deprivation. While you may have to say goodbye to a few snacks and fast foods, you can replace them with others that are equally satisfying. “You don’t have to follow an all-or-nothing approach. It’s really a matter of common sense,” she says. She suggests a few ways to start getting your cholesterol under control and keep it normal.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
- Research health conditions
- Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Alcohol And Ldl Levels
Although moderate consumption of alcohol can significantly raise HDL levels, it can also lower LDL, according to studies. Moderate consumption means one serving a day for women and one to two servings per day for men.
However, drinking more alcohol doesnt necessarily equal better results in terms of improving your heart health. Studies have also indicated that drinking more than three alcoholic drinks a day could actually increase your chances of heart disease.
Also Check: Does Canned Tuna Have Cholesterol
Why Treatment Is Not Straightforward
While several kinds of prescription medications can substantially improve cholesterol levels, until recently only one class of drugs had been repeatedly shown to also improve cardiovascular riskthe statins.
PCSK9 inhibitor drugs, first approved for use in treating cholesterol in 2015, also show new promise as risk reducers. Two large clinical outcome trials using PCSK9 inhibitors have definitively shown improved cardiovascular outcomesand thus cardiovascular risk reductionwith the PCKS9 inhibitors evolocumab and alirocumab.
Anyone who already has coronary artery disease, or has had a stroke, diabetes, or other risk factors that place them at very high risk for cardiovascular disease, should be strongly considered for statin therapy. PCSK9 inhibitor therapy may also be an option.
If you are in this category, taking supplementseven if they are effective in improving your lipid levelsis not enough.
Tips To Fix Your Cholesterol Without Medication
The singular focus on treating cholesterol as a means to prevent heart attacks is leading to the deaths of millions of people because the real underlying cause of the majority of heart disease is not being diagnosed or treated by most physicians.
For example, I recently saw a patient named Jim who had “normal” cholesterol levels yet was taking the most powerful statin on the market, Crestor. Despite this aggressive pharmaceutical treatment, this man was headed for a serious heart attack. Jim’s doctors had missed his real disease risks by focusing on and treating his cholesterol levels. All the while they were ignoring the most important condition that put him at dramatically higher risk of heart attacks, diabetes, cancer and dementia. In a moment I will explain what this condition is and what you can do about it.
This craze for treating cholesterol has lead to an onslaught of pharmaceuticals designed to “lower cholesterol.” Statins are now the number one selling class of drugs in the nation and new cholesterol medications are produced every day. The latest in a new class of “super” cholesterol drugs, CETP inhibitors, now in the drug approval pipeline from Merck burst into the news recently with exclamations from typically restrained scientists. Data on this new drug was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the American Heart Association conference in Chicago.
Why Lowering Cholesterol May Not Lower the Risk of Death
Don’t Miss: Tuna Good For Cholesterol