A low cholesterol diet can help lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) to a degree similar to statin drugs. Statins are the standard prescription drug for lowering your cholesterol.
Statins are known for their
side effects which are: headache, gastrointestinal complaints (nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea and constipation), flu-like symptoms, elevated liver enzymes called transaminases, myalgia or muscle soreness, myopathy (severe myositis or inflammation of the muscle) with muscle aches or weakness that have an associated elevation of creatine kinase and rhabdomyolysis (serious myopathy) with muscle aches or weakness and a marketed elevation of creatine kinase and other muscle enzymes. In addition, in rhabdomyolysis a rare, but severe and life-threatening side effect, the muscle cells break down and release myoglobin (a muscle protein) into the bloodstream. This can result in kidney malfunction and ultimately kidney failure.
It is for these side effects that some people want to lower their cholesterol without the use of a prescription drug. Also, statins aren’t free, there is still a co-pay with insurance of at least $50.00 a month, sometimes more for a drug like Crestor (the strongest statin).
It also doesn’t hurt to start eating a low cholesterol diet while taking a statin to further reduce cholesterol levels. Why continue to eat poorly if you are on a statin? That definitely isn’t the right attitude to have.
The main reason for a low cholesterol diet is the standard of care for a patient with high cholesterol. Before a medication that lowers cholesterol is indicated a doctor should first have a patient try what are called therapeutic lifestyle changes first. These changes are generally diet and exercise before medication.
In several of Janet Brill’s patients from Cholesterol Down, LDL reduction was witnessed. One patient reduced their LDL from 160 mg/dL to 107 mg/dL, a 33 percent reduction. Another reduced their LDL from 211 mg/dL to 140 mg/dL, a 34 percent reduction. And a third, reduced their LDL from 150 mg/dL to 80 mg/dL, a 47 percent reduction. This is great! These are numbers similar to what a statin or a cholesterol lowering medication can do for you.
Eat 1 cup of oatmeal every day. Oatmeal has shown to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, normalize blood sugar, appease the appetite, and ameliorate pressure. According to one of the Author’s patients, the patents grandfather ate oatmeal every morning of his life and lived to be a hundred.
I’m not surprised. I remember when I first began studying bodybuilding. I couldn’t find a bodybuilder that wasn’t touting the benefits of oatmeal.
Oatmeal is powerful at cholesterol lowering because it contains a good source of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan. In the body beta-glucan acts as a string or intestinal sponge that accumulates cholesterol and drives it out of the body. According to studies, the more beta-glucan consumed, the greater the drop in LDL.
Eat almonds. Have a handful or approximately 1.5 ounces of almonds everyday to fight high cholesterol. While full in fat, almonds have healthy fats that are good, these are known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Almonds are also rich in dietary fiber and protein. The FDA wants the public to know that “Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as almonds, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
The famous Seventh-Day Adventist study, looked at the diet of 31,000 people living in California. The study discovered that those who were eating nuts five or more times per week decreased their risk of dying from heart disease by 52 percent.
Eat 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed every day. Eating flaxseed is not only very healthy for your cholesterol levels it also helps protect against cancer, specifically, breast, colon and prostate cancer. Ground flaxseed was linked to increased brain function as well.
The benefits from flaxseed are believed to be from their rich source of omega-3 fatty acids and high concentration of lignin and soluble fiber. The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed provide extremely potent heart-protective effects.
Omega-3 fatty acids are divided into short and long chain. The short chain comes from plant sources and the long chain comes from fatty fish such as salmon. Both the long and the short chain are effective in reducing cholesterol and inflammation in the body. In general, we should increase our consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids and reduce our level of Omega-6 to produce an optimal ratio of 1:1. The ratio of 1:1 favors reduced inflammation within the body. Be on the lookout! Omega-6 is rich in vegetable oils such as corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil.
Take Metamucil. Take 3 grams to 10 grams (most therapeutic dose) of psyllium husk every day. While Metamucil is a laxative it also contains psyllium husk, the most powerful LDL-lowering viscous soluble fiber in existence.
It is necessary to take this extra fiber because the average American consumes approximately 15 grams per day of fiber. The recommended daily fiber intake per the American Heart Association is 25 to 30 grams per day. We fall well short of our daily need, why not supplement? In addition, this flushing of the bowel prevents carcinogens, pollutants and other toxins from being absorbed.
Eat beans. Eat ½ cup of legumes (beans, peas, or lentils) every day. Beans are considered great because they do the following, 1) help control diabetes by regulating blood sugar, 2) battle obesity by moderating hunger, 3) combat different types of cancer (lung, colon, breast, esophagus, and stomach) by virtue of their fiber and antioxidant composition, 4) help prevent unpleasant digestive system ills such as constipation and hemorrhoids and 5) increase longevity.
Eat at least one apple every day. Apples contain what is known as pectin, a cholesterol-fighting compound. In addition they have antioxidants and dietary fiber. They also reduce the risk of lung and prostate cancer. Apples are ideal for losing weight because they are a strong appetite suppressant. Tannins within apples help protect against urinary tract infections.
Eat margarine with phytosterols. Consume 2-3 grams per day of phytosterols taken at two separate meals. Don’t just use any old margarine, use the approved such as Benecol margarine, Promise Activ Take Control margarine and GNC Heart Advance supplements.
In the New England Journal of Medicine a study was published. 153 volunteers with high cholesterol were divided into two groups. One group ate regular margarine and the other group had Benecol. After one year, the Benecol group cut LDL by 14 percent compared to just 1 percent in the regular margarine group.
Eat soy protein. Eat 20-25 grams of soy protein every day. Frequently consuming soy has been shown to 1) lower cholesterol and thus reduce risk for heart disease and stroke, 2) reduce risk for certain types of cancers such as breast, colon and prostate, 3) lower high blood pressure, 4) preserve kidney function in diabetes as well as improve diabetes control, 5) help keep bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis, 6) potentially ease unpleasant symptoms of menopause and 7) possibly prevent balding in men.
Make sure to avoid soybean oil also listed under “vegetable oil” on food labels. What you want is soy foods in the form of soy protein. You don’t want any soy products that are genetically engineered either, that isn’t healthy. Soy sauce doesn’t cut it either. The amount of soy to consume daily should be 20-25 grams per day. You can replace your milk with soy milk to meet the requirement or you can try edamame, a tasty option sold at the grocery store.
Eat garlic. Eat a clove of fresh garlic and take one kyolic one per day cardiovascular aged garlic extract supplement every day. Garlic needs to be in the high concentrations shown to reduce cholesterol. For this reason you should take garlic as a supplement but don’t forget to include it in your diet as well. Garlic may prevent colds, lower blood pressure and repel mosquitoes as well. The supplement that you should take is Wakunaga’s Kyolic aged garlic extract.
Walk for 30 minutes every day. There are many benefits to exercise. Exercise lowers LDL cholesterol. Not exercising is as unhealthy as smoking cigarettes.
Exercise prevents diabetes. Exercise helps you live longer. Exercise reduces risk of contracting breast and colon cancer. Exercise will enhance your golden years. Exercise is good for the brain and will dramatically cut your risk of senility.
Lifestyle changes are recommended before cholesterol lowering medication is prescribed. The 10 Simple Steps outlined above is a great way to make a dent in your cholesterol in as little as four weeks. Many people have succeeded in reducing their cholesterol in this manner. I doubt you need to follow all 10 steps to significantly reduce your LDL and total cholesterol.
Exercise is definitely really helpful in lowering your cholesterol. Not only does it reduce LDL cholesterol is also raises your HDL or good choesterol. It is not easy to increase your HDL and doing so helps significantly. This is one reason why I enjoy exercising, the benefit of having my HDL go up is difficult to parallel.
If you are taking a statin is it highly recommended that you also make the necessary dietary changes to bring about a healthy diet and to further decrease LDL levels. The dietary changes could become so effective that you could reduce your dose of your statin or even come off your statin completely, saving money in the process.
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