Saturday, May 15, 2010

What You Can Do to Lower Cholesterol

Your doctor has just informed you that you have "hyperlipidemia"  or high cholesterol.  She is mentioning lipid lowering drugs (statins) but you said you want to try some things on your own first.  She agrees and you will recheck the blood levels in 3 months.  What are you going to do?  The advise is all over the ballpark and your google searches come up with various supplements and diets that are confusing and overwhelming.

EverythingHealth is here to give you specific recommendations, based on evidence,  that will help you lower cholesterol.
  1. Decrease saturated fats in your diet to less than 7% of your calories and increase your polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats instead.  Start reading labels. Teach your kids to read labels.
  2. Eat more fiber, for instance 3oz of oats a day or use a psyllium supplement.
  3. Eat almonds, walnuts or pecans every day. (only 1-2 oz which is about 10-12 nuts)
  4. Increase your soy protein like tofu or soy foods to replace meat.
  5. Limit alcohol drinks to 1-2 a day.
  6. Increase consumption of plant stanols and sterols by substituting  (1 oz) buttery spreads for butter or margarine in your diet.
  7. Follow a Mediterranean diet where the main dietary fat is olive oil. The mainstay of Mediterranean is vegetables, whole grains, fish and tree nuts with small amounts of red meat, dairy, eggs and poultry.  Look at your plate.  If meat or poultry is the largest item, it is not Mediterranean.
  8. Increase Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet by eating salmon or tuna twice a week or using a supplement on other days.  Why? Go here and here for details and evidence on the heart healthy benefits of Omega-3.
  9. Do aerobic (sweating, heart pumping) exercise for 120 minutes a week or more.  (that is 17 minutes a day or divide it up into several longer exercise segments)
There it is.  When you doctor says the key to health is "diet and exercise" this is what she means.

14 comments:

Kevin M said...

These are really good and concrete tips. Thanks for the help (which I need).

Jim Purdy said...

I have a couple of questions:

"2. Eat more fiber ..."
More and more foods seem to have polydextrose, which they are allowed to list as a fiber. Is polydextrose a good fiber choice for lowering cholesterol?

"7. Follow a Mediterranean diet where the main dietary fat is olive oil."
Yes, but are you really sure that butter and eggs are all that bad? I eat lots of whole eggs, fried in butter.

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Jim Purdy: I was unaware of polydextrose and did a little research. It is an ingredient added to foods to increase the non-dietary fiber and replace sugar and fat. I do believe it would act as a fiber in the body but I have not seen any studies to support this.

Butter and eggs are not "bad". But for people trying to lose weight or reduce their cholesterol, consider this:
1 egg = 245mg cholesterol. Since our total daily intake should be under 300mg, that is a big load.
1 tbs butter = 11gm fat, 7.2 gm saturated fat and 32mg cholesterol.

BTW, 1 egg white has no cholesterol.

If your cholesterol is under 200 and LDL is under 100, thank your parents for great genes.

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theyogadr said...

Thanks so much for this. I hear all the time that doctors don't tell their patients how to handle their medical problems in a natural way, that we're always trying to push drugs instead. We do say it. But we need to say it again and again and again. So many health issues can be treated, even cured, by food management.
Kathleen Summers, MD, PhD
theYogadr.com

Health News said...

Thanks a lot for sharing those dietery plans. My uncle is suffering from high cholesterol and he is trying to reduce it by different means. Hope these tips will definitely help him.

KM said...

Thanks for all your helpful explanations and detailed suggestions. Between you and my doctor I should have everything covered to avoid being on chol. med.

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