Monday, September 5, 2011

Foods that Lower Cholesterol

All physicians recommend dietary (lifestyle) changes for patients with high cholesterol (aka: hyperlipidemia).  But this dietary advice which focuses on low fat intake is often confusing for patients and physicians can be pessimistic that it will even work.  Many rush into prescribing statins because we know they will "get the numbers down".  New evidence published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that diets high in plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fiber and almonds was more effective than a low fat diet  in reducing cholesterol after 4 weeks.

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.

A previous study found that a dietary portfolio featuring plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fiber and almonds was just as effective in reducing LDL cholesterol and CRP (C-reactive protein) as a low-fat diet plus Lovastatin.

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.

12 comments:

FancyScrubs said...

Thanks for sharing this great information so people can change their eating habits to lower their cholesterol instead of taking medicines.

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Raymond Bouchayer said...

And about Spirulina , 3 tablets 2x a day vs a bunch of vegetables that no one will follow and 1 tablet of Chlorella , all complete food bringing oxygen in the veins ....might work better than drugs with deadly side effects

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Raymond: There is no evidence for those supplements. Try a green smoothie daily, a handful of almonds,fish 3X a week and a dinnder plate that is mostly vegetables and grains with whatever protein (meat) you like. It isn't hard, it just means avoiding processed foods completely.

Nikko Marasigan said...

Google brought me to the right place again. Will try these as medicine replacement.

Rich Girl Red said...

This is so true!

I lowered my cholesterol 65 points by eating "clean" and exercising 5-6 times a week. My doctor wanted to put me on a statin but gave me 12 weeks to try to lower it on my own. I also lowered my LDL and raised my HDL -- both were at unhealthy levels.

It can be done, it just requires conscious eating and an active lifestyle.

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Rich Girl Red: Bravo on your success.

Shane said...

thanks for sharing useful information with us. Low cholesterol food is also necessary for hypothyroidism patients. This disease also up the cholesterol level of patient.

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