Study Suggests Lower Ldl Cholesterol Is Better
A recent meta-analysis published in JAMA Cardiology suggests that it is both safe and effective to lower LDL below 70 mg/dL. The authors reviewed a large database of CVD patients with LDL levels averaging 70 mg/dL or less at the start of the studies. On average, there was a 20% drop in CVD risk seen for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL cholesterol. In other words, a drop in LDL from 70 mg/dL down to 31 mg/dL was associated with 20% fewer CVD events such as heart attack or stroke.
The benefit was consistent regardless of the medications used to lower cholesterol. The JAMA Cardiology meta-analysis looked at studies in which LDL was lowered with a statin drug, which works by lowering LDL production in the liver, or with a different type of medication, including ezetimibe , which interferes with absorption of LDL from the intestine, or PCSK9 inhibitors, newer injectable medicines that increase uptake of LDL from the bloodstream into the liver. The drop in CVD risk was in line with previous studies of patients who started with LDL levels around 130 mg/dL, and saw a drop in CVD events of about 22% for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL.
In this study, there was no increased risk of adverse outcomes , even when LDL was lowered to as low as 20 mg/dL. Although statin medications themselves have been linked to side effects, especially at high doses, it appears that extremely low LDL concentrations are not responsible for side effects.
Best Diets To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
Medically reviewed by Rebecca Zinger Evidence Based
Following a cholesterol diet is beneficial for people who are struggling to keep their blood cholesterol under control. Cholesterol is often thought of as a bad thing, but our body uses cholesterol as a major component of cell membranes. It is also an integral part of certain sex and adrenocortical hormones, fat-soluble vitamins and bile acids that we require for normal digestion. What many people dont understand is that the body already creates all the cholesterol that it needs in the liver, but additional cholesterol is acquired through our diet, specifically through the animal products. The problem, of course, is when there is too much cholesterol in the body, which must be stored somewhere such as the main arteries of the body. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommends consuming no more than 300 mg per day of cholesterol.
When this extra cholesterol is oxidized in the bloodstream, it is deposited in the blood vessels and arteries as plaque. This can cause blockage in the circulatory system and significantly increase your risk of coronary heart disease, as well as atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. It also elevates blood pressure, triglycerides, and can increase your risk for diabetes.
Nuts: Almonds And Walnuts
Nuts are another exceptional source of healthy nutrient-rich food. Amongst all kinds of nuts, almonds and walnuts hold the highest rank in the foods to lower cholesterol in India due to their high monounsaturated fat, protein and mineral content. Moreover, firstly, nut, in general, are rich in the plant variety of omega-3 fatty acids which promote a healthy heart and health. Secondly, they are high in L-arginine nutrient which helps to regulate blood pressure. And lastly, nuts contain phytosterols , calcium, magnesium and potassium that play a major role in reducing cholesterol LDL and blood pressure levels. Research has proven that consuming nuts daily decreases the risk of heart diseases by a whopping 30%.
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Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- fat spreads made from vegetable oils, such as sunflower and olive oil
- oily fish
Oily fish are a good source of healthy unsaturated fats, specifically a type called omega-3 fats. Aim to eat two portions of fish per week, at least one of which should be oily. A portion is 140g, but you could have two or three smaller portions throughout the week. Tinned, frozen or fresh all count e.g. salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout, herring and mackerel.
Avoid coconut and palm oil as, unlike other vegetable oils, they are high in saturated fat.
Increase Your Consumption Of Dietary Fiber
Ideally, you should be getting 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day, says Dr. Cho. Fiber binds to cholesterol and eliminates it from your body.
To increase your fiber intake, eat more whole grains, legumes like beans and lentils, vegetables and fruits. You should be getting a good mix of both soluble fibers, which are more beneficial for cholesterol, and insoluble fibers, which are better for your gut health.
Lower cholesterol isnt the only benefit of getting enough fiber. Other benefits include reducing your risk of diseases, preventing constipation and keeping you full longer.
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Foods That Help Lower Your Cholesterol
Dietary changes can have a significant impact on managing high cholesterol levels. Here are some of the best foods to try.
If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, your doctor will most likely advise you to start by modifiying your diet. Changing your diet can help lower cholesterol levels when an individual has high cholesterol. Food is going to be your first line of treatment, said Emily Schmidt, R.D., a registered dietitian at Mayo Clinic.
High cholesterol is a condition that, over time, can lead to a number of health issues, such as heart attack or stroke. If the concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is often referred to as bad cholesterol, gets too high, it can build up in the walls of your arteries, forming a plaque. If one of these plaques rupture, a blood clot can form, blocking blood flow, and leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Eat A Variety Of Unsaturated Fats
Two main kinds of fats are found in food: saturated and unsaturated.
On a chemical level, saturated fats contain no double bonds and are very straight, allowing them to pack together tightly and stay solid at room temperature.
Unsaturated fats contain at least one double bond and have a bent shape, preventing them from joining together as tightly. These attributes make them liquid at room temperature.
Research shows that replacing most of your saturated fats with unsaturated fats can reduce total cholesterol by 9% and bad LDL cholesterol by 11% in just eight weeks .
Longer-term studies have also found that people who eat more unsaturated fats and fewer saturated fats tend to have lower cholesterol levels over time .
Summary Eating more unsaturated fats and fewer saturated fats has been linked to lower total cholesterol and bad LDL levels over time. Avocados, olives, fatty fish and nuts are especially rich in unsaturated fats.
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What Is The Portfolio Diet And Does It Lower Cholesterol
If youve been encouraged to improve your cholesterol levels, you may have heard about the Portfolio Diet.
This is an eating pattern designed to lower cholesterol levels. Unlike most other diets, it doesnt set strict rules or restrictions about which foods you should eat or avoid.
Instead, it focuses on a few key ingredients that have been shown to support healthy cholesterol levels.
This article takes a closer look at the Portfolio Diet, including what it is, how it works, and whether its effective.
Eat To Lower Your Cholesterol
Cholesterol isnt all bad news. Follow these tips to lower your cholesterol, the natural way.
Chances are, youve heard a thing or two about cholesterol. Having high blood cholesterol is a risk factor for developing heart disease.
But did you know that you can reduce your cholesterol level by making smart food choices? Its true!
Before we get to the details, lets be clear on what were talking about. For years, cholesterol has had a bad rep that it doesnt really deserve. The truth is, we need cholesterol to function. Your body makes most of the cholesterol it needs. The rest comes from foods you eat.
Heres the important thing: Dietary cholesterol found in meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products has less impact on increasing your blood cholesterol level. Foods that contain lots of saturated fat are the true culprits.
Now heres how to make nutritious choices to lower your blood cholesterol.
Keep eating simple
In the last 20 years, the rules on healthy eating have shifted. Super restrictive diets arent sustainable or the healthiest choice. Rather than zeroing in on a single nutrient, nutrition research shows the quality of your diet matters more. A diet filled with the right portions of whole, unprocessed foods can help decrease heart disease and stroke. What does that look like? For a healthy, balanced eating plan:
Cook at home
Choose more fibre
Each of these options will provide you with two grams:
- ½ ripe avocado
Foods That Increase Cholesterol
If you are trying out a new cholesterol diet to lower your overall cholesterol levels, the foods that you should definitely avoid include trans fats, fatty meats, butter/margarine, full-fat dairy, and fast food.
- Fatty Meat: Red meat and fatty, dark forms of protein should be consumed every so often in the diet. Red meat is known to have higher amounts of cholesterol versus white lean meat or fish.
- Butter/Margarine: Replacing these high and saturated fat items with olive oil or other healthy options are essential, as both butter and margarine contribute to raising your LDL cholesterol levels.
- Full-Fat Dairy Products: While some of the minerals and nutrients in dairy products are good for the body, the amount of fat in cheese, creams, whipped toppings and coffee creamers is dangerously high. Try to choose dairy options that are labeled as Non-fat or Low-fat.
- Trans Fats: These fats are found in foods like cookies, snacks, junk food, fried food, and highly processed food and/or oils. Trans fat is known to increase bad cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body as well as increase triglyceride levels.
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.
Also Check: Cholesterol Hydrophobic
An English Muffin Instead Of A Croissant
Those flaky, perfectly shaped croissants look delicate and delicious at the bakery, but the layers of flour and butter equal a big mistake if youre watching your cholesterol. Butter is high in cholesterol-raising saturated fat, while a whole grain English muffin not only has less saturated fat, but also adds around 4 g of heart-healthy fiber. Making this swap will put you well on your way to the American Heart Associations recommended 25 g of fiber a day to help lower your cholesterol.
Modify Your Eating Habits
A great way to lower your cholesterol naturally is to start by replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats .
This means becoming a food label reader, says Dr. Cho. Its important to limit your saturated fat intake. There should be no more than 2 grams of fat per serving and it should account for less than 7% of your daily calorie intake.
Saturated fats are most often found in palm oil and coconut oil, along with animal products like beef, pork, chicken skin, hot dogs and regular cheese.
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Eating Well + Exercise
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
The Stanford University School of Medicine study involved 200 middle-aged Americans, all sedentary and with poor eating habits. Some were told to launch new food and fitness habits at the same time. Others began dieting but waited several months before beginning to exercise. A third group started exercising but didnt change eating habits till several months later.
All the groups received telephone coaching and were followed for one year. The winning group was the one making food and exercise changes together. The people in this group were most likely to meet U.S. guidelines for exercise and healthy eating , and to keep calories from saturated fat at less than 10% of their total intake of calories.
For best results with a healthy lifestyle, new research has found that plunging right in with both healthy eating and exercising is the way to go.3
Replace Saturated Fats With Healthier Fats
Replacing foods that contain mainly saturated fats with foods that contain unsaturated fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help reduce your cholesterol level.
For example, instead of butter and cream in cooking, use olive oil, nut butters or avocado.
Healthy unsaturated fats are found in:
- oily fish
- fruits and vegetables
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How Is Cholesterol Measured
Most people with high cholesterol feel perfectly well and often have no symptoms. The best way to find out if your cholesterol is high is to have a blood test .
Visit your GP to determine whether you need to lower your cholesterol level and what action to take.
GPs can also do a heart health check, that calculates your heart disease and stroke risk.
Reduce Consumption Of Red Meat
LDL cholesterol is also known as the bad cholesterol because it collects in the walls of your blood vessels and is known to clog your arteries. An essential part of any low LDL cholesterol diet is to reduce the amount of meat you eat as it increases LDL cholesterol. Trendy and popular diets, such as the keto diet, encourage dieters to eat significantly high-fat meals that include red meat. However, adopting a diet that consumes high amounts of red meat and other animal products, has been linked to much higher cholesterol and a variety of other health problems so it is always important to consult your physician before adopting these kinds of diets.
Most animal products, such as turkey and pork, cause some increase in cholesterol. However, red meat has a significant impact on increasing cholesterol. While reducing your intake of beef and pork, try substituting for fish or poultry in your recipes. A simple swap like chicken fajitas instead of beef fajitas can have a big impact on your overall cholesterol.
Also Check: Does Shrimp Have Good Or Bad Cholesterol
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can increase your levels of triglycerides. Along with LDL cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides raise your risk of heart disease.
Excess alcohol consumption also increases blood pressure and can lead to obesity both additional risk factors for heart disease.
To reduce the risk of heart disease and other risks from alcohol, limit your intake to no more than 10 standard drinks per week and no more than 4 drinks per day.
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.
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Eat Fewer Refined Grains Such As White Flour
Were a nation of white food eaters white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white-flour foods like muffins, croissants, bagels, crackers, dried cereals, tortillas, pretzels, and chips. Yes, more than half of many Americans typical diets are made up of hyperprocessed refined white flour, often injected with sugar, salt, and/or fat.
Thats a real problem in part because the more white, or refined, grains we eat, the fewer whole grains we tend to take in. Research has found that eating whole grains can help lower both total and LDL cholesterol, and improve heart health.
In Harvard Universitys Nurses Health Study, for example, women who ate two to three servings of whole-grain products each day were 30% less likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease over a 10-year period than women who ate less than one serving of whole grains per week.2
When first starting to make the switch from refined to whole grains, many people often feel a bit confused. Where to begin? Whats whole? What isnt?
The registered dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center start with one very simple rule. When looking at products like breads and cereals, they recommend turning the package around and making sure the first word in the Ingredient List is whole. If you see the word whole at the top of the list, its a good bet that what youre buying is in fact 100% whole grain, or close to it.