Foods That Help Lower Your Cholesterol
From chocolate and red wine to beans and legumes, food and drink can help you get your cholesterol levels down.
My patients often ask me if there are any foods that can help with reducing high levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is the so-called “bad” cholesterol that can cause plaque to form in your coronary artery walls, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. My answer is a qualified “yes,” since high LDL can be the result of many factors, including poor genes, obesity, and lack of exercise. For this reason, not everyone will react to dietary changes the same way, and optimal LDL levels are different for every individual.
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body uses to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest food. At normal levels, its essential for health, but if the concentration in the blood becomes too high, LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol can build up in your arteries forming plaques that put you at risk for cardiovascular disease, including chest pain , heart attack, and stroke.
Frequently, too much LDL is the result of a diet rich in saturated fats and trans fats . Eliminating these foods from your diet is a good first step in improving your LDL. Then try adding some or all of the following LDL-lowering foods every day. If you’re already on a statin, dietary changes may help you reduce your dosage, but never reduce or stop taking a statin drug without first consulting your doctor.
Before Taking Garlic For Cholesterol
Most of the studies that examined the effectiveness of garlic on cholesterol used anywhere from 500 to 1000 mg of garlic in their study. The garlic preparations vary widely, from powders used in tablets to raw garlic used in cooking. The dose generally recommended is one to two cloves of raw garlic per day or 300 milligrams of dried garlic powder in tablet form.
- Be sure to tell your healthcare provider that you are taking garlic supplements to lower your cholesterol, since they may interact with certain disease conditions or medications you are taking, including saquinavir, a drug used to treat HIV infection.
- The most notable side effect of garlic is the presence of its persistent, distinctive odor being present on your breath and body. Some commercial preparations may boast of lowering this side effect, but you should still be aware that this undesirable side effect might occur.
- Additionally, if you are taking any type of blood thinner or need surgery soon, you should not take garlic without first consulting your healthcare provider because this may lower your ability to clot your blood.
- Although there is not a definite limit on how much garlic you can consume a day, some studies have suggested that too much garlic may be harmful to your liver. For instance, if you weighed 150 pounds, this would roughly equal to consuming 70 grams of garlic in a day. This would be equivalent to eating 18 cloves of garlic or taking over 100 commercially available tablets .
Medication May Be Needed
For some people, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. High blood cholesterol levels often have a genetic component. Some people inherit altered genes that cause high cholesterol and this cannot usually be changed sufficiently by lifestyle or diet.
If you are at risk of coronary heart disease and your LDL cholesterol level doesnt drop after scrupulous attention to diet, your doctor may recommend medications to force your blood LDL levels down. Cell cholesterol levels, however, remain normal, so lowering blood cholesterol has no effect on most cell metabolic processes.
Some people get muscle aches from statins, which are the most commonly used medication to lower blood cholesterol. However, diet and exercise will still be important, even if you are taking medication. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist who treats cardiovascular disease.
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What To Do Instead: Spice Up Your Diet
No, cooking with garlic wont do a thing for your cholesterol, but it can bestow other health benefits when its part of an overall healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean animal protein. Garlic is a potent antioxidant that can help protect your cells from damage and the spicy cloves have high levels of important nutrients, too, including potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Last, and definitely not least, it tastes good! If youre struggling to get control of your cholesterol, though, talk to your doctor.
Warnings For Other Groups
For pregnant women: Niacin is a category C pregnancy drug. This means two things:
Talk to your doctor if youre pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to your pregnancy.
For women who are breastfeeding: Niacin passes into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.
For seniors: Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of the drug to be higher than normal. If youre a senior, you may need a lower dosage or a different dosage schedule.
For children: Niacin hasnt been studied in children. It shouldnt be used in children younger than 16 years.
All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:
- your age
- how severe your condition is
- other medical conditions you have
- how you react to the first dose
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How Quickly Does Oatmeal Lower Cholesterol
Oatmeal is a great option whether you make it simple or dress it up with fruit, seeds and nuts. But besides just being an Instagram-worthy bowl of goodness, oatmeal offers a particularly impressive benefit. Eating just one and one-half cups of cooked oatmeal a day can lower your cholesterol by 5 to 8%.
Dr Praveen Kulkarni Consultant
Written by Mansi Kohli | Published : May 31, 2017 4:56 PM IST
In a bid to lower your cholesterol or triglycerides and keep heart diseases at bay, many of us often want life-changing supplements. In fact, nowadays many cardiologists suggest taking B vitamins, often referred to as energy vitamins , to give a boost of energy. But, which ones really work? Dr. Praveen Kulkarni, Consultant- Cardiology, Global Hospitals at Mumbai gives a rundown on some chosen supplements.
Psyllium: Psyllium husk fibre is a soluble viscous fibre. It has traditionally been used as a bulk laxative but added benefits in lowering blood cholesterol and sugars have been noted. Controlled studies done after consumption of 7-10 g of Psyllium husk has proven to reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels by 4-6%. Largely devoid of major side effects, it acts by directing cholesterol into bile synthesis and reducing its blood levels.
Fish oil supplements: It was noted that populations with high intake of Omega 3 poly unsaturated fatty acids have low rates of cardiac diseases, kindling fresh interest in fish oils. Fish oils, rich in omega 3 PUFA, when administered in high doses reduce levels of triglycerides and indirectly reduce the levels of LDL cholesterol. However, the side effects in the form of fishy taste , nausea and GI disturbance are frequent reasons for discontinuation.
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List Of Cholesterol Lowering Vitamins What Are They
Cholesterol lowering vitamins are used to lower bad or LDL cholesterol level. Even in normal health or when you do vigorous exercise, an excess of free radicals are produced which are potentially very harmful to your body.
These free radicals can elevate bad cholesterol and even cause cancer. Vitamins have the ability to lower cholesterol by neutralizing the free radicals produced continuously in your body.
Cholesterol vitamins are exceedingly recommended as high level of bad or LDL cholesterol is considered to be the best marker for potential heart disease which affects millions of Americans nowadays.
Vitamins to lower cholesterol are an excellent alternative to conventional medicines, since they are loaded with significant side-effects to your health particularly in case of long-term use. Therefore, it is recommended that you get your cholesterol levels regularly checked and if you have high levels of LDL or bad cholesterol levels, regular use of vitamins that lower cholesterol is recommended irrespective of your age.
Some cholesterol lowering vitamins are vitamin C, Vitamin B3, Calcium, policosanol etc.
What To Do Instead: Make Lifestyle Changes
The only proven way to reduce cholesterol naturally is to adopt lifelong healthy habits and ditch the not-so-great ones, says Dr. Martin. Stop smoking. Try a Mediterranean diet. Skip processed, high-in-saturated-fat foods as much as possible. Find a form of exercise you can be consistent with . The American Heart Association is a good place to start for tips and ideas, but talk to your doctor about what will work for you. Sometimes, diet and exercise can only go so far you may need prescription statins to help get your cholesterol to a comfortable level.
- Fish Oil for Heart Health:Journal of the American Medical Association. . Effect of High-Dose Omega-3 Fatty Acids vs Corn Oil on Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events in Patients at High Cardiovascular Risk: The STRENGTH Randomized Clinical Trial. jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2773120
- Red Yeast Rice Extract:European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. . Variability in strength of red yeast rice supplements purchased from mainstream retailers. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28641460/
- Garlic and Cholesterol:Archive of Internal Medicine. . Effect of Raw Garlic vs Commercial Garlic Supplements on Plasma Lipid Concentrations in Adults With Moderate Hypercholesterolemia: A Randomized Clinical Trial. jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/411743
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More Common Side Effects
Some of the more common side effects of niacin can include:
- reddening and warming of your face
- dark-colored urine
- yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes
Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
Enjoy Lots Of Fruits And Vegetables
Eating fruits and vegetables is an easy way to lower LDL cholesterol levels.
Studies show that adults who consume at least four servings of fruits and vegetables each day have roughly 6% lower LDL cholesterol levels than people who eat fewer than two servings per day .
Fruits and vegetables also contain high numbers of antioxidants, which prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and forming plaques in your arteries .
Together, these cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant effects can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Research has found that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables have a 17% lower risk of developing heart disease over 10 years compared to those who eat the fewest .
Summary Eating at least four servings of fruits and vegetables daily can lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce LDL oxidation, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
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What To Do Instead: Talk To Your Doctor About A Prescription Statin
Though taking a natural remedy may sound appealing, the better bet is to try an FDA-approved version of, essentially, the same thing. Why? Too much monacolin K can lead to muscle and organ damage, while too little will not help lower your cholesterol. Though a 25% to 30% reduction in cholesterol is possible with high amounts of red yeast rice extract, a prescribed statin is much more effective with a 50% reduction. More importantly, says Dr. Eckel: Statins are safer and more predictable.
Supplement Myth #: Fish Oil Does Wonders For Heart Health
While some physicians recommend the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil capsules for patients, several recent clinical trials have put the supplements star status into question, says Seth Martin, M.D., a cardiologist and associate professor at John Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore. Results showed that fish oil failed to reduce cardiovascular risk and actually increased the risk of atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke over time, says Martin.
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Lifestyle Tips To Cut Cholesterol
Changing some of your lifestyle habits may also help to reduce your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Suggestions include:
- Cease alcohol consumption or reduce your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks a day. Avoid binge drinking. This may help lower your triglyceride levels.
- Dont smoke. Smoking increases the ability of LDL cholesterol to get into artery cells and cause damage.
- Exercise regularly . Exercise increases HDL levels while reducing LDL and triglyceride levels in the body.
- Lose any excess body fat. Being overweight may contribute to raised blood triglyceride and LDL levels.
- Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. High blood sugars are linked to an increased risk of atherosclerosis , heart attacks and strokes.
Vitamins To Lower Cholesterol
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Reducing Cholesterol works best with a holistic approach that includes eating well, cutting bad habits and exercising more but vitamins can be a useful way to boost results.When taking vitamins for Cholesterol, its important to stick to the guidelines and be aware of side effects as well as the benefits.Vitamins can help lower cholesterol, but theyre not a substitution for a healthy lifestyle.
When youre looking for ways to reduce cholesterol, one of the first considerations we make is what were eating. High cholesterol has a number of causes, but smoking, drinking and regularly eating fatty foods is the main culprit so it makes sense to switch to healthier meals to improve your heart health. But can vitamins help reduce cholesterol? And which ones should you take?
In this article, well look at the best vitamins for cholesterol. Whether youre looking for preventative steps to reduce total cholesterol in the body, or supplementing a new cholesterol-lowering diet, taking vitamins can be a helpful way to boost results and lower cholesterol naturally.
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What Is Vitamin D
Vitamin D serves many purposes within the body, and you can get it from several different sources. The main function of vitamin D is to promote calcium absorption in your body.
You can get vitamin D through your diet and by getting out in the sun, as long as you dont have sunscreen on. Sunscreens block the skins absorption of the vitamin.
In both cases, the vitamin undergoes several changes within the body before its put to use. From there, vitamin D can help:
- keep your bones healthy
Cholesterol is another necessary substance in the human body. But too much of it can be a bad thing.
There are two main types of cholesterol: LDL, which we mentioned previously, and high-density lipoprotein .
HDL is commonly referred to as good cholesterol, and you want to keep HDL levels above 60 milligrams/dL.
LDL, on the other hand, is known as bad cholesterol, which is the type of cholesterol that can clot your arteries and increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. You should keep your LDL levels below 100 milligrams/dL.
Getting Vitamin D From Sunlight
To make vitamin D, you need sunlight on your skin. From April until the end of September its possible to get enough vitamin D by spending time outside.
For most people, you only need to be outside for short periods of time, for example around 20-30 minutes. Although the exact time isnt known because its different for different people. If you have dark skin, for example if youre of south Asian, African or African Caribbean origin, you will need longer in the sun.
You need to have some skin exposed, for example, your forearms, hands and lower legs. But you can still make vitamin D even if you sit in the shade.
Sitting inside by a sunny window doesnt count because glass filters out the UVB rays the type of light that is needed to make vitamin D.
In the UK, we dont get enough vitamin D from sunlight between October and March, because the light doesnt contain enough UVB rays. During this time, we need to rely on getting enough vitamin D from food, and possibly supplements.
The guidelines in the UK are that everyone should consider taking a vitamin D supplement in the winter, especially if youre more like to have a deficiency.
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What Is The Difference Between Good And Bad Cholesterol
Bad cholesterol, also known as low-density lipoprotein , will build up in the inner walls of your arteries, making them narrow. This slows down blood flow. If this buildup of plaque breaks off, a clot forms that can completely block the flow of blood, causing a heart attack.
Good cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein , helps protect us from heart attacks and strokes. This type carries the bad cholesterol away from the arteries.
Does Vitamin E Affect Cholesterol Levels
Keeping your cholesterol levels in check is very important for your overall health. Doing so can help you lower your risk of heart-related conditions such as stroke or heart attack.
There are several ways you can lower high cholesterol, including medication and lifestyle changes. Increasing your vitamin E intake may also help.
Read on to learn how this works and discover ways to incorporate more vitamin E into your diet.
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Serum Lipid Concentration Changes
The mean net changes between the treatment and placebo groups for LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides entered into the meta-analysis are presented in . In the LDL cholesterol category, 9 of the 11 trials had an intervention-related trend toward a reduction in LDL cholesterol but only 4 of these trials showed a statistically significant reduction when compared with the control group . For the HDL cholesterol category, a trend toward an intervention-related increase was observed for 6 of the 12 trials however, only 1 of these trials showed a statistically significant increase when compared with the control group . For the triglyceride category, a trend toward intervention-related reduction was also observed for 5 of the 10 trials but only 2 of these trials showed a statistically significant reduction when compared with the control group .
Net change in triglyceride concentration associated with vitamin C supplementation. The overall effect size is weighted by the inverse of the total variance of each trial.