Cholesterol reduction

Posted on January 28, 2008. Filed under: cholesterol |

High blood cholesterol levels are major contributors to heart attacks and strokes. The major “bad guys” are the Low-Density-Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. I call these the Least Desirable Levels of cholesterol. Everyone should try to have their LDL-cholesterol below 100 mg/dl. If the value is above 130 mg/dl the risk for heart attack is increased.

While drugs are available (the ‘statin’ drugs), it is safer and more healthy to decrease LDL-levels by diet and lifestyle. I have lowered my own LDL-cholesterol levels by 100 points by diet and supplements (from 200 to 100 mg/dl); this is a 50% reduction! Many of my patients and friends have decreased their values by 50 points or more through diet and lifestyle changes.

This is what works:

  • Reduce animal fat and cholesterol intake by eating less red meat (fatty meat) and high fat dairy products. I refer to eggs, cheese, and butter as the ‘yellow death’.
  • Increase your intake of soluble fiber from oatmeal, oatbran, beans, and fruits. The target is to get 3 grams of concentrated soluble fiber twice daily from these sources. I have oatmeal every morning with fruit and soy milk.  For more information, go to www.hcf-nutrition.org and to www.mypyramid.gov .
  • Use a fiber supplement if you have trouble getting in 3 grams of concentrated soluble fiber twice daily, use a fiber supplement such as Metamucil in powder, wafer, or capsule form. OK, I’m on the National Fiber Council that obtains support from P&G.
  • Use soy protein, about 10 grams twice a day. I use soy milk in the morning in my oatmeal and coffee, I love edamame (green soybeans), I munch on soy nuts, and when available, I order tofu at restaurants. Purchase baked tofu.
  • Take plant sterol supplements, 1.2 grams, twice daily. I recommend the gel caps that enhance absorption of the plant sterols. Personally, I take 2 gel caps twice daily that I obtain as Heart Choice Plant Sterols from the Vitamin Shoppe, 1-800-223-1216 or www.VitaminShoppe.com. I do not have connections with any of the companies that sell products like this.

My long-term friend and outstanding clinical investigator, David J. Jenkins, MD, PhD, ScD, of Toronto, Canada has extensively documented that these measures, which he calls the Portfolio diet (Google it or him), lowers LDL-cholesterol by 35%.

So good luck. Your cholesterol level is in your hands!

Your Nutdoc advisor, Jim.

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    Nutrition solutions for dealing with cholesterol, diabetes, or weight management.

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