Foods that Lower Cholesterol
The researchers called the cholesterol lowering foods a "dietary portfolio". They included soy protein, sticky types of fibers like oats, barley and psyllium, vegetables, nuts and plant sterols. These plant sterols work by blocking the absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds have plant sterols as does some of the new enriched margarine found in the grocery store. In this study, when these foods were included in the diet, serum LDL-cholesterol was reduced by 28-35%.
They compared this regimen which included two counseling sessions with more intensive treatment, a low fat diet and multiple office visits. The reductions were the same whether the participants received few or many counseling sessions but the "dietary portfolio" participants had greater reduction in LDL levels. The benefit was greater than the low-saturated fat diet group, irregardless of the number of counseling sessions.
This study further suggests we can successfully use simple dietary changes and avoid prescribing Statins to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Diet changes really do work and incorporating plant sterols is easy to do.